Steely Dan UHQR Series

Features: Discography

December 21st, 2022

Handel's "Messiah"—And The Recording That Changed The Classical Record Industry

’Tis the season, and in the classical music world that means Christmas carols, Nutcrackers, more carols—and Handel’s “Messiah”.

By: Mark Ward

Which is actually quite odd, because Messiah was never intended by its composer as a Christmas piece - quite the opposite in fact. It was originally composed, in 1741, for performance at the most solemn time in the ecclesiastical calendar - Easter. The work tells the entirety of Christ’s story, culminating in His Crucifixion and Resurrection, with a meditation on the meaning of His life and death to Christians. So, this is hardly the stuff of Christmas levity.However,... Read More

December 15th, 2022

American Gothic

Low’s “Christmas” is a loveable slowcore cult classic. Give yourself the gift of also listening to their dark and challenging 2018 masterpiece, «Double Negative».

By: Jan Omdahl

A reappraisal of Low's Christmas (1999) and Double Negative (2018). In memory of singer Mimi Parker (1967-2022), who died in November.

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December 7th, 2022

Fred Kaplan's Best Jazz Albums of 2022

best music and some great sounding too

By: Fred Kaplan

My main job is national-security columnist for Slate. Every December since joining, back in 2002, my editors have indulged me to write a piece on the year’s best jazz albums. Here’s a link to this year’s column, which, as usual, includes a mini-essay about each album and a sound clip of an entire track. Most of these I’ve reviewed either for Tracking Angle (those designated with an asterisk *) or for Stereophile when I was a staffer there (marked with two asterisks **). I should also note that most of these albums sound very good (the Jamal and Waldron sound good); a few (#1, 2, 3, and 5) sound superb.


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November 25th, 2022

Classic Candid Albums Reissued By Exceleration Music

Mastered By Bernie Grundman

By: Joseph W. Washek

In 1960, Cadence Records created and funded a subsidiary, Candid Records so that Nat Hentoff, a writer and non-musician with no music business experience could do the fun stuff and be an Artists & Repertoire director/ jazz record producer. Hentoff (1925-2017), a jazz fan since his early teenage years, had enthusiasm as well as a love for and a deep knowledge of the music. He was a former jazz DJ, a former editor of Downbeat, a former editor of his own jazz... Read More

November 23rd, 2022

Starting a Jamaican Music Collection—Part 1: Ska

Delving into the best of ska music.

By: Willie Luncheonette

For a small third world country, Jamaica has produced an impressively large volume of exceptional music that has had an enormous impact on world consciousness. Bob Marley, in my opinion, is the 20th century's most important musical artist. Many Americans might not be aware of reggae's worldwide popularity since it had to compete over the U.S. airwaves with rock, disco and country music, but in major European countries including Spain, Germany, France and... Read More

October 5th, 2022

Ry Cooder Scores: The Soundtrack Albums of Ry Cooder

From the archives: Michael Fremer explores Ry Cooder's soundtrack work

By: Michael Fremer

(This piece originally appeared in slightly different form in Issue 73, the September/October 1991 issue of The Absolute Sound. It has been edited and updated for Issue 5/6 of The Tracking Angle, Winter 1995/96.)Beginning with his eponymous 1970 debut, and continuing throughout 11 Warner Brothers solo albums, Ry Cooder has demonstrated that in addition to being an extraordinary folk/blues guitarist—particularly on bottleneck—and a serviceable though hardly... Read More