Steely Dan UHQR Series

Music Reviews: Vocal Jazz

February 4th, 2023

Do Not Judge This Blossom By Its Cover

Vinyl Me Please's reissue of Blossom Dearie's debut has crappy enlarged compact disc cover, but sounds great

By: Joshua Smith

Vinyl Me Please could have had a home run with this beautiful-sounding and essential reissue, but fails miserably with an ugly cover sourced from a late '80s-era compact disc.

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genre Jazz Vocal Jazz format Vinyl

January 27th, 2023

Inept Remix and Dynamic Smashing Takes "Soul On Top" to the Bottom of the Reissue Heap

take the remixers to squash court

By: Michael Fremer

What's unusual here is not the big band. James Brown toured and recorded with one throughout his career. "Soul On Top" is an outlier in the Brown catalog because he's backed by a jazz band— Louie Bellson's 18 piece orchestra—with arrangements by Oliver Nelson, who tried to conduct. Only saxophonist Maceo Parker, Jr. from Brown's band The J.B.s came along for the ride.Brown's 28th album, released in 1970 on King Records (KS1100) was... Read More

genre Funk Vocal Jazz format Vinyl

January 24th, 2023

How Best to Hear Patricia Barber's "Clique!"

some Tracking Angle readers might be surprised

By: Michael Fremer

Patricia Barber albums take up a lot of shelf space real estate here. Over the years her many albums have been issued and reissued on vinyl with every reissue sounding better than the previous one, though of course Jim Anderson recorded all of them digitally. Nightclub was recorded to 3348 multi-track and mixed through a Neve analog desk to both digital and analog mix down masters. Anderson said in an email that "....we've always run digital and analogue on... Read More

genre Jazz Vocal Jazz format CD

September 17th, 2022

Cassandra Wilson Destroys Artificial Musical Boundaries And Celebrates Good Tunes

From the archives: Michael Fremer reviews Cassandra Wilson's superb 'New Moon Daughter'

By: Michael Fremer

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)Joni Mitchell may have written “The Circle Game,” but it took Cassandra Wilson to grab pop by the throat and drag it around in one of the widest, deepest grooves of an unlikely circle you’ll ever hear, reconfiguring it as simmering, steamy jazz/blues. If you start this disc on the third track, “Solomon Sang”—a Wilson original—you might even be fooled into thinking it was Joni in her most recent smoky... Read More

genre Jazz Vocal Jazz format CD