Forty years in the making, four CDs and 260 minutes long, Mississippi-born trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers proved hard to beat for strength and depth.
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Wednesday 23 June 2010
"I've been wading through all this unbelievable junk/ And wondering if I should have given the world to the monkeys," he spits out with relish on "God's Comic" in this blistering solo set. It's about time we reclaimed our very own Elvis, and thanks to Richard Thompson's Meltdown we get a rare sighting (he now lives in New York with his wife, Diana Krall) of this British new-wave whiz.
Wednesday 19 May 2010
Elvis Costello has become one of the biggest names in music to join a cultural boycott of Israel by cancelling two planned concerts there at the end of next month.
A life of rhyme: John Cooper Clarke, the 'punk Poet Laureate', grants Robert Chalmers his first major interview in more than 20 years
Sunday 08 November 2009
Friday 30 October 2009
The musical arranger, conductor, composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Kirby was best known for the delicate, understated arrangements he created for Nick Drake on Five Leaves Left, the singer-songwriter's 1969 debut, and its 1970 follow-up, Bryter Layter. These albums, together with Pink Moon – the musician's bleak third album recorded without Kirby – only sold a few thousand copies at the time of their release, and following Drake's death after an overdose of antidepressant drugs in November 1974, he was almost forgotten.
Tuesday 11 August 2009
Think of a gang from LA and some pretty negative images come to mind, but the smiles on the faces of the punters throughout this gig spoke of a welcome to one particular gang of Latinos that was reciprocated in an exuberant performance that combined accomplished musicianship with undiminished enthusiasm. This quintet has been playing together for more than 30 years, and it showed in the way the original members – Louie Perez, Conrad Lozano, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo and Steve Berlin, supplemented by the muscular and inventive drumming of Cougar Estrada – played a set that they seemed to be making up as it went along.
Friday 17 July 2009
Even Damon Albarn and Jack White have some distance to go to equal the genre-bending achievements of Bill Frisell, not just the outstanding jazz guitarist of his era but also the most diversely prolific, equally at home providing accompaniment to Buster Keaton movies as he is collaborating with Elvis Costello.
Sunday 31 May 2009
Recorded in Nashville with T-Bone Burnett producing and Jerry Douglas on dobro… SP&S isn't Almost Blue 2 but it is country, bluegrass, the soup of white American folk music thickened up with jam-packed Elvis metre. You might argue that much of what we hear borders on the academic in its pursuit of the idiomatic, but it is also true that it is all done with passion. You'll have to find out for yourself how this all connects with Hans Christian Andersen. A dense, sometimes studiedly beautiful effort.
Sunday 31 May 2009
Friday 29 May 2009
Elvis Costello albums seem to arrive with increasing frequency these days, their diversity appearing more like compensation for their patchiness.
Sunday 10 May 2009
Monday 27 April 2009
Elvis Costello begins with “Accidents Will Happen”, sung as he sang it in 1979 when he was a New Wave pop star, but played by the classical strings of the Brodsky Quartet.
Dylan Jones: At heart, Barney Bubbles was an artist –which led to the creative strain he put himself under
Saturday 29 November 2008
Thursday 06 November 2008
Sunday 24 August 2008
No one does gravitas quite like JB. She does it without self-doubt. And if that great whipping silken flag of a soprano is rather diminished now (small mercies, you might say), Joan's sense of solemnity has not diminished one whit.
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