How ironic that after years fronting the hugely influential but desperately overlooked Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould's first project with new band Sugar, 1992's Copper Blue, would become the most commercially successful project of his career. Of course, it was released just as the seeds sown by his former band were bearing bountiful fruits in the post-Nirvana alternative nation, which provided ample explanation for its phenomenal success.
Sugar's Beaster is actually outtakes from their previous dynamite album, Copper Blue. It comes off as some kind of deranged, ugly sister of that sparking album, a yin to Copper's yang, a violent, angry, and seething wall of aggression with (this time) little concession to Bob Mould's pop prowess.
Arriving after years of sonic bombast in Hüsker Dü, the reflective, acoustic nature of Bob Mould's first solo album, Workbook, was a bold statement of renewal. Like all of Mould's work, it's an intensely introspective record, finding him purging demons left over from the dissolution of Hüsker Dü. Instead of relying on raging guitars, Mould explores a wide variety of styles, from pure pop ("See a Little Light") to reflective folk laced with cellos. It's an astonishing array of styles, and the songs are among Mould's finest.
Many highlights of Scofield's work from his late 1980s-early 1990s tenure on Blue Note are included in this collection, which features cameos from Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, Randy Brecker, and Bill Frisell among many other all stars. Also included is material from Hand Jive, Scofield's collaboration with Eddie Harris, and an unreleased take on Wayne Shorter's "Tom Thumb".
Gil Evans released two records on World Pacific in 1958 and 1959. They were among his earliest dates as a leader. Gil Evans & Ten was issued by Prestige in 1957, but these dates stand out more. New Bottle, Old Wine was the first of the pair and the band included four trumpets, a trio of trombones, French horn (played by Julius Watkins), a pair of tubas, Cannonball Adderley as the lone saxophonist, and a rhythm section that included either Philly Joe Jones or Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Chuck Wayne on guitar.
Terence Blanchard's 2013 return to Blue Note, Magnetic, built upon his decades-long history of post-bop dynamism with a forward-thinking approach that blended edgy, modal improvisation with a sophisticated, genre-crossing compositional style. It was a concept he had been investigating on his previous efforts Bounce (2003), Flow (2005), and Choices (2009), and, though it had been years since Blanchard was considered a young lion, the eclecticism of the album matched the work of many of his younger contemporaries like trumpeter Christian Scott and pianist Robert Glasper, the latter of whom even played on Bounce.