John Lee Hooker's greatness lies in his ability to perform the same songs the same way yet somehow sound different and memorable in the process. He operates at maximum efficiency in minimal surroundings with little production or assistance. That was the case on a 1969 session for Black and Blue; it was just Hooker and his guitar moaning, wailing, and narrating on 10 tracks which included familiar ditties "Boogie Chillen," "Love Affair," "Big Boss Lady," and "Cold Chills." Evidence has now not only reissued these 10 but has added another six bonus cuts, bringing the CD total to 16. If you have ever heard any Hooker, you will not be surprised or stunned by these renditions; you will simply enjoy hearing him rework them one more time, finding a new word, phrase, line, or riff to inject.
A mind blowing and fiery new quartet featuring Ben Goldberg, one the true pioneers of Radical Jewish Culture whose groundbreaking group New Klezmer Trio proved an important influence on the Masada legacy. Turning his hand to Masada music in this fabulous all star quartet organized, arranged and conducted by Zorn himself, Ben plays like never before, displaying a sensitive virtuosity and a brilliant sense of sound and space. At times moody, intense, meditative, driving, lyrical and atmospheric, this is brilliant Jewish chamber music from four longtime and intimate members of the Masada family. Absolutely stunning!
Original arrangements of Gershwin tunes are rare these days, but that's what you'll hear in this album by Kiri Te Kanawa. Granted, the arrangements sound somewhat dated according to 21st century tastes, but that's what makes them fascinating. These were like nothing anyone else was writing when the George and Ira first brought them to life. Kiri uses a different, somewhat breathier voice than you might be used to on her classical albums, probably not the type of voice Gershwin had in mind, but I think it generally works pretty well.By Dennis Brightwell