Well, Ladies and Gents, the New Kid on the Block, sharing musical blur of 2003. Hope everyone packed a chute. Here we go.
1. Alegria by Wayne Shorter. Proves and artist can have the longevity and be prolific without losing a sense of fresh arrangements, tunes being executed perfectly by the cream of the crop accompanist, Mr. Shorter gives no evidence of any awareness of a Billboard Chart.
2. The Well’s on Fire by Procol Harum. Yes, these Englishmen still make records in 2003, and a good one at that. The album is stylishly distinctive, stayed in my CD carousel active for months, and prompted me to revisit their earlier work, which was a joy.
3. Jeff by Jeff Beck. The Dean of those proficient foreign guitar players just moves on musically as one should. Guitar work says “I am the man.”
4. About Time by Steve Winwood. Again, one of those English rockers that has been around a long time. When he was a kid, they said he sounded like Ray Charles. I didn’t hear that. Nevertheless, the lack of pretension on his effort in 2003 I found daring putting the music before the marketing. My hat goes off to you, you old blue-eyed soul demon.
5. Stumble Into Grace by Emmylou Harris. I still can’t believe I own a country artist’s latest album. Again, this one owns a spot on my carousel. I’ve heard her sing bluegrass with Dolly on Letterman, and knew she hung out in L.A. with that cat on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, which defines the dark glamorous L.A. side of rock and roll stardom and I’m making this statement with all due reverence and respect. It is just such a compelling listen.
6. The Thorns by The Thorns. And a find blend at that. A lot of talent in this band. The fact that three full-grown men have the ability to sing in such melodic soaring harmonies in all that Everly fashion – very nice job gentlemen, and to you session men too.
7. Youth and Young Manhood by Kings of Leon. The brash defiance on this record just warms my heart.
8. Motown by Michael McDonald. Fellas, you gotta face it. If you could sing like this guy, you would. And often. Often an album of a similar format doesn’t work. This one does. I’ll say no more.
9. Glamoured by Cassandra Wilson. Heard of her? Heard about her? Heard parts of her songs on Jazz radio? Saw her booked at the Dakota in Minneapolis. This work is the first chance I’ve gotten to enjoy this gal who has been around. Great arrangements, gotta love all the drummers and percussion stuff. Finger snappin’ good tunes.
10. Concert for George by Various Artists. The beauty of this is that it’s mostly the same guys who were booked for the Bangladesh concert. How they mixed this down with four drummers and, at times, seven guitar players is beyond my comprehension. But then again, I can’t line the walls of my den with gold records. A nice listen for some great tunes by “the quiet Beatle.”
That’s all I have. Let’s hope we all get together and do this again. I done POOP’d for 2003. Happy New Year.