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Editor's rating: 
 3.8
 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Jacky Terrasson - Mirror It seems as if the French have always loved jazz, at least ever since Josephine Baker caused a sensation in the mid-1920s with her act at the Folies Bergere. Considered a haven from racism in the 1930s, France welcomed many American jazz musicians, treating them as artists, including Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, all of whom spent periods in Europe. The remarkable Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt often played in France with French violinist Stephane Grappelli, and even under the very dangerous conditions of the Nazi occupation, some French jazz musicians were able to keep on recording and performing. After World War II, France acted as a home for pianist Bud Powell, tenor-saxophonist Don Byas and many other expatriate American musicians. At the same time, France started producing major jazz artists itself. Chief among those were the still-active Martial Solal, ...
Editor's rating: 
 2.3
 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Eels - Eels Useless Trinkets: B-Sides, Soundtracks, Rarities, and Unreleased 1996 - 2006 Though it’s hard to imagine today, when every stray b-side, studio outtake and once-performed live track turns up on a peer-to-peer network, some canonized artists simply don’t have a very deep catalog. From blues guitarist Robert Johnson and the 42 tracks he left behind before his death at the age of 27 to the Sex Pistols and their one official studio album, not all legendary artists left legacies that are fit for boxed set treatment. And while it’s understandable that we’d search for gold in the lost moments of, say, Led Zeppelin or Neil Young, it’s puzzling when bands that are less highly regarded get the deluxe compilation treatment. And while it’s probably true that every halfway decent band deserves at least a “best of” set, it’s a far higher standard that should be met by artists who wish to ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.5
 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Eels - Meet the Eels: Essential Eels 1996 - 2006, Vol. 1 Though it’s hard to imagine today, when every stray b-side, studio outtake and once-performed live track turns up on a peer-to-peer network, some canonized artists simply don’t have a very deep catalog. From blues guitarist Robert Johnson and the 42 tracks he left behind before his death at the age of 27 to the Sex Pistols and their one official studio album, not all legendary artists left legacies that are fit for boxed set treatment. And while it’s understandable that we’d search for gold in the lost moments of, say, Led Zeppelin or Neil Young, it’s puzzling when bands that are less highly regarded get the deluxe compilation treatment. And while it’s probably true that every halfway decent band deserves at least a “best of” set, it’s a far higher standard that should be met by artists who wish to ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.8
 
Friday, 01 February 2008 |  Written by Abbie Bernstein  | 
The Dust Bowl Cavaliers - Volume 2: Flowers and Gasoline There is something delightfully unlikely about the Dustbowl Cavaliers. Let’s face it, there aren’t a whole lot of homegrown L.A. bluegrass bands to begin with, but the Cavaliers have a totally authentic sound, whether they’re playing straight-up traditional old folk tunes, original compositions or even you-have-to-hear-it-to-believe-it covers of songs from other genres. The musical dexterity, speed and skill of the Cavaliers – bassist/vocalist Matt Stephen Young, mandolin/harmonica/vocalist Ryan Raddatz, guitarist/fiddler/vocalist Corey Rouse, banjo player John Rosen and snare drummer Dave Keeton (with additional drums supplied by Ken Beck) – is truly something to hear. This is the kind of music where the performers are so good, and so clearly having a blast with what they’re doing, that the mood is infectious. Interestingly, for the most part, the originals are more fun than the folk covers, and manage to sound pretty much as ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.3
 
Tuesday, 01 January 2008 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Terence Blanchard - A Tale of God's Will (a Requiem for Katrina) New Orleans has been one of the United States’ most important music cities (some would say the most significant) of the past 120 years. The center of jazz before the music even had its name, the city featured such pioneers as Buddy Bolden, Freddie Keppard, Joe “King” Oliver and Louis Armstrong among its pre-1920 cornetists, and Jelly Roll Morton, one of jazz’s first major composer-arranger-pianists, was based in New Orleans during the era of its legal red light district, Storyville. Classic New Orleans jazz survived even with many of its greats moving north during 1915-30, and after some lean times during the Depression, the music made a major comeback, becoming an important tourist attraction in the 1950s and ‘60s. The city in the 1950s had an important recording industry, resulting in New Orleans R&B becoming a strong influence on the ...
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