Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Releases Roundup: Burt Bacharach, João Gilberto & Stan Getz, Paul Burch, Elvis Costello

A wide-range of groundbreaking musical voices spanning the 20th century are celebrated via several noteworthy releases that have been released over the past month.

Artist: Burt Bacharach
Title: A Life in Song (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Burt Bacharach, Joss Stone, Justin Hayward, Laura Mvula
Tell me more: A songwriter as successful as he is unique, Burt Bacharach's enormous legacy was the subject of an outstanding BBC4 television titled A Life in Song broadcast in November 2015 and now thankfully available everywhere on DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats. The unique tribute combines conversation between Burt Bacharach and Michael Grade, and performances of many of the singer-songwriter-keyboardist's most beloved and enduring songs. A strong cast of guests came to London's Royal Festival Hall to perform, including Moody Blues singer Justin Hayward (delivering an emotive "What the World Needs Now"), songstress Laura Mvula (singing an inspired "Do You Know the Way to San Jose"), and singer Joss Stone (a ravishing "In Between the Heartaches"). Bacharach also goes to the piano to lead his band through a medley of songs he wrote for movies, as well as "That's What Friends Are For" with all the night's guests. Information:

Artists: João Gilberto & Stan Getz
Title: Getz/Gilberto '76 (Resonance Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Luiz BonfáJoão Gilberto, Stan Getz, Bossa nova music
Tell me more: Almost 40 years after enigmatic Brazilian singer-guitarist João Gilberto and tenor saxophone legend Stan Getz performed a series of dates at the Keystone Korner jazz club in San Francisco, highlights from recordings made between May 11-16, 1976 have been issued as a terrific and timeless collection titled Getz/Gilberto '76. These recordings were made 12 years after the legendary artists' first collaboration in 1962, and there is a warmth and power across the 56-minute disc. Despite the fact that these Bay Area appearances marked Gilberto's first public performances in four years, his bossa nova vocal and guitar work gleam with perfection on the songs (particularly "Aguas de Marco" and "Samba da Minha Terra") and instrumental selections (the impressive original composition "João Marcelo"). In addition to the two top-tier performers, Joanne Brackeen (piano), Clint Houston (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) shine throughout. The audio CD version of the album comes with a wonderful 32-page booklet featuring rare photos, essays and interviews related to the 1976 concerts that are featured on the release. Information:

Artist: Stan Getz Quartet
Title: Moments in Time (Resonance Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Stan Getz, Kenny Barron
Tell me more: A perfect companion release to Getz/Gilberto '76, Moments in Time draws selections from the same May 11-16, 1976 span but focuses strictly on the quartet of Stan Getz (tenor saxophone), Joanne Brackeen (piano), Clint Houston (bass) and Billy Hart (drums). "Moments in Time" features eight stellar works, including the breathtaking "Summer Night" (with an incredible solo from Brackeen), the Latin-flavored "O Grande Amor" (with Getz displaying his amazing rich and lyrical tone on an extended solo that opens the instrumental), and alluring version of the Wayne Shorter-penned "Infant Eyes." Information: Information:

Artist: Supersonic Blues Machine
Title: West of Flushing, South of Frisco (Mascot Label Group)
You might like if you enjoy: Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, Billy F. Gibbons
Tell me more: Blues-rock trio Supersonic Blues Machine doesn't waste anytime on their impressive debut West of Flushing, South of Frisco. Listening to tracks such as "Miracle Man" and "Bone Bucket Blues, it's clear singer-guitarist Fabrizio Grossi, bassist Lance Lopez and drummer Kenny Aronoff approach playing their hard-hitting style of blues-rock with the passion of a young alternative rock band and that's a good thing. Joined by a number of legendary names, the album will make an essential addition for fans of electric blues. The list of luminaries and their contributions is hard to top; ZZ Top frontman Billy F. Gibbons leads the group through a fiery "Running Whiskey, while Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes joins in for a nuanced but powerful "Remedy." Singer-guitar hero Walter Trout joins Supersonic Blues Machine for the gospel-tinged blues burner "Can't Take It No More," a song that not only showcases the strengths of all the players but the emphasis on songwriting that makes this required listening to fans of the genre. Other guests making fitting guest stints across the album include Robben Ford, Chris Duarte and Eric Gales. Information: and

Artist: Paul Burch
Title: Meridian Rising (Plowboy Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Jimmie Rodgers, Merle Haggard, Michael Ubaldini
Tell me more: A groundbreaking musical pioneer who blended popular music, country, folk and blues together in the late 1920s and early 30s, the late Jimmie Rodgers' short career and life (the Mississippi native died at the age of 35 in May 1933) are celebrated by singer-songwriter Paul Burch on Meridian Rising. The ambitious project not only sheds light and insight into the short life of Rodgers, but yields a number of great songs that stand tall within and apart from the collection. The swinging blues of "Cadillacin'," county blues of "US Rte 49," lovely baroque ballad "Ain't That Water Lucky" and the bittersweet "If I Could Only Catch My Breath." Information:

Artist: Elvis Costello
Title: Detour Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Elvis Costello, Larkin Poe, Bob Dylan
Tell me more: One of the greatest and most important songwriters of the rock era, Elvis Costello's diverse and affecting songbook was definitely on display when the British singer-songwriter's "Detour" was captured in Liverpool in 2015. Performing in an intimate acoustic setting where he was accompanied solely by his own guitar or piano, or at times by sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe, Detour Live at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall includes early favorites (the set opening "Red Shoes," "Accidents Will Happen," "Watching the Detectives"), as well as recent masterworks ("Church Underground," "Jimmie Standing in the Rain"). Lesser-known Costello songs get a well-deserved reintroduction; the Costello-Bob Dylan nugget "Down on the Bottom" is especially stirring, enhanced by the contributions of the Lovell sisters' wonderful vocal harmonies. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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