Monday, January 16, 2023

New Music: Ella Fitzgerald, Howdy Glenn, Belle and Sebastian

Not even a month into 2023 and there are already great audio releases worth celebrating and adding to any music lover's library!

Ella Fitzgerald
Title: Live At Montreux 1969 (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: Ella Fitzgerald, vocal jazz music
Tell me more: A truly historic and essential recording, Ella Fitzgerald: Live At Montreux 1969 is being released by Mercury Studios and will be available on audio CD and LP on Jan. 20, 2023. Originally released on DVD in 2005, this marks the first time this concert recording is being made available on audio formats. Live At Montreux 1969 captures the "First Lady of Song" in the first of her five legendary performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Fitzgerald's breathtaking singing and complete command of a diverse set of 14 songs thrills with every note. There are classic jazz favorites already familiar to audiences of the time ("Give Me The Simple Life," "I Won't Dance," "That Old Black Magic"), as well as her artful versions of classic rock material (including a soulful take on Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" and joyful reading of The Beatles' "Hey Jude"). Her signature scat delivery is featured on the dazzling "Useless Landscape," a number further defined by the virtuoso playing of pianist Tommy Flanagan (along with bassist Frank De La Rosa and drummer Ed Thigpen). Her bewitching version of Dionne Warwick's "This Girl's In Love With You" and an explosive performance of "A Man And A Woman" are other highlights on the enthralling collection. The concert encore includes the impressive rapid-fire "Scat Medley" and beautiful "A House Is Not A Home." Information:

Howdy Glenn
Title: I Can Almost See Houston (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, George Jones
Tell me more: Before I slipped I Can Almost See Houston in my CD player I had never heard of country music singer Howdy Glenn. Indeed the new release (available Jan. 20 via Omnivore Recordings) is the first-ever collection of songs from Glenn available on audio CD and it's a wonderful introduction to the talented California artist. Featuring all known recordings from Glenn, an impressive array of 23 selections recorded between 1975 and 1980 span the 78-minute disc. As detailed in Scott B. Bomar's instructional liner notes, Glenn was among a handful of Black country music artists who made a mark on the national charts or the public consciousness in the 20th century. A full-time firefighter in Southern California, Glenn won the 1974 "Trucker's Jamboree" at the Hollywood Palladium and scored a recording career; his wonderful cover of Willie Nelson's "Touch Me" spent six weeks on the charts, and he was nominated for the Academy of Country Music's Top New Male Vocalist award. But even the most talented of artists sometime never find the acclaim or national recognition they are owed. I Can Almost See Houston showcases Glenn's top-tier vocals that draws comparisons with some of the 1970s greatest country music singers ranging from Charley Pride and George Jones to Merle Haggard. Standouts include the yearning title track, honky tonk-mining "You'll Remember Me," beautiful "Where Did The Years Go," a soaring "That Lucky Old Sun" (an especially emotional performance), and tender "When You Were Blue and I Was Green." Along with the previously-noted liner notes, the 20-page booklet that comes with the audio CD includes a wealth of historic photos and ephemera. Information:

Belle and Sebastian
Title: Late Developers (Matador Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Belle and Sebastian, The Zombies
Tell me more: Without fanfare indie Scottish troupe Belle and Sebastian released their 12th studio album on Jan. 13; Late Developers was issued a mere eight months after the release of 2022's A Bit of Previous but features the expansive craft of a masterwork years in the making. Fans of Belle and Sebastian will be thrilled with the winning 11-track set that spans 42 minutes. The album's highlights are plentiful; the 1960s-spirted opener "Juliet Naked" features band frontman Stuart Murdoch lamenting the folly of romance. Other early album standouts include the propulsive melody-fueled gem "Give A Little Time" featuring Sarah Martin on lead vocals, the wistful "When We Were Very Young," the Baroque ballad "Will I Tell You a Secret," and garage rocker "So In The Moment." The album's magic path continues courtesy of sonic nuggets like the shimmering "The Evening Star," driving "When You're Not With Me" and sumptuous "When The Cynics Stare Back From The Wall." Information:

Robert Kinsler

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