Welcome to the first staff picks of the summer session. We’re open all summer, so if you’re still in town, swing by and check out some music.
Scottish guitarist, Bert Jansch, was a leading figure in the British folk revival of the 1960s and ’70s, both as a member of the Pentangle and as a solo performer. This new arrival is a wonderful place to start, anthologizing some of his best work from earlier in his career.
Latin jazz piano legend, Eddie Palmieri, put out this fantastic salsa album in 1971. It combines a (mostly) traditional salsa approach with more forward-looking elements liberally added to the mix. His powerful band handles the complex rhythms with ease and brio, resulting in a record that’s equally suitable for listening or for dancing.
Branca’s fifth symphony – “Describing Planes Of An Expanding Hypersphere” - from 1983 is loud, heavy, droning, and seems to go on forever. That either excites you, or sends you running; there is no in-between.
This three-volume set from 1966 brought the contemporary Chicago blues scene to a wide audience, and is credited with accelerating the blues revival. It features slide players like Johnny Shines and J.B. Hutto, harmonica great, Junior Wells, and blues mandolin(!) player, Johnny Young, among many other great players.
This is my favorite Meredith Monk record. The title track’s spare instrumentation serves to highlight the daring and dramatic four-part vocals, which swoop from shrieking highs that make the hair on your arms stand up, to contrapuntal chattering, to moments of melody that stick in your head for days. The shorter pieces are awfully nice as well.
On a note of trivia: fellow New York composer, Julius Eastman, is one of the organists on the first track.