Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Mar 07, 2018  |  21 comments
Let's get directly to the point: the packaging of this almost $100 set is inversely proportional to the sound quality. The packaging is deluxe.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2016  |  17 comments
“Too expensive to record to analog tape” we often hear from major label representatives, from producers and from artists. And there are those who don’t think the sonics are better or as good as ProTools.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 23, 2017  |  9 comments
Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (Paul Emil Breitenfeld) best known for his work with Dave Brubeck made solo albums of greater musical consequence than his string-accented confection, including his duet album Two of A Mind (RCA LSP-2624) with Gerry Mulligan, also on RCA-Victor. Nonetheless, this album pleases every play.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 15, 2016  |  14 comments
Originally released as a double LP back in 1956, Ella Fitzerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book was both the first of her "songbook" albums and the first release on Norman Granz's then brand new Verve Records (MG V-4001/2).

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 26, 2017  |  3 comments
Charles Lloyd's young group, together but a year, played this set September 8th 1966 at the Monterey Jazz Festival, opening with the title tune—actually the two-in-one "Forest Flower-Sunrise" and "Forest Flower-Sunset", both lilting, hypnotic and mesmerizing "hippie-like" tunes that presaged in its mood the next year's "Summer of Love" Monterey Pop Festival.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 01, 2019  |  5 comments
This recently released 5 LP Mack Avenue Records box set celebrates Gary Burton's incredible six decades of outstanding music making, organized chronologically and by label, beginning with his earliest and arguably best sounding recordings on the RCA Victor label where he began recording, first as a sideman, during the summer between high school and his enrollment at The Berklee College of Music. The Indiana native was first "discovered" by "Yakety" saxophonist Boots Randolph at an Evansville, Indiana club and made his way to RCA through Chet Atkins and fellow guitarist Hank Garland.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 26, 2016  |  4 comments
Though he's but thirty years old, guitarist, record producer, studio session and touring band member Blake Mills has had already had a dizzying career. He's toured with Jenny Lewis and Band of Horses and Lucinda Williams. He's done session work for Norah Jones, Weezer, The Avett Brothers and Andrew Bird among many others and he produced Alabama Shakes' Sound & Color for which he received a producer of the year, non-classical, Grammy nomination.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 19, 2013  |  15 comments
Note: What's directly below is a very personal review of Sony/Legacy's late 2000's In A Silent Way 180g vinyl reissue originally published on musicangle.com, followed by an update review of Mobile Fidelity's recent AAA reissue.-ed.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 03, 2016  |  11 comments
Fred Hellerman's obituary appeared in today's (Sept. 3, 2016) New York Times. Hellerman was the last surviving member of The Weavers, the folk group that helped usher in what became known as the "folk revival" of the late '50s and '60s.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 06, 2019  |  5 comments
You know those records that “got away”? The ones you saw in the bins when they first were released that you mean to buy but somehow didn’t? One for me was Peter Walker’s Rainy Day Raga on Vanguard. I’ll pick up a copy eventually (I said that before, back in the ‘60s, but this time I mean it!) but for now there’s this old-time/modern psych-drone fest with the recently resurfaced Walker, now in his 80s, collaborating with Harmony Rockets (better known as Mercury Rev along with Wilco’s Nels Cline, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Martin Keith.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2017  |  6 comments
Over the past decade or so vinyl-loving jazz enthusiasts have been treated to a series of previously unreleased but significant recordings discovered under beds, in closets and in the vaults of European radio stations. Some were never before heard. Others were bootlegged from radio broadcasts

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 15, 2017  |  11 comments
Musical cults in the rock world can't compare to what goes on in classical music—as anyone who's perused some of the used record prices on popsike.com surely knows. That's certainly true of the late, legendary cellist Jacqueline Du Pré.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 22, 2018  |  24 comments
Startling when first released in 1968, The Band's debut continues to evoke mystery, grandeur and an abundance of musical depth that few rock records achieved then or now.

Books have probably been written about the album and certainly have been about the outfit known as The Band, the members of which though mostly unknown to buyers lured by a Bob Dylan cover (literally and musically), were touring and recording veterans—not that experience alone can explain what the group achieved here.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 24, 2013  |  8 comments
Warner Brothers put Randy Newman on a college tour in 1969 with Ry Cooder and Captain Beefheart. The idea was to familiarize college kids with the label's eclectic artistic mix.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 07, 2016  |  5 comments
Petra Haden, the very talented daughter of the late bassist Charlie Haden, and former member of That Dog released in 2005 an a cappella version of The Who Sells Out that is charming, entertaining, ingenious and loads of fun. It was CD only until now.

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