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Record Roundup

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Childish Gambino

Awaken, My Love!

Glassnote Records

A surprising, sharp change in direction and a bold move for Childish Gambino that has yielded an amazing record. So get funky, be daring, and give this a well-deserved chance. It’s innovative and retro in the same beat, a beautiful glimpse at a transitional period for a well-loved artist.

– Nikki Hedrick

Dizzy Gillespie & Friends

Concert of the Century – A Tribute to Charlie Parker

Justin Time Essentials

Even if you don’t like Gillespie or Parker, this album is one of those that you at least gotta hear once. Aside from the Olympian roster (Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Philly Joe Jones, et.al.), this remastered recording of a “lost” 1980 Montreal tribute to Parker (who died in 1955) is jazz history. Once heard only as a bootleg LP, this version (based on rediscovered tapes) includes—wait, there’s more!—two bonus tracks. Historical interest aside, these guys are the Washingtons and Jeffersons of our Jazz Republic. Pay close attention to Gillespie on “Stardust.” Bird Lives, indeed.

– Bruce Collier

The Killers

Don’t Waste Your Wishes

Island

Due to its lack of traditional holiday jingles, you may not realize this is a Christmas album right away. But you will know it’s the Killers. That said, though their unique new wave sound is instantly recognizable on most tracks, the band dabbles in other genres, at one point almost crossing the line into country. The album, primarily a collection of already-released Killers holiday songs, hosts an impressive guest list ranging from Elton John to Dawes and Jimmy Kimmel. And the one new track is actually an old classic—“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” with a spoken-word intro by Brandon Flowers. The holiday music is great, but it’s even better having a reason to listen to the Killers again

– Joni Williams

Metallica

Hardwired…to Self-Destruct

Blackened

Love them or hate them, Metallica helped bring an entire movement to life. Lately, they have been more revered for their past laurels than recent releases. Hardwired… should help shift that. It returns the band to a more conventional version of themselves. It’s easy to assume that this record is an attempt to reclaim relevancy in an ever-changing music industry, but whatever the influence for a more straightforward, heavy album might be, it’s a welcome addition to Metallica’s classic catalog. The deluxe three-disc version is worth the cost.

– Nikki Hedrick

The Rolling Stones

Blue & Lonesome

Interscope

It’s no secret the Stones have long been influenced by blues music. For their 25th studio album they remind us all how much the style shaped them by covering a dozen heartfelt tunes. It’s full of energy, and swaggering fun. It’s not a groundbreaking Stones album, but a lively listen that shines a light on some blues names too often overlooked.

– Nikki Hedrick

Various Artists

Jazz Loves Disney

Decca

Jamie Cullum, Melody Gardot, Stacey Kent, Nikki Yanofsky, the Hot Sardines, Gregory Porter, China Moses and assorted other artists clubbed together to record this baker’s dozen of well-known tunes from Disney movies, in a variety of arrangements. The song list ranges from the classics (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) to more contemporary stuff (“Let it Go”). It’s high quality, though standard stuff mostly, kind of like the annual Christmas albums that all singers were once required to release. There are a few interesting tracks, though, including “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” and “Some Day My Prince Will Come” rendered in French.

– Bruce Collier

 

 

EDITOR’S PICKS – RECORDS OF THE YEAR

New Stuff

Bob Dylan, Fallen Angels

Will Hoge, Solo & Live: December 2015

Kris Kristofferson, The Cedar Creek Sessions

Charles Lloyd & the Marvels, I Long to See You

Maren Morris, Hero

Tig Notaro, Boyish Girl Interrupted

Margo Price, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter

Sonny Rollins, Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4

Daphne Willis, Come Together

Tommy Womack, Namaste

 

Old Stuff

Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill

The Beatles, Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Big Bill Broonzy, Sings Folk Songs

Phil Collins, Face Value, No Jacket Required, …But Seriously… (Deluxe Editions)

Steve Earle, Guitar Town (30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Kris Kristofferson, The Complete Monument & Columbia Albums Collection

Van Morrison, …It’s Too Late to Stop Now… Volumes II, III & IV

Gretchen Peters, The Essential Gretchen Peters

Otis Redding, Complete & Unbelievable… The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

Wake Up You! The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock, Vol. 1

– Chris Manson
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