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The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

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Mary Z Cox

Carolina Banjo

Independent

Tallahassee-based performer succeeds beyond measure with bluegrass and roots album. Sprinkled with original and traditional songs, Appalachian vibes and Irish folk fiddle, Carolina Banjo is like a warm hug from your grandparents. The recording itself feels alive, homage to those who have cleared the path to keep music like this vital to our history and future.

– Nikki Hedrick

Theon Cross

Fyah

Geartone

London-based jazz tuba (yeah, jazz tuba) player Theon Cross steps center stage on Fyah, joined by saxophonist Nubya Garcia and drummer Moses Boyd, with contributions on two tracks from other artists. This is reportedly Cross’ first outing as leader. The child of Caribbean parents, Cross—via a pretty unusual choice of instrument—draws from his background and his present surroundings to produce eight pieces. Some will make you think of New Orleans neighborhood bands, others of urban blues combos. It’s dramatic, bouncy, dance-y stuff, with more than a few good grooves. All anchored by that sexy virtuoso oom-pah-pah.

– Bruce Collier

Jeremy Denk

c.1300 – c.2000

Nonesuch

Welcome to a 700-year music survey, in 25 tracks. Pianist and musical wit Jeremy Denk starts with the Middle Ages and progresses from Renaissance to Baroque, Viennese to Romantic, then Post-All That, with Stockhausen and Philip Glass. He finishes by circling to another medieval piece. Denk isn’t so much telling a story as saying that “this is how they created at this point,” which leaves the listener to make of it what he will—including wondering what, if anything, the order means. Does radical Beethoven follow rational Mozart to make a point about revolution? Listen and decide for yourself.

– Bruce Collier

Joyce DiDonato

Songplay

Erato

Opera singer Joyce DiDonato is known for her interpretations of the works of Handel, Mozart and Rossini, among others. On Songplay, she casts her net wider. There are works by old-timers like Vivaldi and Francesco Conti, and modern masters including Duke Ellington, Jerry Bock, and Richard Rodgers. Opera and pop have always coexisted pretty well—with DiDonato, so does jazz. One thing I noticed was on Ellington’s “In My Solitude.” DiDonato’s voice retains operatic formality, in contrast to the more intimate quality of a jazz singer. But as Duke once observed, “if it sounds good, it is good.”

– Bruce Collier

D.R.E.A.D.

Carolina Banjo

Independent

Longtime Mobile metal titans brew up a style that appeals to both old-school fans and newer thrash enthusiasts. D.R.E.A.D. bridges the gap between metal subcategories with a clean vocal style that will attract a broader audience. More than that, they’re ferocious, fiery and flat out fun.

– Nikki Hedrick

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Curtis Mayfield

Keep On Keeping On: Studio Albums 1970-1974

Rhino

Four discs of classic Curtis inexplicably omits his seminal soundtrack for Superfly, but there’s plenty of great stuff to get your ears around. The choicest of the choice cuts is “Move on Up,” still propulsive after nearly a half-century and fondly remembered for its appearance in the opening sequence of the ‘70s comedy film The Groove Tube.

– Chris Manson

Pauseandplay.com – Since 1997, P&P has been the definitive place for music fans to find out when a new album is coming out. Also stay up on the latest reissues and music‑related DVD/Blu‑rays and books. Elton John says he uses Pauseandplay.com to keep track of new music, and Entertainment Weekly has included it on its list of “The 100 Greatest Web Sites,” one of only 17 music sites to be selected.

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