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The Pauseandplay.com Record Roundup

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Dave Douglas, Uri Caine & Andrew Cyrille

Devotion

Greenleaf Music

Trumpeter Dave Douglas, with Uri Caine on keyboards and Andrew Cyrille on drums, have joined together on Devotion. Like many of Douglas’ albums, there’s a strong theme here knitting the tracks together. Here the clue is in the title—each song is a form of tribute, salute, or just a musical meditation on a person. The cast of characters ranges from the Three Stooges’ Jerome “Curly” Horwitz to Carla Bley, Mary Lou Williams and Dizzy Gillespie. If I told you there’s Sacred Harp-inspired stuff as well, you’d either say I’m kidding, or “must be a Dave Douglas record.”

– Bruce Collier

Alex Grenier

7Tet

MaAuLa Records

French jazz guitarist Alex Grenier followed a tour of the U.S., Japan and Canada with 7Tet, an occasionally driving but also relaxed and happy playlist of 10 songs. It’s a mixed program, with the first track (“Honolulu”) evoking Santana and War. There’s also dreamy blues and funk, some smooth jazz slipping in and out, and a little vintage ‘50s jazz lounge stuff. The final track (“Tamanoir”) gets funky, fluty and electric, even a little rock ‘n roll. Grenier’s from Angers in the Loire, where the French kings used to kick back in their chateaux. Figures.

– Bruce Collier

Orchid Electric

Deep Lotus Pavilion

Independent

This one-person studio project from John Palmer Morton entwines metaphysical concepts with synth, pop and sprinkles of retro-flared new wave. It’s heavily shaped by its predecessors, who first took the layering of synth productions to create emotional soundscapes, and aims to blaze its own avant-garde trail by revitalizing the concepts with all that’s now available to creatives at large.

Nikki Hedrick

Surrounder

Impossible Exchange

Independent

With punk underpinnings and a rebellious rock ‘n roll spirit, Surrounder confronts the desire for systematic change and the realities of existing in a society where it’s easier to idolize those principles than act on them. Ruthlessly honest, with lyrics reflecting any cynical idealist’s feelings. Musically, Surrounder combines influences that allow them to alternate between hauntingly beautiful and boisterous, controlled chaos. With local roots and a busy summer tour schedule, Surrounder shouldn’t be slept on.

Nikki Hedrick

Rodney Whitaker

Common Ground – The Music of Gregg Hill

Origin Records

Jazz bassist, educator and leader Rodney Whitaker has worked with guys like Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Diana Krall and a long list of other stars. On Common Ground he has put together an eight-song program of tunes by composer and pianist Gregg Hill, a favorite of his. Among Whitaker’s collaborators here are hard bop trumpet kingpin Terrell Stafford and Whitaker’s daughter, vocalist Rockelle Fortin. As the cover photo shows, it’s a labor of love—several of the songs have an earnest whiff of social and political idealism. Everyone gets to shine, notably Stafford and his frequent collaborator, pianist Bruce Barth.

– Bruce Collier

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Rebekah Pulley

The Sea of Everything

Lucky Bird

St. Petersburg singer-songwriter offers a dozen fine Jameson-soaked reflections on things that matter, not the least of which is “Whiskey.” Other highlights include “Nobody’s Cool Anymore,” “Others” (which is Ms. Pulley’s musical genre, if you must assign one to her), and “Doot, Doot, Doo,” which had the 14-year-old in my car singing along after the first chorus. Not exactly an “Old Town Road” reaction, but a good start.

– Chris Manson

 


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