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The Record Roundup

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Chick Corea / The Spanish Heart Band



Pianist-composer Corea, vocalist Ruben Blades, the eight-piece Spanish Heart Band (formed for this project), and other kindred spirits pulled together to administer this musical “antidote” to what Corea recently called “the dark side of life.” Corea went back to some of his earliest work as a sideman to reconnect with Latin jazz—and especially flamenco—here. He brought in some of the latter genre’s heaviest hitters, notably guitarist Paco de Lucia, who shines on the two-part “Yellow Nimbus” composition. Corea is never not worth listening to, and when he’s trying to cheer you up, you will get cheered up.

– Bruce Collier

Richard Del Val

“Copy Paste” (Single)


I’m breaking a Beachcomber review rule, but sometimes exceptions have to be made. Richard Del Val is a centerpiece of the Panama City Beach music scene. He’s been there guiding others through jams and open mics…one of those forces that’s always aimed to lend a hand. And now he needs one of ours. Del Val is battling a cancer diagnosis and with the help of some friends, they are recording some of his original tunes. The plan is to record a full album, but for now we have this single to listen to on every platform as a way to cheer him on. To further make this a heavy moment, the track features Shawn Perry, a fellow beloved PCB musician that we lost this year. It’s a beautiful time capsule of friends doing what they love and sharing it for the world to enjoy.

– Nikki Hedrick

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra / St. Louis Symphony

Swing Symphony

Blue Engine Records

Wynton Marsalis’ third symphony, “Swing Symphony,” gets a collaborative performance with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO), St. Louis Symphony and Marsalis himself. This is a recording of a May 2018 performance in St. Louis, conducted by David Robertson. The personnel includes longtime Marsalis associates Marcus Printup, Vincent Gardner, Walter Blanding, and others. The seven movements constitute both history and progression of jazz and swing, from “St Louis to New Orleans” to “All-American,” “Manhattan to LA,” and modern and present-day music. Part optimist, part professor, Marsalis borrows, incorporates and juggles with a variety of styles and genres on his way.

– Bruce Collier

Althea Rene


Althea Rene

Self-described “soul flutist” Althea Rene’s latest is her eighth album. She’s also written a guidebook for professional women in the music business, titled Becoming Chocolate Barbie. The Detroit native and former deputy sheriff is classically trained, and also lists Ian Anderson (flutist for Jethro Tull) as one of her musical influences. As a devoted Tull-Anderson fan, I can believe it. Rene’s style blends relaxed soul jazz with hard-hitting, energetic passages of virtuosity and side-trips into neighboring genres—Latin, R&B, funk, even a smidgen of classy disco. She’s appearing this month in Alabama—wish I could go.

– Bruce Collier

Forrest Williams

Monday to a Saturday


Not telegraphing the recording process and releasing a beautiful full-length album of originals without much warning is perfectly Williams. He always manages to surprise, exudes musical dexterity, and gets better each time around. Forrest, Pherrel and crew lean full-heartedly into country waters this time and do so without missing a step. This is beyond a welcome addition to his catalog, and if he isn’t going to announce it with much fanfare…we are happy to do so here.

Nikki Hedrick


Bill Evans

Evans in England


Superb 50-year-old live recordings with the jazz piano great (second only to Monk) accompanied by bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, both of whom reminisce about the gigs in the double-disc set’s extensive booklet. Which is why you ought to spring for an actual CD every now and then. Plus this one isn’t on any of the streaming services, cheapskate.

Ernie Kovacs

The Ernie Kovacs Album (Centennial Edition)

Omnivore Recordings

Who’d a thunk that this comedy pioneer, whose work in the early days of television was so visual, would click in the audio-only format? Probably more enjoyable to longtime devotees, but I dare anyone not to laugh their gorilla suits off at the kiddie show sketch “Uncle Buddy.”

– Chris Manson – 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 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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