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Friday, November 11th, 2011
Music Reviews

The Beat's Record Roundup - Dawes, Sonny Rollins and More

Economical garage rock (14 songs in 30 min utes) in the Ramones vein. They’ve hardly rein vented the genre only “Teenage Girls” strikes me as an instant classic but nice to know there are still practitioners of the form in the age of (gack) Coldplay.

Christopher C. Manson

Gary Clark Jr. The Bright Lights EP Warner Bros.

The first blues guy in ages to win mainstream rock press adoration is a fine player and singer, but this is hardly the second coming of Elmore James.

­Christopher C. Manson

Dawes Nothing Is Wrong ATO/Red

The future of El Lay coun try rock offers many tran scendent songs—“Time Spent in Los Angeles,” “A Little Bit of Everything”— and is closer in spirit to Jackson Browne than the Eagles. That’s a compliment, kids.

Christopher C. Manson

Jonny Lipford Cedar & Snow

Best Native American flute Christmas album in forever. The organ intro to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” suggests Lipford has a sense of humor, too.

Christopher C. Manson

Sonny Rollins Road Shows Vol. 2 Doxy

Second volume in this extraordinar y series focuses on Rollins’ 80th birthday concert, with special guests Jim Hall, Ornette Coleman, Christian McBride, and the two Roys (Haynes and Hargrove) paying their respects. The 21 minute version of “Sonnymoon for Two” could be the most lifeaffirming piece of music the Saxophone Colossus has ever laid down. A must.

Christopher C. Manson

São Paulo Underground & Rob Mazurek Três Cabeças Loucuras Cuneiform Records

The title of São Paulo Underground’s third album, translated from Portuguese, means “three crazy heads.” Cofounder Rob Mazurek anchors the ninetrack set on cornet, occasionally sounding like an elec tric Freddie Hubbard (think “Straight Life” alternate takes). On that subject, there’s plenty of electronics, loops and samplers scattered here and there, with keyboard, guitar, percussion and vibes furnishing a sturdy framework. Experimental it may be, but each track is concise, well planned and not as overblown and indulgent as such stuff can sometimes get. It’s lighter, more fun. Lateera Miles Davis might have sounded like this if he’d suffered a little editing.

Bruce Collier

The 3 Cohens Family Sunnyside/Anzic

Three horn players from Tel Aviv walk into a recording studio… not the first line of an Alan King joke, it’s Family. This third album from the Cohen siblings—Anat (tenor sax, clarinet), Avishai (trumpet) and Yuval (soprano sax)—also features piano, double bass, drums and vocals from non relative sidemen. There’s an edge of wry selfdep recation, supplied by some diamondsharp reed work that cuts through the richness of the swing themed musical menu. Though all three young musicians are excelling in their own spheres, this 10track set is seam lessly tight, so it’s obvious they can play nice together.

Bruce Collier

Zucchero Chocabeck Decca

Fifty six year old Italian rocker Adelmo Fornaciari, better known as Zucchero (“Sugar”), is still going strong after 30plus years in the music industry. He has sold over 40 million records in the lifetime of his career, and has collaborated with such beloved names as Bono, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Sting, Miles Davis, Elvis Costello and B.B. King. His new album highlights his signature and soulful bilingual storytelling on most tracks—think an Italian Dylan. “Devil in My  Mirror” has a slight Europop production including cellos and an electronic drumbeat, settled beneath an ubercatchy melody. His vocal abilities have been described by Bono as “the sound of oakaged whiskey,” and the late, great Ray Charles boasted that Zuc chero is “one of the best blues musicians I’ve ever worked with.” With a resume like that, what’s not to like?

Dannica Lowery