Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers, Aug. 16, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers, Aug. 16, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

August 18, 2017

Now on tour with a crack new band, Donald Fagen must choose which songs to perform from his extensive catalog. It’s a good problem to have.

Jason Lyon, jazz pianist: Something Else! Interview

Jason Lyon, jazz pianist: Something Else! Interview

July 11, 2017

The fun, dexterous jazz pianist Jason Lyon has just ended his well-received six-year residency at Toulouse Lautrec in London. Now what?

Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Over (2017)

Vijay Iyer Sextet – Far From Over (2017)

August 13, 2017

By not limiting himself within a narrow concept and exploiting a multiple of possibilities presented by the larger sextet, Vijay Iyer’s variety of tactics benefit ‘Far From Over,’ making this an insightful window into his wide-ranging capabilities.

Brad Cheeseman – The Tide Turns (2017)

Brad Cheeseman – The Tide Turns (2017)

August 17, 2017

Proving again that contemporary jazz doesn’t necessarily equate to smooth jazz, Brad Cheeseman Group’s ‘The Tide Turns’ is another solid set of tracks from Cheeseman where real work is put in from conception to execution.

Crown Larks – Population (2017)

Crown Larks – Population (2017)

August 5, 2017

Often compared to psychedelic post-rock outfits like Broadcast and Oneida, Chicago’s own Crown Larks can be thought of as jazz’s answer to Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, or indie rock’s answer to Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time, depending on

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977); We’re All Alright! (2017): Shadows in Stereo

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977); We’re All Alright! (2017): Shadows in Stereo

July 21, 2017

Cheap Trick’s ‘We’re All Alright!’ does what so few late-career albums are able to do: tap into what made a band great in the first place.

Yes, Aug. 7, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Yes, Aug. 7, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

August 9, 2017

Was the performance at the YEStival in Baltimore epic? The answer is Yes!

Alestorm – No Grave But the Sea (2017)

Alestorm – No Grave But the Sea (2017)

May 31, 2017

Frankly, not a lot of music has excited me through the first half of this year. That is, until Alestorm’s ‘No Grave But the Sea’ arrived.

Michael McDonald, “Find It In Your Heart” from Wide Open (2017): One Track Mind

Michael McDonald, “Find It In Your Heart” from Wide Open (2017): One Track Mind

July 30, 2017

Michael McDonald’s “Find It In Your Heart” fits comfortably in his canon of strong love songs, and is a welcome return of the master.

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

May 5, 2017

With Taj Mahal and Keb Mo’s ‘Tajmo,’ you have two folk/blues legends, two generations – and one marvelous meeting.

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

May 5, 2017

With Taj Mahal and Keb Mo’s ‘Tajmo,’ you have two folk/blues legends, two generations – and one marvelous meeting.

On Broadway: The Songs of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (2016)

On Broadway: The Songs of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (2016)

June 14, 2017

‘On Broadway’ offers mostly curiosities for admirers and collectors of the brilliant ’60s and ’70s songs composed by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ – Tajmo (2017)

May 5, 2017

With Taj Mahal and Keb Mo’s ‘Tajmo,’ you have two folk/blues legends, two generations – and one marvelous meeting.

Yes, “Leave It” from 90125 (1983): YESterdays

Yes, “Leave It” from 90125 (1983): YESterdays

August 8, 2017

“Leave It,” the second single from 1983’s ‘90125,’ ranks as one of Yes’ most oddball tracks. But what a glorious oddball it is!

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

Steely Dan Sunday: Katy Lied turns 40 this month

March 8, 2015

This month, Steely Dan’s ‘Katy Lied’ turned 40 years old. Here are some reasons why it’s good enough to overcome an infamous mixing fiasco.

The Beatles, “For No One” from Revolver (1966): Deep Beatles

The Beatles, “For No One” from Revolver (1966): Deep Beatles

August 11, 2017

“Why Did It Die?” The Beatles did not write and record a song with that title — right? In truth, they did.

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

Bruce Springsteen – The River (1980): Gimme Five

October 18, 2015

When Bruce Springsteen issued ‘The River’ in October of 1980, I didn’t like it very much. Time has changed that – and here’s why.

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

Levon and the Hawks, “He Don’t Love You” (1965): Across the Great Divide

October 22, 2015

The Band, then known as Levon and the Hawks, released a few forgotten songs before heading to that basement with Bob Dylan. Here’s one of the best.

Toto, “A Thousand Years” from The Seventh One (1988): Toto Tuesdays

Toto, “A Thousand Years” from The Seventh One (1988): Toto Tuesdays

August 15, 2017

“A Thousand Years” offered a glimpse into Toto’s growth and aspirations, as they began the run home on 1988’s ‘The Seventh One.’

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Offramp” (1981)

June 7, 2014

Some think Metheny is joking around, that he couldn’t possibly like “all of this noise.”

Chicago, “Happy Man” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

Chicago, “Happy Man” from Chicago VII (1974): Saturdays in the Park

August 12, 2017

“Happy Man’ is the least-bombastic vocal Peter Cetera ever recorded with Chicago, and I’m including “If You Leave Me Now.”

Michael McDonald, “Find It In Your Heart” from Wide Open (2017): One Track Mind

Michael McDonald, “Find It In Your Heart” from Wide Open (2017): One Track Mind

July 30, 2017

Michael McDonald’s “Find It In Your Heart” fits comfortably in his canon of strong love songs, and is a welcome return of the master.

Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers, Aug. 16, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers, Aug. 16, 2017: Shows I’ll Never Forget

August 18, 2017

Now on tour with a crack new band, Donald Fagen must choose which songs to perform from his extensive catalog. It’s a good problem to have.

Rock and Roll Music, by the Beatles, Stones, Oasis, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Odd Couples

Rock and Roll Music, by the Beatles, Stones, Oasis, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Odd Couples

June 25, 2017

For us, rock and roll was a term applied to music of the 1950s such as Elvis Presley or Chuck Berry – and was strictly to be avoided.

Savatage – Fight for the Rock (1986): Metal Meltdowns

Savatage – Fight for the Rock (1986): Metal Meltdowns

April 19, 2017

‘Fight for the Rock’ almost put Savatage’s career in a coffin before we got their best work.

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977); We’re All Alright! (2017): Shadows in Stereo

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977); We’re All Alright! (2017): Shadows in Stereo

July 21, 2017

Cheap Trick’s ‘We’re All Alright!’ does what so few late-career albums are able to do: tap into what made a band great in the first place.

The Beatles and ‘Sgt. Pepper’: A Fans’ Perspective, by Bruce Spizer (2017): Books

The Beatles and ‘Sgt. Pepper’: A Fans’ Perspective, by Bruce Spizer (2017): Books

June 14, 2017

Why is the Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ so significant? Bruce Spizer tackles this complicated issue by talking to every-day people.

Heart – Alive in Seattle (2003; 2017 reissue)

Heart – Alive in Seattle (2003; 2017 reissue)

July 9, 2017

Displaying their broad musical range, Ann and Nancy Wilson remind us why Heart is considered the foremost interpreters of Led Zeppelin.

What I Learned From Elvis Presley: An Appreciation

What I Learned From Elvis Presley: An Appreciation

August 16, 2017

As a kid in the ’60s, Elvis Presley’s hit-making era was dim and distant. Blame the Beatles. Blame Oswald. Blame television. But it was true.

Halloween Howlers from Guadalcanal Diary, Joy Division, Jim Stafford + others: Gimme Five

Halloween Howlers from Guadalcanal Diary, Joy Division, Jim Stafford + others: Gimme Five

October 29, 2016

Let’s stalk through the rock ‘n’ roll graveyard and dig up some of the scariest music on this side of the mortal curtain from Joy Division and others.