Something Else! Reviews on the 2010 Grammy winners

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Click through the titles below for Something Else! reviews on a few of our favorites from Sunday night’s Grammy Award show, from Byrne/Eno to Corea/McLaughlin, from Derek Trucks to Diana Krall:

LEVON HELM, ‘ELECTRIC DIRT’ (Best Americana album): An absurdly beautiful rural evocation, hard-eyed at times but rollicking and vulnerable in the way that the very best Southern soul always is. There is a dark and deep sense of loss — this candid accounting of, and quiet mourning for, the old times, the old ways, the old friends that fans of some of The Band’s best-known Helm-sung tunes (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight,” and “Up on Cripple Creek”) will recognize.

CHICK COREA AND JOHN McLAUGHLIN, ‘FIVE PEACE BAND — LIVE” (Best jazz instrumental album): This band would already have a sick lineup if McLaughlin and Corea (pictured above) had randomly picked members of a high school marching band to fill out the group, but they instead from among the very best living players: Kenny Garrett (saxophone), Christian McBride (acoustic and electric basses) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums). Wow.

DEREK TRUCKS BAND, ‘ALREADY FREE’ (Best contemporary blues album): Followers of The Derek Trucks Band will want to know how Already Free stacks up to 2006’s Songlines, which I felt is where the band really hit its stride. Songlines remains the fullest expression of the Derek Trucks Band’s breathtaking range and abilities. On the other hand, this new one is more tightly focused, yet relaxed.

DAVID BYRNE AND BRIAN ENO, ‘EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY’ (Best recording package, Stefan Sagmeister, art director): While Byrne’s old band tended to linger in a deep but familiar groove, his recordings with Eno move off into crisper, more intellectual shadings. “Everything That Happens,” which features vocals recorded for ambient Eno soundscapes over the course of a year, is no different. Their similar sense of wide-eyed discovery, through chords and structure and sound, is still a contagious joy.

DIANA KRALL, ‘QUIET NIGHTS’ (Best instrumental arrangement accompanying a vocalist): Krall’s whispery smooth phrasing (part Julie London, part mature-era Peggy Lee) meshes perfectly — like slipping between silk sheets — with the lush orchestral background. That’s particularly so on Rogers and Hart’s “Where Or When,” Johnny Mercer’s “Too Marvelous Words” and a superlative take on “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry” by Sammy Cahn and Jules Styne.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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