New Music Monday: Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, Steve Kuhn and George Harrison

The last week of April 2012 brings us yet another stack of platters that matter — this time from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Eddie Gomez, Norah Jones and Rufus Wainwright. Amongst the more interesting reissues and live offerings are some interesting acoustic sides from George Harrison, and a double-live set from Phil Collins. Other key new releases include Marilyn Manson, Steve Kuhn and Teramaze.

AND NOW, NEW MUSIC MONDAY FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 30, 2012 …

The Ad LibsComplete Blue Cat Recordings (Pop/Rock)
Ane BrunIt All Starts With One (Pop/Rock)
Brian Jonestown MassacreAufheben (Pop/Rock)
Carrie UnderwoodBlown Away (Pop/Rock)
Chelle RoseGhost of Browder Holler (Folk)
Cilla BlackCompletely Cilla 1963-73 (Vocals)
Cristina MorrisonI Love (Vocals)

DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND – TWENTY DOZEN (JAZZ): One of New Orleans’ most enduring modern brass bands celebrates its 35th anniversary in the only way it could — by cooking up a spicy new gumbo of Big Easy jazz, second line rhythms, Caribbean flavor and bone-deep R&B. The Dirty Dozen’s first studio release in six years finds original members Roger Lewis, Kevin Harris, Gregory Davis, Efrem Towns and Kirk Joseph switching to the Savoy Jazz label, but remaining true to the heady combination of age-old influences and next-gen attitude that has served this groovy group through decades of enduringly memorable music and even better times: Included are fresh compositions from each of the band members, a rousing take on the hometown staple “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and an appropriately ribald encore called “Dirty Old Man.”Nick DeRiso

EDDIE GOMEZ – PER SEMPRE (JAZZ): Of course, Gomez is perhaps best known as a veteran of the last great Bill Evans Trio, a period he revisited recently with the terrific Further Explorations alongside Chick Corea and the late Paul Motian. And there are times when Gomez’s lithe figures and melodic sensitivity here recall those underrated early 1970s Evans recordings for Milestone and Fantasy. More generally, though, Ciavarella and Co. don’t aspire to the same sense of rapturous anticipation, so much as a directly stated romanticism. That’s best heard on Ciavarella’s love-stricken “Arianna,” which finds Gomez employing a folky attitude while Marvuglio’s flute adds this stirring sense of endless optimism. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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Eddie Rabbitt13 Original No. 1 Hits (Country)
Garrison StarrAmateur (Pop/Rock)

GEORGE HARRISON – EARLY TAKES VOLUME 1 (POP/ROCK): You could argue that Phil Spector’s billowing vision of Orchestra As Rock Band saw its fullest flowering on George Harrison’s stunning 1970 debut All Things Must Pass. You could also argue that he almost ruined it with a wet-sock Wall of Sound that all but obscures some tracks. This new album of outtakes, a companion disc of 1970-era demos from Hip-O that pairs with the DVD release of Martin Scorcese’s recent Harrison biopic, looks to make the latter case. As Harrison’s begins his solo journey, you hear the joy, the reverence, and the newfound freedom in his voice. Free then of the entanglement of the Beatles, he’s now free of Spector’s gauzy bluster, too. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Jennie Lowe StearnsBlurry Edges (Pop/Rock)
Joshua HyslopWhere the Mountain Meets the Valley (Folk)
Mark Collie and his Reckless CompanionsAlive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (Country)

MARILYN MANSON – BORN VILLAIN (POP/ROCK): After three varied and interesting albums to start his career, Manson has kind of become a caricature of himself with his recent work. Beginning with his fourth full length Holy Wood, recorded in the shadow of Columbine, the shock rocker has become much less shocking and much less interesting. He’s gone from being one of the most feared villains in music in 1996 to an afterthought in 2012. I’d love to get something from him with the hell-raising impact of Antichrist Superstar or even the Bowie-esque artistry of Mechanical Animals, but I’m not holding my breath. — Fred Phillips

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Mel McDanielBaby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On: His Original Capitol Hits (Country)

NORAH JONES – … LITTLE BROKEN HEARTS (POP/ROCK): Working with Danger Mouse has opened up new vistas for Jones. Where her earlier music played out like melancholic personal ruminations, this album sounds like a writer trying out different voices. In so doing, she often gets closer to catharsis, to real emotion, than she ever has. Outside her own comfort zone, maybe even outside her own feelings, Jones strikes some of the most powerful chords yet. This isn’t her first record about a broken heart (check out 2009′s The Fall, issued in the wake of her split with bassist Lee Alexander), but Little Broken Hearts may be — despite the layers of sleek new sounds — her most direct and honest. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Pat BooneTribute to The Ink Spots featuring Take 6 (Pop/Rock)
PennywiseAll Or Nothing (Pop/Rock)

PHIL COLLINS – LIVE AT MONTREUX (POP/ROCK): The main program, from 2004, features Collins regular touring band of the time — hey, there’s longtime Genesis touring member Daryl Stuermer! — playing just about every one of his hits. In fact, there’s 25 tracks on that disc alone. There’s “Sussudio” and “In the Air Tonight,” and there’s “One More Night” and “I Missed Again.” There’s “Easy Lover” (though duet partner Philip Bailey is sorely, sorely missed) and “Separate Lives” (Marilyn Martin, not so much), and there’s “Another Day in Paradise” and “Don’t Lose My Number.” A bonus disc presents less interesting — in fact, sometimes quite weird — jazzed-up rewrites of several familiar Collins tunes, this time in 1996, with David Sanborn as featured soloist and conductor Quincy Jones leading the charge. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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RUFUS WAINWRIGHT – OUT OF THE GAME (POP/ROCK): This new album represents a return to form for the singer after a couple of decidedly darker affairs written in light of his mother (Kate McGarrigle)’s struggle with and ultimate death from cancer. It was understandable that music written and performed during that time would reflect the tumult he suffered. And here, he attempts to shake it all off, putting on a show of having a good time. I’m not convinced. An insistence on replicating the aesthetic of decades past feels unnatural on too many of these songs, forcing them into unnecessary corners. (More here; Nick kinda liked the title track, by the way.) — Tom Johnson

San Francisco Music ClubLove and Freedom [featuring Jimmy Dillon and Lorin Rowan] (Pop/Rock)
SantigoldMaster of My Make-Believe (Pop/Rock)
SpiritTwo Sides of a Rainbow (Pop/Rock)

STEVE KUHN – WISTERIA (JAZZ): Again using touch points from his personal past as the inspiration for a fresh take on his highly lyrical band of piano jazz, Kuhn does make one explicit nod to Farmer — the title track — but more of the nostalgia concerns reuniting with the bass player at his side during the Farmer days and into the time of Kuhn’s own trio formed not long afterwards, going all the way through their one-on-one meeting Two By Two from five years ago. Namely, Steve Swallow. Joey Baron, Kuhn’s ace drummer on Mostly Coltrane as well as 1995′s Remembering Tomorrow returns as well to round out this super trio. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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Steve OliverWorld Citizen (Jazz)

TERAMAZE – ANHEDONIA (POP/ROCK): This Australian band blends technical thrash with progressive depth for one of the better metal albums released so far this year. Good stuff all around. — Fred Phillips

VARIOUS ARTISTS – EVERY MOTHER COUNTS, VOL. 2 (POP/ROCK): A new benefit project for model Christy Turlington Burn’s Every Mother Counts program, this album features tracks from U2′s Bono and the Edge, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, David Bowie, Beck, Rufus Wainwright and Coldplay, among others. The disc is available at Starbucks, which is co-sponsoring the project. Highlights include an acoustic version of Coldplay’s early hit “Yellow,” an acoustic take on “Original of the Species” by Bono and the Edge, and Vedder’s “Skipping.” Also participating: Sade, Faith Hill, Diana Krall, Seal, Alanis Morrisette and Patti Smith, among others.

Various artistsThe Music of SMASH (Vocals)

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