New Music Monday: Balsam Range, Branford Marsalis, Keith Jarrett, Johnny Cash

Another Monday, another chance to dive into fresh musical delights from the likes of Balsam Range, Branford Marsalis, Keith Jarrett, Marcus Miller and the Trishas, among others.

We also draw a bead on key reissues and live sets from Cannonball Adderley, Johnny Cash (the subject of multiple projects this week, including a concert called “We Walk the Line” held in honor of the late country/rockabilly legend’s 80th birthday) and Thelonious Monk, among others. Featured elsewhere in our list are remix/redo projects from Rob Zombie and Suzanne Vega.


Antony and the JohnsonsCut the World (Pop/Rock)

BALSAM RANGE – PAPERTOWN (FOLK): This Asheville, North Carolina-based quintet’s fourth release arrives after a turbulent year of dizzying highs and scary lows: Balsam Range’s “Trains I Missed” claimed the IBMA’s award for bluegrass song of the year, but then lead singing fiddler Buddy Melton was the victim of a March farm accident in which he was kicked in the face while loading cattle — suffering multiple broken facial bones, including his nose. Papertown is none of the worse for the wear, though, as Balsam Range tears through a series of tunes composed by Shawn Camp, Carl Jackson, Buddy and Julie Miller (the superlative “Wide River to Cross”), Jerry Salley and the Allman Brothers. Credit goes both to the group’s flinty resiliency, and to Melton’s steely sense of humor. Having just been hospitalized after his horrifying accident, he was asked by the record-label head about making a statement to the press. Melton replied: “One cow, free to good home.” — Nick DeRiso

Bill EvansVery Best (Jazz)

BRANFORD MARSALIS – FOUR MF’s PLAYIN’ TUNES (JAZZ): This album telegraphs its almost offhanded sense of straight-ahead propulsion right in its very title — a humorous suggestion from the eldest of the Marsalis family of jazz performers that ended up sticking. Featured are a string of original band compositions, along with two covers — one from Thelonious Monk (“Teo”) and another dating back to the 1930s (the Sidney Bechet bonus track). By the time it’s over, Four MFs Playin’ Tunes has through sheer force and wit finally begun to capture the winking intelligence — really, the loose sense of serious fun — that’s always been part of Marsalis’ stage show. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CANNONBALL ADDERLEY – VERY BEST (JAZZ): A fast, but very satisfying ride through an underrated career that includes equal measures of sizzling post bop (head straight to “A Little Taste”) and simmering soul jazz (“Insight Straight”). Featured cuts are included from Portrait of Cannonball and Things Are Getting Better in 1958 all the way through to Phenix in the mid-1970s, when Adderley was felled at age 46 by a heart attack. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Carol RobbinsMorage (Jazz)
Cecil TaylorFly! Fly! Fly! Fly! Fly! (Jazz)
Colt FordDeclaration of Independence (Country)
Dave BrubeckVery Best (Jazz)
David ArchuletaBegin (Pop/Rock)

Eddie Lockjaw DavisTough Tenors Again ‘n’ Again (Jazz)
Elle VarnerPerfectly Imperfect (Pop/Rock)
Elvis PresleyFame and Fortune: Lost in the Sixties; King Creole [The Alternate Album]; Loving You [The Alternate Album] (Pop/Rock)
Eugene McGuinnessInvitation to the Voyage (Pop/Rock)
Graham ParkerLive At Rockpalast (Pop/Rock)

JOHNNY CASH – THE GREATEST: DUETS; GOSPEL SONGS; THE NUMBER ONES; and WE WALK THE LINE: A CELEBRATION OF THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH [CD/DVD] (COUNTRY): A four-project blast of Cash, as the 80th birthday celebration of the music legend continues. We Walk the Line commemorates the April tribute concert held in Austin, Texas, featuring Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson, Chris Cornell, John Hiatt, Ronnie Dunn, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kenny Chesney, Kris Kristofferson, Ray LaMontagne and Amy Lee. Cash, who died at 71 of complications from diabetes in 2003, is also remembered for his chart topping successes, his touching devotionals and the times he shared the mic with others — none perhaps more memorably than with his wife June Carter Cash. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

KEITH JARRETT – SLEEPER: TOKYO, APRIL 16, 1979 [with Palle Danielsson, Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen] (JAZZ): Sleeper is open for charges of redundancy because, like Personal Mountains, it was recorded in Tokyo in April of 1979, and includes the same four songs found on Mountains. Additional songs contained in Nude Ants are performed here as well. But given the relatively infrequent and short discography of this band that had reached such a high level of rapport by the time of this final tour, such newly-uncovered recordings should be a real treat for any Jarrett or Garbarek fan. The band is clearly playing with conviction, but also a relaxed confidence you only attain from a high level of trust and from knowing each other so well. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Mahlis-Panos ProjectProtoleia (Jazz)
Malcolm HolcombeDown the River (Folk)

MARCUS MILLER – RENAISSANCE (JAZZ): An outgrowth of the Miles Davis band alum’s earlier Tutu Revisited, this project provides Miller with an opportunity to take the band from that album and tour and see how they respond with material Miller has written specifically with them in mind. The results aren’t revolutionary, but there’s an attention to detail, the openness to a multitude of styles, and Miller’s strongest set of songs in some time. All of those things seemed to inspire the younger generation of players in his band to play up to the material and respond to Miller’s direction with a rare combination of looseness and preciseness. Where those guys go from here, that’s where the real rebirth will happen. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Mike SeegerMike Seeger (Folk)
Miles DavisPlatinum Masters (Jazz)
Redd KrossResearching the Blues (Pop/Rock)

ROB ZOMBIE – MONDO SEX HEAD (POP/ROCK): A remix collection curated by DJ Jason Bentley, and including KoRn’s Jonathan “JDevil” Davis (with a “Number of the Beast” remix for White Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65″), Ki:Theory (“Foxy Foxy”), the Blood Beetroots (“Burn”), the Chino Moreno project Crosses (“Dragula”), and others. Zombie himself chose the menu of songs for what will be his second remix collection, following 1996′s Supersexy Swingin Sounds. Mondo Sex Head was preceded by two separate digital-only EPs featuring key tracks and exclusive bonus tracks. Also featured: Photek, Document One, Big Black Delta, Das Kaptial, Drumcorps, Kraddy, Tobias Enhus with the Jane Cornish String Quartet, and Griffin Boice. (More here.)

Roxy MusicThe Complete Studio Recordings (Pop/Rock)
ShelShel (Folk)
Sixpence None the RicherLost In Transition (Pop/Rock)

SUZANNE VEGA – CLOSE UP VOL. 4, SONGS OF FAMILY (POP/ROCK): The fourth and final installment in a series of albums that finds Vega stripping down her music alongside only bassist Mike Visceglia and guitarist Gerry Leonard. Intimate and personal, the sets have been broken down thematically, beginning with “Love Songs,” then “People, Places & Things” and “States of Being.” If you’re looking for her most recognizable hits, go to Vol. 2 — which features new acoustic recordings of “Luka” amd “Tom’s Diner.” A highlight of Vol. 4: Songs of Family promises to be her redo of “Pilgrimage,” originally the closing track for 1990′s all-but-forgotten, somewhat overproduced Days of Open Hand. — Nick DeRiso

10 YearsMinus the Machine (Pop/Rock)

THELONIOUS MONK – VERY BEST (JAZZ): Focusing on 10 tracks recorded between 1954-57, this set begins with early moments that predate Monk’s ride to fame on Columbia — then tracks as he begins to receive notice so long deserved not just as a composer and bandleader but as an innovator. Along the way, there are intersections with trumpeters Thad Jones and Clark Terry, saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins, bassists Oscar Pettiford and Wilbur Ware, and drummers in Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, and Max Roach. Monk is featured in contexts ranging from unaccompanied piano to a 10-piece orchestra, performing classics as “Blue Monk,” “Ruby, My Dear,” and “’Round Midnight” — not to mention covers that include Duke Ellington and “Honeysuckle Rose.” (More here.)

THE TRISHAS – HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME (POP/ROCK): Jamie Wilson, Liz Foster, Kelley Mickwee and Savannah Welch have made a quick name for themselves — even if their collective moniker was conceived completely on a whim. Back in 2009, a portion of their debut show was to be dedicated to Savannah’s father, singer-songwriter Kevin Welch — including a Welch-written hit for Trisha Yearwood … and the Trishas were born. Their four-part harmonies so transfixed the crowd that the quartet decided to formalize their band efforts — and before they knew it, they were doing a showcase at Nashville’s Americana Music Association Festival. The Trishas have since appeared with Raul Malo, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others, and return now with this terrific album of original, old-timey folk and country — where 13 of the 14 tracks were co-written by the band. Standout tracks include “Mother Of Invention,” “Little Sweet Cigars,” “Over Forgiving You,” and “Gold & Silver.”

The ZombiesLive in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London [CD/DVD, with Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent] (Pop/Rock)

Yo La TengoPopular Songs [Vinyl] (Pop/Rock)

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