New Music Monday: John Hiatt, Lee Ritenour, Shemekia Copeland, the Gaddabouts, Lee Konitz

Another New Music Monday, another truckload of cool sounds — this time from the likes of John Hiatt, Lee Ritenour, Medeski Martin and Wood, Shemekia Copeland, Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and the Gaddabouts, among others.

Want to dig further back? Forthcoming reissues and live sets include stuff from Bob Dylan and the Band, Freddie Mercury, Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders, Joe Bonamassa, Pat Metheny and Steven Wilson — though the last actually includes a brand-new song from a solo album he’s at work on right now. More on that in a moment.

Also out this week are new albums from Beka Gochiashvili, Ferenc Nemeth, Helstar, Kix, Kurt Elling, Lee Konitz, Sam Newsome, Billie Davies Trio, the Beauty Room and Tia Fuller, among many, many others.

SO, LET’S DO THIS: NEW MUSIC MONDAY FOR SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 …

BEKA GOCHIASHVILI – BEKA GOCHIASHVILI (JAZZ): Described by mentor Lenny White, the Return to Forever drummer, as an old soul, Gochiashvili arrives as a 16-year-old prodigy via Tbilisi, Georgia, who has already grabbed the ear of some other heavy hitters in jazz. Stanley Clarke, who also appears on this album, favorably compared Gochiashvili’s debut to that of Tony Williams with the 1960s Miles Davis bands. The self-titled release, perhaps as expected, includes tracks written by both White and Clarke, but also seven new originals — including a pair devoted to heroes Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett. A high point arrives over two tracks composed for Gochiashvili’s girlfriend back home in Georgia. Former Weather Report bassist Victor Bailey and Wallace Roney, the one-time Davis acolyte, also appear. — Nick DeRiso

Bob BeldenTransparent Heart (Jazz)

BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND – DOWN IN THE FLOOD (POP/ROCK): A film that goes in-depth on one of rock’s most intriguing musical intersections, all of it over roughly a single decade beginning in 1966. In the end, Dylan had an incalculable impact on the Band: His lyrical mysteries, his sharply intuited narratives, permeated their earlier influences, creating an as-yet-unheard synthesis. The Band’s debut, utterly distinct, timeless and yet new, was different in every way from the ornate, polished hits of the day. At the same time, it was different than Dylan too, more vulnerable, more straight forward. As Dylan himself retreated further into the safety of country music into the late 1960s, the Band emerged with some of the guttiest, most mythically complex, most honest music of the decade. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Charles GayleLook Up (Jazz)
Davy JonesGirl & Rainy Jane (Pop/Rock)
Deadmau5 >Album Title Goes Here< (Pop/Rock)
Elizabeth ShepherdRewind (Jazz)
Emerson, Lake & PalmerEmerson, Lake and Palmer; Tarkus (Pop/Rock)

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FERENC NEMETH – TRIUMPH (JAZZ): Nemeth has high aims for only his second solo album, a musical manifestation for his hopes for a world where people can attain their highest potential and work together harmoniously as a collective ambition. These are lofty goals, but understanding his mission you can clearly hear him work to send that message as he carries out his compositions with three sympathetic masters. Accompanying Nemeth on this album is a lineup I’d get excited about if only one of them were on it and the rest were no-names: Joshua Redman on saxes, Kenny Werner on acoustic and electric piano, and former Berklee classmate Lionel Loueke playing guitar and occasionally doing his signature West African scat thing. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

FREDDIE MERCURY – GREAT PRETENDER (POP/ROCK): This new documentary focusing on the late Queen frontman includes a snippet of the unreleased Michael Jackson collaboration “There Must be More to Life Than This” and a demo with Rod Stewart singing the previously unheard “Take Another Piece of My Heart,” along with a never-before-seen appearance with the Royal Ballet in 1979. Other highlights: Rare footage from Queen’s initial TV appearance, Mercury’s earliest filmed interview, and newly filmed talks from fellow Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. The documentary was produced and directed by Rhys Thomas, who also includes interesting video outtakes from “I Want To Break Free,” “One Vision,” “Days of Our Lives,” “I Want It All,” “A Kind Of Magic,” “Princes of the Universe,” “Living on My Own,” Born To Love You,” “Great Pretender,” “Made In Heaven,” and “Who Wants to Live Forever.” (More here.)

Gary MooreBlues for Jimi: Live in London (Blues)
Gerry GroomOnce in a Blue Moon (Pop/Rock)
Green DayUno (Pop/Rock)

HELSTAR – 30 YEARS OF HELL (POP/ROCK): This is a nice two-disc collection covering the career of the underrated Houston power/thrash metal outfit. It includes songs from their 1984 debut through their excellent 2010 Record Glory of Chaos. One version of the album also features a live DVD. — Fred Phillips

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JERRY GARCIA AND MERL SAUNDERS – KEYSTONE COMPANIONS: THE COMPLETE 1973 FANTASY RECORDINGS (POP/ROCK): Garcia (who died in 1995) and Saunders (who passed in 2008) met while both were doing some late-1960s sessions work, and discovered an immediate chemistry — across a swath of music that included blues, jazz, folk, songbook favorites, R&B and bluegrass. Something clicked, like yin spooning with yang. Garcia taught Saunders — then a well-paid, straight-laced side man — how to loosen up. Saunders taught Garcia — the always-smiling centerpoint of counterculture darlings the Grateful Dead — how to play the old standards. You hear the big bang of all of those good feelings happening here, during a two-show gig at the Keystone Club in Berkeley, California. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

JOE BONAMASSA – BEACON THEATRE: LIFE FROM NEW YORK (BLUES): An audio version of the year’s earlier DVD, as we find Bonamassa decked out in his usual low-key attire of a dark suit and open white shirt. The show is similarly no-frills and business-like. Serious musicianship ruled the night and Joe B. didn’t disappoint those in audience looking for him to burn up the frets. His style is really a composite of blues-rock and metal guitarists who came before him, and if that doesn’t make it sound like he’s terribly original, watching him play those licks is something else: he, to use a heavily used phrase, makes it look so freakin’ easy. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

John DaversaArtful Joy (Jazz)

JOHN HIATT – MYSTIC PINBALL (POP/ROCK): Maybe there’s not quite the display of raw feelings that we heard on last year’s “Damn This Town,” but Hiatt’s gift for turning a phrase and making things rhyme naturally are in evidence all over this album, and by the end of each song, we’re never left wondering what the heck were we supposed to take away from it. It’s kind of nice to once in while listen to songs that aren’t so damned esoteric, for art’s sake. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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KIX – LIVE IN BALTIMORE (POP/ROCK): Though I didn’t like everything Kix did, I have to admit there are definitely some guilty pleasures for me in their catalog. That’s enough to give me some interest in their return, which starts with this collection of live fan favorites from Frontiers Records, and should lead to an album of new material next year on the label. — Fred Phillips

KURT ELLING – 1619 BROADWAY: THE BRILL BUILDING PROJECT (JAZZ): For those tired of the same old Gershwin/Rodgers and Hart/Cole Porter routine, this vocal project is for you. The album’s high-point, in fact, arrives with a glowing take on “American Tune,” which Paul Simon based on a line from the chorale of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. In Elling’s hands, the song is less a fragile elegy for dreams deferred than a burnishing moment of determination, a deep breath before trying all over again — and trying harder than before. In that moment, Elling makes the argument for a new kind of standard. And it’s about time. — (More here.) Nick DeRiso

LEE KONITZ – ENFANTS TERRIBLES (JAZZ): For a guy born in the 1920s and who started his professional career the same year that World War II ended, Lee Konitz isn’t playing too shabby. In fact, this is a record most talented twentysomething jazz musicians would kill to make. Konitz, an alto saxophonist who as a bop player in the 40s didn’t copy Charlie Parker, is an original himself impossible to replicate. Even today. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

LEE RITENOUR – RHYTHM SESSION (JAZZ): Like his last album, 2010’s 6 String Theory, Ritenour decided to make a record by pulling out some of the biggest guns ever to enter a recording studio. This time, Ritenour directs his attention on stellar backing artists — including Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Larry Goldings, Patrice Rushen, Peter Erskine and Tal Wilkenfeld. The record also serves as an opportunity to showcase emerging talent brought to fore by Ritenour and Grusin’s first annual 6 String Theory International Rhythm Section Competition, by assembling the winners of that competition to cut a track. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD – FREE MAGIC (JAZZ): Most bands tend to constrict themselves by setting up parameters or sticking to a formula within which they operate, in order to create a sort of trademark sound. Medeski, Martin and Wood don’t roll like: They might pull from the same inspirations ranging from chamber music to whack jazz, but their sources for inspiration are almost limitless, and they use a different recipe nearly each time out. During a 2007 tour, the recipe consisted of holding all plugged in keyboards and adding maybe just a pinch of electric bass; the rest of the ingredients were a heavy dose of acoustic. Five years later, we finally get a souvenir of their first-ever acoustic series of concerts, packaged here as a collection of five mostly recycled songs all performed as extended forms. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Mumford and SonsBabel (Pop/Rock)
NektarRecycled: Deluxe Edition (Pop/Rock)
No DoubtPush And Shove (Pop/Rock)
P.J. PacificoSurface (Pop/Rock)

PAT METHENY – ORCHESTRION DVD/BLU-RAY (JAZZ): The visual accompaniment to Metheny’s intriguing 2010 album of the same name. With the Orchestrion project, Pat Metheny employed a fusion of solenoid/pneumatic-actuated instruments with a digital front-end, giving the guitarist a huge sonic palette to drawn on. There are loads of percussion instruments, as well as a Yamaha Disklavier. The idea of a mechanically actuated guitar has a certain odd appeal for me, but my favorite instrument in this ensemble (if it can be called that) is the cabinet of tuned bottles, the “bottle organ.” It is a set of chromatically-tuned bottles that produce notes when blown with air. They also light up while sounding out, adding to the spectacle. (More here.) — Mark Saleski

R.E.M.Document: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Pop/Rock)
Richie SamboraAftermath of the Lowdown (Pop/Rock)

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SAM NEWSOME – THE ART OF THE SOPRANO VOL. 1 (JAZZ): With its familiar song selections and proximity to the stellar 2010 release Blue Soliloquy, I suspected at first that this might end up as something of a valedictory. After all, this is actually Newsome’s third solo soprano project, following 2007’s Monk Abstractions. Who could blame Newsome for taking a sort of victory lap through some of jazz music’s most memorable moments, with a few compatible originals in place to bring home the point? But the work itself, furiously inventive, muscular and uncompromising, belies that notion. Turns out, Newsome is just getting started. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

SHEMEKIA COPELAND – 33 1/3 (BLUES): Copeland continues with the gritty, rootsy but contemporary groove she found on the prior Never Going Back, where she went with producer Oliver Wood. He stays on board for 33 1/3, with his mojo intact. Using a mixture of new originals and updated, blues-kissed interpretations of old folk (Bob Dylan), country (Randy Weeks) and soul (Sam Cooke) tunes, Copeland tells personal stories that relates to her audience while they reveal her own views and experiences. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

STEVE HARRIS – BRITISH LION (POP/ROCK): Iron Maiden founder and bassist Steve Harris unleashes his first solo album, which doesn’t have a whole lot in common with his main act. Harris blends a 1970s hard rock vibe with prog and modern rock for this interesting collection of tunes. — Fred Phillips

STEVEN WILSON – GET ALL YOUR DESERVE DVD (POP/ROCK): Recorded on the fifth concert of a 26-show run at Mexico City’s Teatro Metropólitan, this new concert film features among its 16 tracks the debut of “Luminol,” an epic original to be included on the next Wilson record. Wilson appears on stage with guitarist Niko Tsonev, keyboardist Adam Holzman, bassist Nick Beggs, drummer Marco Minnemann and flute/sax player Theo Travis. He says “Luminol” was the first time he had written specifically with his current band in mind — and that this new composition “really stretches these guys.” (More here.)

THE BILLIE DAVIES TRIO – ALL ABOUT LOVE (JAZZ): Davies swings her ass off on drums, but is always layering it with polyrhythms and tasteful fills. Now, there are a lot of well-worn standards here, and that might typically trouble me, but the performances themselves make too much hay for me to pay much mind. In addition to these tunes, there is a melodic original “Downtown In The Rain,” as well as a couple of brief group improvs called “Green Cheese” and BUrst!” as well as a bluesy jam “High Noon.” (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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THE BEAUTY ROOM – THE BEAUTY ROOM II (POP/ROCK): The craftiest revivalists of that early ’70s, soft, soulful LA rock sound are a couple of guys from the UK, virtually unknown stateside. But The Beauty Room, as they’re called, deserves wider notice on these and other shores. Singer Jinadu and producer/keyboardist Kirk Degiorgio put in a lot of work on this follow-up release to avoid the dreaded sophomore letdown. Theirs is a songwriting partnership that sparks from two opposing forces rubbing together: Degiorgio and his predilection for chord progressions that are a little unusual for pop and Jinadu’s ear for crafting compelling hooks and meditative verses. They got that down on their first collaborative project, and the chemistry persists on II. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

THE GADDABOUTS – LOOK OUT NOW! (POP/ROCK): A series of knee-slapping, ass-wagging, smile-popping concoctions filled with roots rock, country blues, cocktail jazz, rockabilly, front-porch folk — 19 in all, song after song after song, each one a delightful puzzle of smart lyrics and sharp licks. That this low-key triumph arrives courtesy of a nascent supergroup — drummer Steve Gadd, singer Edie Brickell, bassist Pino Palladino and guitarist Andy Fairweather Low — makes Look Out Now! all the more surprising. It’s that rare moment when everything works for one of these all-star amalgams, which usually boast far more promise than actual magic. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

TIA FULLER – ANGELIC WARRIOR (JAZZ): In a relatively short period of time, Tia Fuller has attained the stature of being the preferred sax player of superstars for reasons that become quite clear by listening to Angelic Warrior. She made a record that takes no shortcuts, and makes excellent use of the talented personnel at her disposal. Tia Fuller has fully arrived. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Various artistsRe-Machined: Deep Purple Tribute [Carlos Santana; Chickenfoot; Glenn Hughes; Flaming Lips; Joe Bonamassa; Iron Maiden; Metallica, otherrs] (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsThe Cruisin’ Story 1955 [Bill Haley; Ray Charles; Elvis Presley; Chuck Berry; Bo Diddley; Little Walter, others] (Pop/Rock)
Waylon JenningsGoin Down Rockin: The Last Recordings (Country)

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