New Music Monday: Glass Hammer, Paul Carrack, Carl Palmer, Noel Johnston, Chicago

Glass Hammer is promising a house party of a prog-rock record, having invited over a number of old friends and a slew of new ones. Meanwhile, we get an expanded overview of Carl Palmer’s lengthy career — and not just the goodies from his tenures in Emerson Lake and Palmer and in Asia, either.

Paul Carrack is back (yes, already!) with another muscular, Ray Charles-influenced set, while Noel Johnston finds a way to blend Van Halen with jazz. (Yes, Van Halen with jazz.) We also find Chicago in a rare live set from the early 1970s, absolutely killing it.

Then there’s Noah Baerman’s new album, which mixes and matches jazz styles with his own prodigious talents across a range of instruments. Journey to Ithaka provides valuable new insights into the genius of keyboardist Vangelis, too …

Aloe BlaccLift Your Spirit (R&B)
Ambrose Akinmusireimagined savior is far easier to paint (Jazz)
Art Ovrutski44:33 (Jazz)
Black CrowesThree Snakes and One Charm (Pop/Rock)
Cannonball AdderleySextet: Jazz Workshop Revisited [+3 Bonus Tracks] (Jazz)

CARL PALMER – CARL, DO YOU WANNA PLAY?: ANTHOLOGY (PROG/ROCK): This newly expanded set, once a UK-only 2001 release, impressively weaves together highlights from the breadth of Palmer’s career: Included, of course, are standout tracks from Asia (“Heat of the Moment,” “Wildest Dreams,” “Time Again”) and Emerson Lake and Palmer (“Tank,” “Fanfare for the Common Man,” “Concerto for Percussion,” “The Pancha Suite,” “Bullfrog,” “Toccata,” “LA Nights,” others), but also collaborations with Mike Oldfield (“Mount Teidi,” “Ready Mix”), Atomic Rooster (“Decline and Fall”), the Craig, Palmer’s solo bands and the Buddy Rich Orchestra. There are even cuts from the ELP offshoot band 3 (“Desda La Vida” and “Eight Miles High” feature Emerson, Palmer and Robert Berry) and the Asia spinoff Qango (“Hoedown” with John Wetton, Palmer, David Kilminster and John Young). (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CHICAGO – LIVE IN JAPAN (POP/ROCK): This June 1972 concert, which finds Chicago at the peak of its considerable powers, briefly appeared in print some two decades back after initially finding wide release only in Japan. The long-awaited reissue offers the opportunity for a deep dig into the band’s initial five albums with all of its best-known members on stage. We’re reminded of the punchy contributions made by the late guitarist Terry Kath and departed founders Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine even as Robert Lamm and Chicago’s signature horn trio tear through early favorites like “Make Me Smile,” “I’m A Man,” “Saturday In the Park,” “Free,” “Dialogue” and “Beginnings,” among others. Listen, children: All is not lost. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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David BowieRebel Rebel [40th Anniversary Picture Disc] (Pop/Rock)
Don WilliamsReflections (Country)
Doug SahmInlaws and Outlaws (Roots/Rock)
Eric ClaptonCrossroads Guitar Festival 2013 [Buddy Guy, Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper, Doyle Bramham II, Robert Cray, the Allman Brothers, Jimmie Vaughan, others] (Blues/Rock)
Everly BrothersSongs Our Daddy Taught Us (Pop/Rock)
Gil Scott-HeronPieces of a Man (Jazz)

GLASS HAMMER – ODE TO ECHO (PROG/ROCK): If the lead single is any indication, this new album from Glass Hammer will be both familiar (there are a number of familiar names from previous editions of the band returning) as well as impressively exploratory (yes, that’s the violinist from Kansas on “Crowbone”). The initial track boldly blends the darker themes of the band’s most recent album with a layered narrative, as well. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

KansasKansas; Masque (Pop/Rock)
Kristen MirandaDouble Time (Vocals)
INXSNever Tear Us Apart (Pop/Rock)
Lena HorneLena on the Blue Side (Vocals)
Lenny KravitzAre You Gonna Go My Way (Pop/Rock)
ManowarKings of Metal Mmxiv (Rock/Metal)

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Matt Sorum’s Fierce JoyStratosphere (Pop/Rock)
Mighty Mighty BosstonesMore Noise and Other Disturbances (Pop/Rock)
Mike OldfieldMan on the Rocks (Prog/Rock)
Nine Inch Nails and CoilRecoiled (Pop/Rock)

NOAH BAERMAN – RIPPLES (JAZZ): Baerman plays piano, organ, slide guitar and sings a little. He leads a trio, a chamber octet, a duet, a quartet of singers, a two-sax/vibes quintet, and an assortment of combinations of these ensembles. He composes for every shade of jazz from greasy soul-jazz to Third Stream. And he does this all within one album. Ripples is simply busting out all over with ambition. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

NOEL JOHNSTON – SALTED COFFEE (FUSION/JAZZ): Van Halen-inspired and jazz-trained guitarslinger Noel Johnston merges his passion for both worlds for his third album. With a bombast echoing those of the hair bands of the 1980s but also a tastefulness that’s inspired by Jeff beck and Pat Metheny, the Dallas-based Johnston tears through a divergent set of three covers and five originals that find coherency on Johnston’s guitar mastery alone. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Peter HammillOther World (Pop/Rock)

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PAUL CARRACK – RAIN OR SHINE (POP/ROCK): The opening one-two punch of “Stepping Stone” and “That’s All That Matters to Me,” a lead single fraught with a very adult parental worry, showcase his 10-track album’s signature sound: An active string accompaniment not unlike those that fired soul classics by the likes of Al Green and Ray Charles. In fact, they were recorded in Los Angeles with arranger Richard Niles, who contributed to some late-period triumphs with Brother Ray. His charts, which also include some brassy brawn later in, give Rain or Shine a timeless feel — very in keeping with Carrack’s honeyed approach at the mic. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Pedro Rafael Garcia MorenoPedrosaxo (Jazz)
Rufus WainwrightVibrate: The Best of (Pop/Rock)
Sara EvansSlow Me Down (Country)
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon RangersLive [featuring Edie Brickell] (Bluegrass)
The WhoSensation: The Story of the Who’s Tommy (Pop/Rock)
Tyrannosaurus RexBeard of Stars: Deluxe Edition; T. Rex: Deluxe Edition (Pop/Rock)

VANGELIS – JOURNEY TO ITHAKA (PROG/ROCK): With this film, Vangelis’ work on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and 1492: The Conquest of Paradise, Oliver Stone’s Alexander and, of course, Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire are thrown in an entirely new light: The seemingly always-working Vangelis’ remarkably attenuated sense of atmospherics, texture and balance helped establish the synthesizer as a compositional force, even as he imbued the soundtrack medium with a new sense of gravitas. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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