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Ralph Alessi – Baida (2013)

A standout thing I’ve come to realize in sizing up Ralph Alessi’s ECM debut Baida is not just the record itself but the realization that this is the first Alessi-led album I’ve had the occasion to cover.

Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “My Beautiful Reward” (1992)

Sparks Fly On E Street: Bruce Springsteen, “My Beautiful Reward” (1992)

An introspective (if slightly opaque) finale to Lucky Town, “My Beautiful Reward” finds our man summarizing the current chapter of his life.

Marc Bolan – At the BBC (2013)

Marc Bolan had been championed by John Peel long before he had a chance to hang a hub-cap diamond star halo on music lovers with T Rex. The proof is in this 6-CD set featuring every appearance he ever made on the BBC.

Steely Dan Sunday, “Negative Girl” (2000)

Steely Dan Sunday, “Negative Girl” (2000)

<<< BACKWARD (“Cousin Dupree”) ||| ONWARD (“West Of Hollywood”) >>> *** STEELY DAN SUNDAY INDEX *** As we’ve covered earlier in the reviews of this album, there are a number of new players and even a new strategy represented by Two Against Nature.

North Mississippi Allstars – World Boogie is Coming (2013)

Named after one of their dad’s favorite sayings, and featuring found-object recordings of R.L. Burnside and Otha Turner, you’d expect the Dickinson Brothers’ new North Mississippi Allstars album to be riven with nostalgia.

UB40 – Getting Over the Storm (2013)

UB40 can be forgiven for getting a little maudlin, for enjoying some tear-in-your-beer saloon music. After all, it hasn’t been all red, red wine and roses lately for the British reggae-pop band.

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Oasis” (1977)

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Oasis” (1977)

“Oasis” provides a very early counterexample to the notion that the music of Pat Metheny tends toward lightweight fare, closer to new age or (worse) smooth jazz than anything from the “real” jazz tradition.

Eileen Howard – Blues in the Green Room (2013)

This isn’t so much down home as it is upbeat, an empowering set of blues from a singer with jazz chops. There’s a buoying effect throughout Eileen Howard’s Blues in the Green Room.

One Track Mind: Jim Beard, “The Gentleman and Hizcaine” (2013)

Keyboardist and composer Jim Beard has long been a “behind the scenes” kind of guy, contributing his skills to music by better-known acts, such as Wayne Shorter, Chuck Loeb, Eliane Elias

Jeremy – Searching For The Son (2013)

Jeremy – Searching For The Son (2013)

Being prolific is one thing, but being prolific and having the ability to create high quality music is an entirely different animal altogether. However, Jeremy Morris is blessed with both attributes.