Five CD Discoveries of the Week


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My workload last week prevented me from sharing with you my CD discoveries this past weekend. So here they are now...

Those familiar with Bob Dorough know that his arranging skills are as shrewd as his songs, piano playing and vocals. On Eulalia (Merry Lane), we get to hear all of Dorough's talents. Dorough's vocal style isn't everyone's cup of tea. It assumes the all-natural sound of someone warbling in the shower. But the combination of his  almost cartoonish vocal style and sophisticated lyrics and voicings became a popular jazz singing style in the 1950s. Dorough worked with Blossom Dearie in Paris in the early 1950s and he recorded a Christmas song with Miles Davis in 1952. His conversational bumpkin vocals also influenced Mose Allison and surely reached the stereo of Neil Young. On this album, you get to hear his arranging gift on Eulalia and I've Got Just About Everything and his deft songwriting on Whatever Happened to Love Songs? and But for Now. Musicians on here include Phil Woods, bassist Steve Gilmore and the magnificent flute of Aralee Dorough—Bob's daughter and principal flutist of the Houston Symphony. Dorough is an original whose vocals enabled other unpolished singers with something to say to get into the game.

Mimi Jones' new album Balance (Hot Tone Music) is satisfying on every level. The bassist plays with enormous strength and enthusiasm but also has a cohesive vision for how the music should sound. Each track is an important statement expressed with sensuality and chops. Jones plays acoustic bass on nine tracks, electric bass on three and sings on six. Her backup musicians are perfectly suited to her approach on each track, bringing rich textures and lines. She is Grammy-worthy. Here's Jones talking about the album...

Uncle Tupelo recorded its first album—No Depression—in 1990 and the results sparked an alternative country-rock wave. Now the album has been reissued on a two-CD set that remasters the original recording and adds demos, live tracks and other rarities. Uncle Tupelo recorded the album's tracks over 10 days in January 1990 at Fort Apache South—a musician-run studio in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. The trio couldn't afford the cost of recording at a 24-four track studio in nearby Cambridge. The result was a slammer of an album that turned heads. Twenty-four years later, it still sounds raw and meaningful.

Jazz guitar and flute are pretty irresistible. Now add a soft accordion and bass and drums. On guitarist John Stein's Emotion: The Mingotan Project (Naxos), he explores songs with Brazilian and Argentinian rhythms. He's joined by Rebecca Kleinmann on flute, Evan Harlan on accordion, John Lockwood on bass and Martias Mingote German on drums. Every song here offers a fascinating meeting of jazz and South American flavors with exquisite arrangements and playing. Stein's playing has a lyrical, swinging feel that ties together all of the elements.

Shirazette Tinnin brings a new sound to the jazz drums. Her playing on Humility: Purity of My Soul (Hot Tone) is forceful but never exclusively about power or cymbal bashing. Tinnin's playing is textured, conversational and varied. So instead of the drums hammering home points, Tinnin is coaxing and conscious that her role is to unite and drive a team, not showboat at their expense. One of the few new jazz albums where you actually listen to what the drummer is doing and admire the seductive statements. Dig Aunt Sissy, which says it all.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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