Oct 2021

I Dream Of Christmas (CD)

It might seem like a no-brainer for Norah Jones to have recorded a Christmas album, but I Dream of Christmas is actually the first one for the jazzy, golden-voiced artist. Naturally, it’s several rungs above your standard holiday fare, including strong originals like the stylish and quirky “Christmas Glow” and “Christmas Calling (Jolly Jones),” a subtly groovy number with head-bopping percussion. Jones also delights with her renditions of the classics, especially her swinging and sultry rendition of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”

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Sounds From The Ancestors (CD)

It’s hard to believe that Sounds from The Ancestors is the inimitable Kenny Garrett’s twentieth album. Whereas many artists with half of Garrett’s prolific output seem to coast on their laurels, the acclaimed alto saxophonist and composer is creating work that sounds as life-affirming, exciting, and rewarding as ever. Inspired by the history of Detroit, ancestral and evocative sounds of Cuba, Nigeria, Guadeloupe, and France, with a firm foundation in Jazz, gospel, and R&B traditions, Garrett has described the album as an attempt to channel the soulful sounds of his musical childhood. He succeeds in spades, with this album puling from the past while writing its own present. An album that should reverberate long into the future and become a favorite of many.

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More Music (CD)

Joey DeFrancesco might be at his most impressive as a performer on the incredible More Music. The virtuoso organist offers up ten originals that already sound and feel like future jazz classics, the mood vibrant and enticing throughout the album's just right run time. DeFrancesco accentuates his organ skills with performances on trumpet, keys, piano, and tenor sax, and contributions from Lucas Brown (organ/guitar) and Michael Ode (drums). It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.

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The Work (CD)

The Work is the relentless new album from the unparalleled purveyors of dense, driving metal, Rivers of Nihil. The wall of sound has never sounded so textured, so pioneering, and so atmospheric as it does on this latest effort. The heaviness and aggression of the compositions get a little extra oomph from the addition of synth and saxophone, adding an emotional impact that lurks just beneath the brutal surface. When it comes to songwriting, Rivers of Nihil are true masters of the craft, and The Work is an excellent exhibition of their skill.

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Our Bande Apart (CD)

Third Eye Blind fans will find much to love in the band’s seventh album, Our Bande Apart. It’s a power-pop meets college rock affair, with a ‘90s alt-rock polish and an undercurrent of punk beneath it all. The lyrics are smart and unexpected, the riffs energetic and enjoyable. The band’s sound continues to evolve with the pleasant surprise of a Joy Division cover, guest vocals from Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, and mixes from Polica’s Ryan Olson. An exuberant, high-powered album made to be cranked up loud, blasted with your windows down.

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How Does Christmas Sound? (CD)

GRAMMY-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum presents his second Christmas album, the reverent and soulful new How Does Christmas Sound?. Instead of an overly cheery collection of carols or holiday classics, Whalum offers originals and familiar tunes that highlight the spiritual side of the holiday. The set even includes a cover of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” that turns the object of desire into something more holy.

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