The irrepressible Dave Douglas delivers another installment in the life of the Tiny Bell Trio, which features his own inimitable trumpet style, but the rhythmic invention of Jim Black on drums, and Brad Shepik's emotionally vulnerable yet volatile guitar playing. Where previous Tiny Bell outings have focused on the possibilities for texture, dynamic, and atmospheric possibilities within a given compositional structure, Songs for Wandering Souls places its eye firmly on group execution this set of compositions – all but two of which are by Douglas, the others arranged by him especially for this of his many groups. The disc opens with "Sam Hill," a beautiful "song," where the lead "call" voice is carried by Douglas, but its "response" is in the lyrical flow of Shepik's string interplay.
Nonesuch Records labelmates mandolinist/singer Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau, longtime admirers of each other's work, first toured as a duo in 2013. At the end of 2015, they played a two-night stand at New York City's Bowery Ballroom before going into the studio to record Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau, a mix of covers and original songs that Nonesuch releases on January 27, 2017, on two CDs / LPs. The vinyl edition includes a bonus performance of Fiona Apple's "Fast As You Can." You can watch a live performances of the former above and the latter below.
Stanley Kubrick made his own musical choices for his films, many of them existing pieces that were forever redefined by their use. (Remember "Thus Spake Zarathustra" in 2001: A Space Odyssey?) For his final work, Eyes Wide Shut, he employed composer Jocelyn Pook to compose some evocative string-filled music (including one track, "Masked Ball," eerily featuring backwards vocals), but his score also included works by Liszt and Shostakovich, syrupy versions of "When I Fall in Love," "If I Had You," and "Strangers in the Night," a jazzy rendition of "Blame It on My Youth" by Brad Mehldau, Chris Isaak's cross between John Lee Hooker and Roy Orbison on his 1995 song "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing," and, opening and closing the disc, a simple but intense solo piano piece by Gyogy Ligeti, whose work also had been used in 2001 and another Kubrick film, The Shining. The result was an eclectic soundtrack album that primarily was of interest to fans of the film who were in need of an aural souvenir.
Guitarist Lenny Breau's short life (1941-1984) is a movie waiting to be made. Before his still unsolved murder, he was able to bring a new voice to the guitar by adapting country fingerpicking technique to the intricacies of modern jazz. A Breau hallmark was his highly developed ability to play bass, chords and single notes concurrently - in effect having a trio in his right hand. The newly re-released Complete Living Room Tapes, with clarinetist Brad Terry, is a 2-CD close look at Breau in peak form, circa 1979. It contains four new bonus tracks and presents a comprehensive picture of his influences and virtuosity.
Mud on the Tires is the third studio album by American country music artist Brad Paisley. Released in 2003 on Arista Nashville, it produced four hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts: the Top Five hits "Celebrity", "Little Moments" and "Whiskey Lullaby", as well as the Number One title track. The album itself has been certified 2× Platinum, while "Whiskey Lullaby" and the title-track have been certified as gold singles.
In the latter half of the '90s, Phil Collins' career hit a bit of a sales slump, and instead of shamelessly chasing after another number one single, he decided to change pace and try something different. Returning to the drums, he assembled the Phil Collins Big Band, reviving the sound of such idols as Buddy Rich and Sonny Payne, but largely sticking with his original material. After a brief European tour in 1996 (which happened to feature Quincy Jones as conductor and Tony Bennett as vocalist), he created a new version of the band featuring several accomplished jazz and studio musicians in support – notably alto saxophonist Gerald Albright, but also guitarist Daryl Stuermer, tenor saxophonist James Carter, and pianists George Duke and Brad Cole, among many others, in varying roles.
Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album is not only his best record to date, it is one of the most searching, most inventive solo piano albums since Keith Jarrett's best solo concerts of the 1970s, and it throws virtually the whole Maybeck series into a cocked hat, too. For one thing, it is a truly unified cycle of mostly improvised reminiscences, starting from a Chopin prelude-like base on "Bard," peaking dynamically with "Trailer Park Ghost," and cycling right back to the "Bard" theme seamlessly, inevitably, at the close.