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Music News 09/24/2014


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John Coltrane, Offering: Live at Temple University (Resonance Records, 2 CDs, $26.98) – Late period John Coltrane (in his group including second saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, pianist Alice Coltrane, and drummer Rashied Ali) is intense and powerful. The concert at Mitten Hall at Temple University on November 11, 1966, is legendary for Coltrane vocalizing short horn lines in addition to playing tenor, soprano, and flute.  Long bootlegged with inferior sound, Offering lets us hear the beauty (Coltrane playing “Naima” and “Offering”) and the wails and shouts (on “Crescent” and “Leo”) in all their glory from the original master tapes, with the saxophones sonically out front. Coltrane opened up the stage that night to Philadelphia musicians as well: five conga drummers and two alto saxophonists are also heard. There are in-depth notes by author Ashley Kahn, with insightful quotes from Coltane’s son, Ravi, and from some of those on stage and in the audience that night, including musicians Robin Kenyatta, Carl Grubbs and Michael Brecker, and future jazz writer Francis Davis. John Coltrane died eight months after this concert, at age 40, but his powerful music lives on.

Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems (Columbia, $12.98) – Leonard Cohen just turned 80, and is still going strong. His wry, laconic, aphoristic couplets are still dispensed in his low baritone song-speech. The background women’s chorus is still singing and echoing his lines, and producer Patrick Leonard brings in a variety of subtle arrangements. Listen to the sage voice of Mr. Cohen intone his poetic lines again.

Tweedy, Sukierae (Anti, 2 CDs, $18.98) – Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his 18-year old son Spencer (on drums) have teamed up for a wonderful album of 20 new songs.

The album has guests on bass, guitars, but father and son recorded an NPR Tiny Desk Concert as a duo.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek (Interscope, $13.98) – It’s obvious from listening, that Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga had fun doing the standards on Cheek to Cheek. Hear them on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.


Ticket Raffles for Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté and Peter Matthew Bauer

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Warner Music is giving Politics and Prose members a chance to win a pair of tickets to a pair of shows:

On Friday, Oct. 3, at Rosslyn’s Artisphere, kora master Toumani Diabaté and his son, Sidiki, will play duets, as heard on their recent album, Toumani & Sidiki (Nonesuch, $16.98).

The following evening, Saturday, October 4, Peter Matthew Bauer (of the recently disbanded Walkmen) will be at the 930 Club, opening for Delta Spirit. His first solo album, Liberation! (Mexican Summer, $9.98) starts with the autobiographical “I Was Born in an Ashram,” and explores themes of liberation in its many guises.

To enter, email with either DIABATE or BAUER in the subject field.