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Pops Staples, Don’t Lose This (Anti, $15.98) – Pops Staples started the Staple Singers with his four children in the 1950s, and the group crossed the gospel, folk, and R&B lines to produce many hits and iconic songs, especially meaningful in the civil rights era. Pops’s vocals and signature tremolo electric guitar sounds drove the group, and Mavis Staples, the other lead vocalist, has carried on the family tradition with beautiful recent albums, the last two produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Pops Staples left behind a final recording from 2000, which was never finished before his death. Now Mavis Staples and Tweedy have completed this powerful project (with supporting vocals by Mavis and her sisters Cleotha and Yvonne). Highly recommended. Ms. Staples and Jeff Tweedy talked about the project on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.

Bettye LaVette, Worthy (Cherry Red Records, $16.98) – Ms LaVette is a soul legend, and has one of the greatest voices on the scene today. Joe Henry produced her comeback record of 2005, I’ve Got My Own Hell to Pay, choosing great songs for Ms. LaVette to sing. They team up again on Worthy, with more
NOTE: Bettye LaVette will perform at the Barns at Wolf Trap next Tuesday, February 24.
Steve Earle & the Dukes, Terraplane (New West Records, $15.98) – Steve Earle released one of the best albums of his career with 2013’s Low Highway. On his follow-up, Earle and his great band, the Dukes, immerse themselves in the blues—specifically the Texas blues that Earle grew up with. There are echoes of Freddie King, T Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and the title song’s allusion to Robert Johnson.


Sounds of Brass

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Eddie Henderson, Collective Portrait (Smoke Sessions, $17.98) – Trumpeter and flugelhorn player Eddie Henderson played with Art Blakey, in Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band in the early 1970s, and recorded his own fusion albums in that decade. He revisits some of his songs in a great acoustic setting, plus songs associated with his trumpet influences Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, and Woody Shaw. The quintet includes Gary Bartz, alto sax, George Cables on piano and Fender Rhodes, Doug Weiss, bass, and Carl Allen, drums. Mr. Henderson (also trained as a psychiatrist) talked about the album and his career on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Kenny Wheeler, Songs for Quintet (ECM Records, $18.98) – Flugelhorn player Kenny Wheeler passed away last September, and this is his last album. Wheeler, born in Canada, but based in Britain for many decades is joined by Stan Sulzmann, tenor sax, John Parricelli, guitar, Chris Laurence, bass and Martin France, drums.

Miles Davis Quintet featuring John Coltrane, All of You: The Last Tour 1960 (Acrobat Records, 4 CDs, $24.98) – Masterful live recordings from Miles’s European tour, with his second classic quintet featuring John Coltrane, tenor sax, Wynton Kelly, piano, Paul Chambers, bass, and Jimmy Cobb, drum. Listen to the quintet reach new heights, night after night, and witness Coltrane bursting forth in his astonishing solos.
New Orleans Brass Bands: Through the Streets of the City (Smithsonian Folkways, $14.98) – The “second line” brass band tradition of New Orleans has a history going back more than a century. This new Folkways set features three generations of second liners carrying on the tradition: the Liberty Brass Band, the Treme Brass Band, and the Hot 8 Brass Band. There is a 36-page booklet with notes by clarinetist, scholar (and member of Liberty) Dr. Michael White.

We now carry the DownBeat, the premiere jazz magazine—first started in Chicago in 1934.



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Three artists whose albums I really enjoyed are playing here next week (unfortunately on the same night):
The English chamber choir, Stile Antico, will perform music from their latest album, From the Imperial Court: Music for the House of Hapsburg (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98), at the Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes, at 12th and Massachusetts, NW, on Wednesday, February 25.

Singers Kat Edmonson (The Big Picture [Sony Masterworks, $12.98]), with Robert Ellis (Lights from the Chemical Plant [New West Records, $14.98]) opening, will be at the Barns at Wolf Trap, also on February 25.