John Coltrane, A LOVE SUPREME: Live in Seattle (Impulse, $14.98) – The historical find of the year. Recorded at the Penthouse on October 2, 1965, this is only the second live version of the iconic A Love Supreme, and the only one with Coltrane’s expanded lineup.
Here, Coltrane’s classic Quartet—pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones [McCoy and Elvin left the band shortly after]—were joined by a new generation of players: Pharoah Sanders on tenor, Carlos Ward on alto, and Donald “Rafael” Garrett on the second bass. The joined forces continue the stirring interplay of the quartet, now expanded and venturing into the cosmic “fire music” which Coltrane would play the last two years of his life.
The tapes were recorded by Seattle musician Joe Brazil, and another Seattle musician, Steve Griggs, found them recently.
The four-part Love Supreme—“Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm”—reach new, rapturous heights on this recording.
Note: We have a couple of copies of the vinyl version as well ($36.98).
Emily D’Angelo, ENARGEIA (Deutsche Grammophon, $14.98) – The mezzo-soprano’s debut album features works by women spanning almost a millennium. From Hildegard von Bingen to new songs by Hildur Gudnadóttir, Sara Kirkland Snider and Missy Mazzoli (both of whom also arranged the Hildegard songs). As Ms. D’Angelo states, “ the pieces are bound togetherby the ancient Greek concept of enargeia, ‘the quality of extreme vividness, radiance or presentness,’ whose spirit is found throughout the music of each composer and the texts…”
Beatles, LET IT BE: Special Edition (Capitol, 2 CDs, $25.98) – Director Peter Jackson has sifted through the footage of the 1970 film, Let It Be, and made his own, 6-hour documentary, giving more context (and the complete live rooftop concert). It will be shown over three nights beginning on Thanksgiving weekend on Disney+. The Let It Be album which resulted, with some new and older materials added, and later (over)produced by Phil Spector, was a mixed bag. Now, producer Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer, George Martin), has remixed the original, with a bonus disc of outtakes, demos, and live material.
After the Let It Be sessions, the Beatles went right back in the studio with George Martin, and started work on Abbey Road.
Pat Metheny, SIDE-EYE NYC (VI.IV) (MR4, $16.98) – Side-Eye is a new revolving trio project for Pat Metheny featuring a new generation of players. The first volume features James Francies on keyboards and Marcus Gilmore, drums.
Billy Strings, RENEWAL (Rounder, $15.98) – Billy Strings is an acoustic guitar wizard (he’s on Béla Fleck’s new My Bluegrass Heart album), whose skills and solo work have expanded his audience into the jam-band realm. He’s writing new, reflective songs as well, as heard on his just-released album.
Pasquale Grasso, SOLO MASTERPIECES (Sony, $14.98)
& PASQUALE PLAYS DUKE (Sony, $14.98) – Grasso is a young Italian guitarist exploring the classic jazz repertoire—I first heard him accompany singer Samara Joy in her debut album.
Solo Masterpieces explores tunes associated with Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk.
Plays Duke is a trio album exploring more Ellingtoniana, with vocal appearances (on one tune each) by Sheila Jordan and Samara Joy.
Sean Mencher, PLAYS GUITAR (Swelltune, $15.00) – Sean Mencher is DC-born and raised (shout-out to the Wilson Tigers), now living in Maine. He’s a wiz on the electric guitar, but on his latest, he plays a classic acoustic, a Martin 00-18V. He plays solo renditions of tunes associated with some of his heroes—Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Scotty Moore, and Don Rich—as well as sprinkling in some originals and American Standards as well. “Mystery Train,” “Saturday Night Shuffle,” “Buckaroo,” “Mister Sandman,” and “Walking the Strings” all get lively, thumb-and-fingerpicking workouts.