Music News 11/23/21

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Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, GEORGIA BLUE (Southeastern, $12.98) – Jason Isbell decided to record an album of Georgia-related songs when the state went blue in the 2020 elections. It’s a thank-you to voters, and a way to raise money to Georgia-based voter organizations. Isbell and his band (plus guests) do covers of songs associated with Otis Redding, Cat Power, Indigo Girls, the Allman Brothers, R.E.M., Gladys Knight, Vic Chesnutt, James, Brown, Precious Bryant, the Black Crowes, and more. Guests include Brandi Carlile, Julien Baker, Brittany Spencer, Chris Thile, Béla Fleck, and John Paul White. 

NOTE: Donations from the album will go to Black Voter Matter, Georgia Stand-Up, and Fair Fight. 

The Chieftains, CHRONICLES: 60 YEARS OF THE CHIEFTAINS (Claddagh, 2 CDs, $29.98) – With the passing last month of Paddy Moloney, the Chieftains co-founder and uilleann pipes and tin-whistle master, it is a poignant time to reflect on the legacy of his transformational group. Chronicles collects material from the Chieftains’s entire career on 40 tracks, including 4 previously unreleased BBC live tracks, 19 tracks from their first record company, Claddagh, and wonderful duets with the likes of Alison Krauss, Diana Krall, Sinéad O’Connnor, and the Rolling Stones. 



Lea Desandre, AMAZONE (Erato, $18.98) – This is  the young French-Italian mezzo-soprano’s first recital album.  Ms. Desandre is a graduate of William Christie’s Le Jardin des Voix academy, and also studied under the great Sandrine Piau. She has put together a fantastic recital supported by lutenist Thomas Dunford and his ensemble, Jupiter (and special duet partners Veronique Gens and Cecilia Bartoli on two songs). 

Mark Seow in Gramophone called Amazone a “a journey of delight, dance, mystery, strength and doomed love” and a “stunningly researched and historically rich programme.” 

Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, MUSE (Decca, $14.98) – Brother and sister (cello and piano) Sheku and Isata play Barber and Rachmaninov Sonatas, as well as transcriptions of songs by both composers. 

Alexandre Tharaud, SCHUBERT (Erato, $18.98) – The pianist plays Impromptus D 899, and Moments Musicaux D 780.



Irreversible Entanglements, OPEN THE GATES (International Anthem, $15.99) – Irreversible Entanglements are a “liberation-oriented free jazz collective” formed in 2015 by saxophonist Keir Neuringer, poet Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother) and bassist Luke Stewart, who came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event. The group now includes trumpeter Aquilles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes. On their third album, their “agit-jazz” gets even more powerful. 

Makaya McCraven, DECIPHERING THE MESSAGE (Blue Note, $13.98) – Drummer/arranger Makaya McCraven “re-composes” some classic tracks (as well as deep cuts) from the Blue Note catalog. Samples are layered into of new compositions, played by an ensemble including Jeff Parker guitar, Joel Ross, vibes, Marquis Hill, trumpet, Greg Ward, saxophone, and Junius Paul, bass. There are elements from Art BlakeyBobby HutchersonClifford BrownHank Mobley, Kenny Dorham, Jack Wilson, Dexter Gordon, Eddie Gale, and Kenny Burrell. 

Lloyd McNeil, TORI (Soul Jazz, Limited Edition, $23.98) – In July, 1978, DC and New York flutist Lloyd McNeil gathered some of the finest American and Brazilian musicians to record Tori. The ensemble included Dom Salvador, piano, Buster Williams, bass, Victor Lewis, drums, Howard Johnson, tuba, John La Barbera and Amaury Tristão, guitars, and Dom Um Romão and Naná Vasconcelos, percussion.