Music News 12/2/2020


Sonny Rollins, ROLLINS IN HOLLAND (Resonance, 2 CDs, $25.98) – Never-before-released recordings from 1967 by the Saxophone Colossus himself, Sonny Rollins. There are both studio and live recordings, recorded over three days in May, all featuring a trio setting with Ruud Jacobs on bass and Han Bennink on drums. Recorded in Hilversum, Loosdrecht, and Arnhem, there are splendid features on “Love Walked In,” “Four,” “Three Little Words,” and  signature Rollins medleys like “They Can’t Take That Away From Me/Sonnymoon for Two,” and “On Green Dolphin Street/There Will Never Be Another You.”  Enjoy Newk in his prime. 

As the case with historic Resonance releases, there is a detailed, 100-page booklet, with previously unpublished photos from the gigs, essays, and a new interview with Mr. Rollins, who turned 90 this September. 

Kevin Whitehead reviewed this set on NPR’s Fresh Air

Bill Evans, LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT’S (Resonance, 2 CDs, $25.98) – This is the third collection of unreleased material from the Evans Trio featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette. These are taken from recordings made by Mr. DeJohnette himself, and feature performances at Ronnie Scott’s London club in July, 1968. Classic tunes like “Yesterdays,” “Turn Out the Stars,” “Emily,” “Very Early,” and “Nardis” are among the delights. 

The package includes an essay by Brian Priestley, interviews with Chick Corea, Mr. Gomez and Mr. DeJohnette, and a cover by the iconic illustrator David Stone Martin.   


Cunieform is a local label out of Silver Spring which has released adventurous music for many years (an earlier highlight from this year is The Anthony Braxton Project by Mary Halvorson’s co-operative trio, Thumbscrew).  

Two new Cunieform releases: 

Anthony Pirog, POCKET POEM (Cunieform, $16.98) – Anthony Pirog is a DC musician—and a member of the duo, Janelle and Anthony, the trio, Messthetics, and the Spellcasters, the Telecasters-heavy band paying tribute to Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan, among many other projects. On Pocket Poem, he plays both electric and acoustic guitars in evocative pieces with Michael Formanek on bass, and Ches Smith on drums. 

A LOVE SUPREME ELECTRIC (Cunieform, 2 CDs, $23.98) – A new approach to Coltrane music. Electric guitarist Henry Kaiser asked the question: “What if A Love Supreme and Meditations are two parts of one single expression of an ecstatic spiritual state?” Then he assembled a quintet to play these powerful suites: Vinnie Golia on tenor, soprano and baritone saxes; Wayne Peet on Hammond B3 organ; Mike Watt on bass; and John Hanrahan on drums.  


Dezron Douglas and Brandee Younger, FORCE MAJEURE: Brunch in the Crib with Brandee & Dezron (International Anthem, $13.99) – Recorded during Covid lockdown, jazz bassist Dezron Douglas and harpist Brandee Younger play intimate versions of songs associated with or written by John and Alice Coltrane, Kate Bush, the Stylistics, the Carpenters, and Pharoah Sanders/Leon Thomas (“The Creator Has a Master Plan”). 

Suzzy Roche & Lucy Wainwright Roche, I CAN STILL HEAR YOU (Storysound, $10.99) –Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, recorded their vocals during “the darkest days of the shutdown in NYC,” then completed by their producer/multi-instrumentalist Jordan Hamlin in Nashville. There are originals by both mother and daughter, as well as the traditional Irish “Factory Girl,” and the new classic, “(It’s Not Easy) Bein’ Green.” 


Lawrence Brownlee & Michael Spyres, AMICI E RIVALI: ROSSINI (Erato, $18.98) – Two lyric tenors singing arias from Rossini 

Kathleen Edwards, TOTAL FREEDOM (Dualtone, $14.98) – Her first album in eight years, Ms. Edwards (now also running her Quitters Coffee in suburban Ottowa) returns with fine new songs.