Music News 1/23/2019



Leyla McCalla, THE CAPITALIST BLUES (Jazz Village, $12.98) – Leyla McCalla once played cello and banjo in the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She’s now relocated to New Orleans, and is writing original songs, and bringing songs from the the Haitian and other Afro-Caribbean diaspora, along with some Cajun and classic New Orleans flavors as well. Highlights include “Capitalist Blues” (with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band), “Heavy as Lead,” “Money is King” (by Growling Tiger), and “Settle Down” (with members of the Haitian band, Lakou Mizik).

Highly recommended.

NOTE: On February 22, Ms. McCalla will also be part of another exciting release, Songs of Our Native Daughters (Smithsonian Folkways). Our Native Daughters is a quartet with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythist Kiah, Allison Russell, and Ms. McCalla. 

Eric Dolphy, MUSICAL PROPHET: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance, 3 CDs, $29.98) – Eric Dolphy’s playing was instantly recognizable on three instruments: alto sax, flute, and (especially) the bass clarinet, and his influence is powerful still. Musical Prophet contains over 85 minutes of previously unreleased material from the sessions for the albums later titled Conversations and Iron Man, recorded in New York City on July 1 and 3, 1963. (He died suddenly less than a year later.) Those sessions included iconic versions of songs like “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Alone Together,” and a solo bass clarinet version of “Come Sunday.”

The 3-CD set comes with a 100-page book with rare photos by Chuck Stewart, Jean-Pierre Leloir, Val Wilmer and others; essays by jazz scholar Robin D.G. Kelley, Douglas label manager Michael Lemesre, Japanese Dolphy scholar Masakazu Sato, and co-producers Zev Feldman and James Newton (flutist, composer, and educator who inherited the tapes).

There are also interviews with Sonny Simmons, Richard Davis (both of whom played on the sessions), Sonny Rollins (on meeting Dolphy), plus Henry Threadgill, Nicole Mitchell, Steve Coleman, David Murray, Bill Laswell, Oliver Lake, Han Bennink, Joe Chambers, Dave Liebman, and Marty Ehrlich.

THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL: Music from Season 1 (Hip-O, $14.98) – The best thing about Amy Sherman-Palladino’s The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, apart from Rachel Brosnahan’s title portrayal, is the very creative use of period pop and Broadway tunes. This collection from Season 1includes such great artists as Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Connie Francis, Nat King Cole, the Mills Brothers, and Barbra Streisand. There are other gems: Cyril Richard, Maurice Evans and Robert Preston pop up from musicals, Sutton Foster does a new version of “I Enjoy Being a Girl” with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and Frank Sinatra ends things with “Oh! Look at Me Now.” (A Season 2 compilation will appear in late March.)

Lula Wiles, WHAT WILL WE DO (Smithsonian Folkways, $16.98) – Lula Wiles is a trio of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland and Mali Obomsawin, who “share in common their backgrounds in both fiddle camps and the elite conservatory setting of Berklee College of Music” (to quote NPR’s Jewly Height). They play and do 3-part harmony like pros (and even cover “The Pain of Loving You” by the Trio of Emmylou, Dolly and Linda). But they write originals, too, like “Morphine,” “Hometown,” and “Good Old American Values.”