Music News 12/8/21

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Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, FIRST FLIGHT TO TOKYO: The Lost 1961 Recordings (Blue Note, 2 CDs, $25.98) – A classic line-up of the Messengers: Lee Morgan, trumpet; Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone; Bobby Timmons, piano; Jymie Merritt, bass; and, of course, the bandleader on drums. Captured live on January 14, 1961, at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo, the set includes iconic tunes like “Moanin’,” “Blues March,” “Now’s the Time,” “Dat Dere,” and “’Round About Midnight,” among others. 


John Zorn, NEW MASADA QUARTET (Tzadik, $19.98) – Composer, alto saxophonist, and bandleader John Zorn’s quartet, Masada, released its first album in 1994 on the Japanese DIW label, then later on his own label, Tzadik. The original group featured Zorn on alto, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Greg Cohen on bass, and Joey Barron on drums, playing all Zorn compositions from his “Masada Songbook.” This first group was together for around 15 years, and there have been other iterations through the years, like Electric Masada. New Masada Quartet features Zorn, Julian Lage on electric guitar, Jorge Roeder on bass, and Kenny Wollesen on drums.  


Gregory Porter, STILL RISING (Blue Note, 2 CDs, $25.98) – Still Rising comprises, on Disc 1, four brand-new tracks, two new arrangements, three new covers, and nine of Mr. Porter’s favorite performances on the Blue Note label. Disc two gathers his many duets, with, among others, Renée Fleming, Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, Laura Mvula, Lizz Wright, Jeff Goldblum, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble with Lisa Fischer. 


Tip-Top (Jarvis Cocker), CHANSONS D’ENNUI (ABKCO, $16.98) – In Wes Anderson’s new movie, The French Dispatch, Jarvis Cocker (singing the role of a French pop singer named Tip-Top) does a fine cover version of Christophe’s 1965 hit, “Aline.” But Cocker didn’t stop there: he and his friends have made a whole covers album of ’60s French pop. Beside Christophe, the original artists include François Hardy, Dalida, Serge Gainsbourg, Marie Lafôret, Brigitte Bardot, and Max Berlin. Enjoy a new take on yé-yé!  


Also available is THE PARIS DISPATCH: Original Soundtrack (ABKCO, $19.98) with music by the film’s composer, Alexander Desplat, along with cuts by Grace Jones, Gus Viseur, Ennio Morricone, Chantal Goya, George Delerue, and the Swingle Singers doing Bach.   



Cellist Steven Isserlis has a new book out, THE BACH CELLO SUITES: A Companion (Faber & Faber, $17.95), intended, as he writes, “for music-lovers of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the casual listener to the performing musician. For Mr. Isserlis, whose recording of the Suites won Gramophone’s Best Instrumental Award in 2007, each of the suites has its own “sound world and emotional world.”  passes along insights galore, along with a short biography, FAQ’s, the history of dance suites, “rules for players,” and a movement-by-movement analysis. There is also the intriguing chapter, “Could There Perhaps Be a Story…Behind the Suites?” 


NOTE: Mr. Isserlis has issued two superb recordings this year:  

MUSIC FROM PROUST’S SALONS and BRITISH SOLO CELLO MUSIC (both on the Hyperion label, $19.98).