Music News 2/27/2020


James Taylor, AMERICAN STANDARD (Fantasy, $14.98) – Many stars from the ’60s have tried to sing the Great American Songbook, but James Taylor comes to the project naturally, and with ease. He first heard these tunes growing up (mostly on Broadway original cast albums and soundtracks), and he worked out his harmonically sophisticated approach to guitar by working on those songs. The tunes on American Standard are grounded in guitar arrangements by Taylor and guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli. There are great versions of “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” “Pennies from Heaven,” “The Surrey With the Fringe On Top,” “The Nearness of You,” and “Moon River.”

Charles Lloyd, 8: KINDRED SPIRITS: Live from the Lobero (Blue Note, CD & DVD, $24.98) – Celebrating his 80th birthday, in Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater in March, 2018, saxophonist/flutist Charles Lloyd assembled a new edition of his band. Kindred Spirits includes Gerald Clayton on piano, Julian Lage on guitar, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Also on the gig was special guest, Booker T. Jones. Among the songs are Lloyd classics like “Dream Weaver” and “La Lorona.”

NOTE: Charles Lloyd and the Marvels (with guest Lucinda Williams) will play the Strathmore on Sunday, April 19.

The Secret Sisters, SATURN RETURN (New West, $13.99) – Laura and Lydia Rogers are the Secret Sisters, known for their fantastic harmony singing and songwriting. On their fourth album, they collaborated with Brandi Carlile and her bandmates, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, who produced the album, and play on it.

NOTE: The Secret Sisters will play the Birchmere on Sunday, March 29.

Sunny Jain, WILD WILD EAST (Smithsonian Folkways, $16.98) – Drummer Sunny Jain founded the group Red Baraat, which combines the “hard driving North Indian bhangra with elements of hip-hop, jazz and raw punk energy,” powered by Jain playing the dhol. On Wild Wild East, he goes further, combining Punjabi rhythms with sounds from film soundtracks and West Coast rap.

NOTE: Red Baraat will play the Hamilton on Friday, March 6.

Ibrahim Ferrer, BUENOS HERMANOS (Special Edition) (World Circuit, $15.98) – Ibrahim Ferrer’s voice was at the heart of the Buena Vista Social.  Ferrer (1927 – 2005) had a special voice, singing Cuban classics with grace and tenderness. Buenos Hermanos came out in 2003, and this is special re-issue, supervised by Ry Cooder, with four previously unheard tracks, and comes in casebook with a 32-page booklet.