Music News 4/4/24



Khruangbin, A LA SALA (Dead Oceans, $15.98) – Khruangbin are a Houston trio (guitarist Mark Speer, bassist Laura Lee, drummer DJ Johnson) who have created an instantly identifiable sound—mostly instrumentals that are laid back, spacey, and full of deep grooves. In previous years, they’ve collaborated on projects with Vieux Farka Touré and Leon Bridges, but on A La Sala, it’s back to their chill vibes!


Vampire Weekend, ONLY GOD WAS ABOVE US (Columbia, $15.98) – Ezra Koenig and Vampire Weekend are back with their trademark witty lyrics and catchy melodies spiked with global touches. On one tune, “Mary Boone,” the band (formed at Columbia University) pays tribute to the famous gallery owner.


Black Keys, OHIO PLAYERS (Nonesuch, $16.98) – Guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney (along with friends such as Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, Beck, and Noel Gallagher) are back for a fun ride.






Fay Victor & Herbie Nichols SUNG, LIFE IS FUNNY THAT WAY (Tao Forms, 2 CDs, $20.98) – Billie Holiday wrote lyrics to the song “Serenade” by pianist and composer Herbie Nichols (1919 – 1963); it became one of her signature songs, “Lady Sings the Blues.”

Now vocalist Fay Victor has written her own lyrics to more songs by Mr. Nichols, and created a band to play them, called

Herbie Nichols SUNG. It features Michaël Attias (alto & baritone sax), Anthony Coleman (piano), Ratzo Harris (bass), and Tom Rainey (drums). The tunes by Herbie Nichols are mostly from Blue Note sessions of 1955-56, plus three compositions not recorded in his lifetime.




Melissa Aldana, ECHOES OF THE INNER PROPHET (Blue Note, $13.98) – Saxophonist Melissa Aldana returns with her quintet, including Lage Lund, guitar and effects; Fabian Almazan, piano; Pablo Menares, bass; and Kush Abadey, drums. The title track is a tribute to Wayne Shorter, and the whole album shows the influence of the late saxophonist and composer. As Ms. Aldana writes, she relates to Shorter’s “use of space, the storytelling, how you communicate, how you paint. When I think about Wayne, I think about colors.”





Will Liverman, SHOW ME THE WAY (Cedille, 2 CDs, $19.99) – Baritone Will Liverman and pianist Jonathan King present a wide-ranging recital honoring women composers. There are songs by trailblazers Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, and Amy Beach, and world premiere recordings of contemporary works by Jasmine Barnes, Rene Orth, Kamala Sankaram, Libby Larsen, and Sarah Kirkland Snider. There are guest appearances by mezzo J’Nai Bridges, soprano Nicole Cabell, and soprano Renée Fleming. The double album ends with gospel singer Terry Liverman, accompanied by her son, Will, on piano, on the hymn, “If I Can Help Somebody.”


New on the Alpha label


Andreas Staier, MÉDITATION (Alpha, $21.99) – Harpsichord virtuoso Andreas Staier records his own composition for the first time, juxtaposed with works by late 17th/early 18th composers. Compositions by J.C.F. Fischer, J.J. Fux, Louis Couperin, J.J. Froberger, and J.S. Bach surround Staier’s own Anklänge: Six Pieces for Harpsichord.


Behzod Abduraimov, SHADOWS OF MY ANCESTORS (Alpha, $21.99) – Prokofiev’s 10 Pieces from Romeo and Juliet and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit bookend The Wall of Ancient Bukhara by the Uzbek composer Dilorom Saidaminova. Ms. Saidaminova regards this sonic tour of Bukhara as an homage to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Expedition.