To buy any of these titles e-mail András Goldinger or call the store: (202) 364-1919

Music News 2/9/2011




Kurt Elling, THE GATE (Concord, $17.98) – Kurt Elling is one of the premier jazz singers on the scene today; he chooses material wisely, can write new lyrics to tunes, and often sets poetry to music. His new album focuses on covers of songs associated with Joe Jackson (“Steppin’ Out”), Stevie Wonder (“Golden Lady”), the Beatles (“Norwegian Wood”), Miles Davis (“Blue in Green”), among others.

Frank Sinatra, BEST OF VEGAS (Concord, $17.98) – Frank Sinatra debuted at the Desert Inn in September, 1951, and over the years became the entertainer most associated with Las Vegas. Best of Vegas collects some of his most inspired live performances from 1961 to 1987, in venues like the Sands, the Golden Nugget, and Caesar’s Palace.

Natalie Dessay, HANDEL: CLEOPATRA (Virgin Classics, $16.98) – Metropolitan Opera star Natalie Dessay sings arias from Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, accompanied by Le Concert d’Astrée, led by Emmanuelle Haïm.



We have a couple of Valentine’s Day displays in the store; one features literary and musical duets. Here are two CDs—one new, one old—that reflect the best of the genre.

Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal, CHAMBER MUSIC (Six Degrees Music, $16.98) – In 1999, kora player Ballaké Sissoko played on a wonderful duet album with fellow kora player Toumani Diabate called New Ancient Strings. His new collaboration is with French cellist Vincent Segal, and the sonic combination is a delight, mixing traditional Malian tunes, and originals with plenty of improvisation.



Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, RAISING SAND (Rounder, $17.98), 2007
Producer T Bone Burnett’s inspired pairing of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss has led to a masterpiece. In Raising Sand, Plant and Krauss create new paths into American roots music, with surprising soul and passionate vocals. Duets and solos by each singer bring out the drama of each tune; Robert Plant may have mellowed since Led Zeppelin, but his vocals still convey a reined-in power. Alison Krauss's pure soprano reaches the heartache within these folk-inspired tunes. Ballads like “Please Read the Letter” follow rock-inspired numbers like “Nothin’,” whose heavy guitar is explosively wedded to Krauss’s raw fiddle-playing. In songs by the Everly Brothers, Doc Watson, and Tom Waits, Plant and Krauss stunningly travel the blues and country roads to make a memorable album which gets better every time you hear it. • reviewed by Lacey Dunham

András Goldinger