In 1993, her self-released debut caught the ear of industry veteran Tommy LiPuma, a veteran producer who made Barbra Streisand a chart success beginning in the Seventies and turned George Benson into Top 10 hit, cementing the connection between Soul music and Jazz. LiPuma was Krall's main collaborator, producing her albums until 2009. Every step Krall took, LiPuma was there to steer the ship, whether it was standards or bossa nova. LiPuma passed away in 2017. Krall revived these sessions she did with him from 2016-2017 where she showcases her excellent vocals and piano on tracks that swing ("I Wished on The Moon"). "Dream" is poignant, and Krall at her most intimate in years.
This Dream of You [LP/CD]
In the past two years, Grammy winner Alicia Keys has actually made a larger splash at hosting and presenting than musically. "ALICIA" is a return to the ease of her earlier albums (or what you see when she skillfully hosts the Grammys). She describes these 15 tracks as "the best therapy she has ever had." When she intones "I'm living the way that I want" over the streams of silky guitar on "So Done," you just know she won't be absent from the charts much longer.
Palo Alto [LP/CD]
This never-before-heard 1968 performance at a high school in Palo Alto is real surprise from a period where Monk was not as prolific as before. While with Columbia Records in the Sixties, Monk had his biggest commercial success ("Monk's Dream" in 1963) and one of his late-period classics ("Underground" in 1968). Monk received a letter from student Danny Scher to play at his school. This concert features the "Underground" band with drummer Ben Riley, bassist Larry Gales and Monk's greatest foil saxophonist, Charlie Rouse. The band rolls through six crowd-pleasers where you can hear the quartet win over the students who attended and just how well Monk and his band drew their energy from them.
Throes on Joy in The Jaws of
While their name and their genre Grindcore may scare you – let's be honest, that is what it is supposed to do. Like "too-real" Horror films and true crime Documentaries that make you check your doors, Napalm Death is out to raise the hair on the back of your neck. When Metal bands in the Eighties were pushing the envelope and speeding up their songs to Punk tempos (Thrash Metal like Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica), Napalm Death took that tachometer into the red with massive double-kick blastbeats, micro-length songs (1987's "You Suffer" clocks in at 0:04 and landed them on the BBC) and a gut-rattling, growl from the deep that now strangely graces every song on Rock radio. The exodus of members did not matter as they all went on to form bands that still give the subgenres of Metal their icons (Cathedral, Godflesh, Carcass).
Fast forward to today. Metal bands of all genres roam the earth, and there are subgenres that will take form by the time you finish this paragraph. In 2020, what can the mighty Napalm Death do to up the ante once again? Their 16th album finds the band whittled down to just a trio. However, they make some hellacious noise here. Politics is skewered, fear and paranoia are induced, and sound barriers are shattered. "Backlash Just Because" recalls their Nineties heyday with Punk verses, blastbeat breaks and a spiraling guitar part that is just haunting. "Amoral" sounds like menacing Post-Punk, while the frightening sea shanty "A Bellyful Full of Salt and Spleen" feels like if Mr. Bungle was allowed to score Robert Eggers' "The Lighthouse."
While "Jaws" has regular song lengths, Napalm Death has learned to spread their fury for over three minutes. And again, we are led to that question "You suffer … but why?" Frankly, because when it is over, and you survived this aural equivalent of a roller coaster taking you through 30 hairpin turns before plunging you into the deep black lake that waits at the end … you open your eyes, dry yourself off and get ready to do it again.
Mik Davis is the record store manager at T-Bones Records & Café in Hattiesburg.