McCoy Tyner – “Solo; Live from San Fransicsco”Half Note Records-out today4.5 / 5 With a legendary career like pianist McCoy Tyner’s, there is always the nagging comparison between his latest release and his classic ’60s and ’70s albums. To clarify: yes, he is in his 70s, and yes, this album may not be as classic as “The Real McCoy.” But is it worthwhile? Yes. Here’s why: even in his advanced years, and even with a slightly lacking a bit of touch on his fingers, the solo work here is marvelous, deep, complex, intimate. It is as easy for a person inexperienced in jazz to getRead More →

Robert Glasper – “Double Booked”Blue Note Records– due out Aug 254 / 5 His third album on Blue Note Records has Glasper doubling his band; the first segment is his acoustic jazz trio, followed by his more electric and hip-hop group the Robert Glasper Experiment. Of the first six tracks, there is little wasted space, as the loping, upbeat strides of “I’m Country (And That’s Okay)” and the dense and melodic treatment of Monk’s “Think of One” proves themselves the highlights of the first half. A couple of phone calls segues Glasper for the second half, which, while not quite as exciting as the first,Read More →

The Duke and the King – “Nothing Gold Can Stay”Ramseur Records-due out July 4th4.5 / 5 The opener to this debut album is nothing short of magnificent, calm, composed, and serenely honest. The duo, Simone Felice and Robert Burke, take their stage name from two of Mark Twain’s rapscallions, but here is no trickery or deception; just simple, bare songs. Felice’s vocals are soothing and understated: on “The Morning I Get to Hell,” he demonstrates a soft-spoken passion and wonder, questioning “Where is all my fire,/ My missionary zeal?” “Lose My Self” and “Summer Morning Rain” are both winners as well, with the former’s dreamyRead More →

Portugal. The Man – The Satanic SatanistEqual Vision Records-due July 214.5 / 5 Portugal. The Man. Despite the bizarre name and punctuation, and the strange Zombies-era Cream-inspired psychedelic cover, it’s fair to say this album is good. I’ve never heard this much falsetto since I bought an Earth Wind and Fire greatest hits, but still it comes off groovy and with a bit of funk to it; the songs are inspired a bit by the era portrayed here, but this is solid modern rock with a great pop slant. These songs are very listenable, with great lyrics and choruses (“We may make it through theRead More →