Sit back with a cup of Joe and some free time and let these discs chase off the sluggishness, the chill and the long gray days of winter. They’ve gotten me through so far…. Funny thing is, eclectic is the best formula but then, it almost always is.
Ray Barretto: Acid 1968
Hot salsa from a conguero with hands, baby. The percussion, the horns, the bass, it’s all ebullient jazz that cooks. What Santana heard before he became Santana…
Frank Ocean: Nostalgia 2011
He muses, he beats, he quotes and one-ups Coldplay. It’s one funky, hip, cool trip and a testament to the enduring lure and allure of classic R&B writ now.
Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven 2011
He’s been burning the folk/alt.country candle since The Blasters. Here he states his case for greatness. Awesome storyteller. Dig the one about the wandering Gold Gloves champ.
Gary Clark Jr.: Bright Lights 2011
All hail the new guitar killer. It’s a four song EP but there’s enough to have you lining up for the full meal deal when it comes. Smolders. Burns. Aches. It’s blue. Kneel at the altar.
Chris Isaak: Beyond the Sun 2011
Dang if old smoothy doesn’t conjure Elvis, Roy, Johnny and the Sun Records gang so well that you think you been shipped to Memphis circa 1956.
John Coltrane: Blue Trane 1957
Three horns over a classic performance from the drummer that redoes what you think you know as a standard tells you that ears are meant for learnin’ son. Classic jazz. You need it.