Finally, a Zappa album that's safe for the whole family! Frank Zappa's pair of 1972 releases, Waka/Jawaka and The Grand Wazoo, stand as two of the most impressive and unusual in his sprawling catalogue. Forced to abandon live performing as a result of a crazed "fan" charging the stage and heaving him into an orchestra pit, the composer-bandleader spent nearly a year recovering from injuries to his face, head, ribs, arm, and leg. A wheelchair and a leg brace couldn't stop Zappa's prodigious
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Joni Mitchell, "The Asylum Albums (1972-1975)"
2022 has been Joni Mitchell's year. Following a triumphant surprise appearance in July at the Newport Folk Festival, the singer-songwriter announced a return to the stage for a full-length Joni Jam in June 2023 at Washington's Gorge Amphitheatre; tickets were quickly snapped up by ardent fans who had waited roughly two decades to see Mitchell in concert once again. More recently, she attended her first-ever Broadway musical, Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt's Almost Famous - and made her Broadway
The Magic Islands: Aloha Got Soul, Vinyl Me, Please Celebrate Exotica Pioneer Arthur Lyman's "Island Vibes"
Even today, the name of Arthur Lyman is synonymous with exotica. The late vibraphonist and marimba player (1932-2002), born in Oahu, recorded dozens of albums bringing his tropical style to everything from Broadway to folk, jazz, and pop hits. Now, Hawaii's own Aloha Got Soul label has reissued Lyman's final studio album, 1980's Island Vibes, including in a limited, foil-stamped and numbered edition from the Vinyl Me, Please record club pressed on translucent purple with pink vinyl. Arthur
The Year In Review: The 2020 Gold Bonus Disc Awards, From A to Z
Happy 2021 and welcome to The Second Disc's 11th Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards! The past year has presented any number of unprecedented challenges. But music has filled a more important role than ever, providing solace, comfort, and escape in a time unlike any other. With that spirit in mind, The Second Disc once again wishes to recognize 2020's cream of the catalogue music crop - those exemplary reissues and box sets big and small that proved to be truly outstanding for music lovers
Holiday Gift Guide: Vinyl Me, Please - A Year in Review
Over the past few months you've probably heard us mention Vinyl Me Please. The subscription-based record club frequently partners with the major labels to create exclusive pressings from across genres. They also curate Records of the Month for subscribers - available in three tracks: Classics, Essentials, and Hip Hop - specially selected by their staff to spotlight albums of importance in pop, rock, soul, world music, jazz, and beyond. This year, the offerings ran the gamut from The Stooges,
It Must Be Love: New Box Set Celebrates Labi Siffre's Solo Work
Back in 2015, Demon Music Group's Edsel label revisited five albums from British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre in a series of expanded editions. The reissues showcased the timelessness of his writing and the versatility of his performances. Now, Edsel has returned to the Siffre discography to complete it. My Song is the new 9-CD box set bringing together those five previously reissued albums and bonus tracks along with four more to paint a full portrait of Siffre's artistry. Despite a
Cherry Red, SoulMusic Release 'Anything You Want,' Three-Disc David Sanborn Salute
Whether you've heard his albums or not, chances are you've heard the music of David Sanborn. The alto saxophone great has played on classic records by Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Elton John, Billy Joel, James Taylor, David Bowie, and dozens of others. Now, Cherry Red's SoulMusic Records imprint has delivered a comprehensive survey of Sanborn's 20+ years for the Warner family of labels. Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years 1975-1996 draws on 17 of his albums as a leader and showcases
Review: Dr. John, "Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch" from The Last Music Company
What happens when you mix a bit of gris-gris with a touch of classic jazz? You get a party of an album such as Dr. John's Ske-Dat-Ske-Dat: The Spirit of Satch! The late Mac Rebennack, a.k.a. Dr. John, frequently drew on the classic sounds of New Orleans as he conjured his own musical voodoo. Most appropriately, his final studio album was a tribute to one of the most significant figures to ever emerge from the Crescent City. Louis Armstrong transformed the sounds of both jazz and popular music,
Review: Matt Monro, "Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions"
After years of exhaustively mining the late singer's catalogue for a series of definitive releases, the Matt Monro estate has turned up a new chest of buried treasure - and it's a collection that's both required listening for longtime fans and an ideal introduction for new ones. Stranger in Paradise: The Lost New York Sessions from Capitol Records/UMC takes listeners back to the Big Apple circa 1966 when the British singer joined with a quintet of jazz pros to record a different kind of album.
Review: Frank Zappa, "The Hot Rats Sessions"
What is jazz-rock? The label has been applied to the work of diverse artists such as Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Miles Davis, Steely Dan, and Santana (and that's just to name some of the most well-known exponents) not to mention an entire cadre of fusion artists like the groups Weather Report and Return to Forever. In the jazz-rock canon, the name of Frank Zappa certainly stands tall. The multi-faceted artist delivered one of the genre's earliest and most seminal albums with 1969's Hot
The Year in Review: The 2019 Gold Bonus Disc Awards, From A to Z
Happy 2020 and welcome to The Second Disc's 10th Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards! It's time once again to recognize this year's cream of the crop - those exemplary reissues and box sets big and small that proved to be truly outstanding products for music lovers worldwide. There was no shortage of great reissue titles in 2019; in fact, by our count, we covered over 700 releases in all! And after much deliberation, we're excited to unveil our favorites. This isn't your run-of-the-mill Top 10,
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Nat King Cole, "Hittin' the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943)"
The first voice you hear on Resonance Records' exhilarating new box set Nat King Cole - Hittin' the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) isn't that of the famous artist. Rather, it's his older brother and bassist Eddie Cole warbling teenaged Nat's sprightly composition "Honey Hush." Nat, of course, is the one tickling the ivories with confidence, grace, and an already sure sense of swing. Although he hadn't yet formed his famous trio (and the lineup here credited as "Eddie Cole's Solid Swingers" is
Check Out Grover: SoulMusic Records Collects Columbia-Era Grover Washington, Jr. Titles on "Sacred Kind of Love"
During the '70s, '80s and '90s, there were few jazz musicians as popular and influential as Grover Washington, Jr. The talented reed-man's skilled saxophone work (he could bring the funk on soprano, alto, baritone, tenor, and even flute) was matched by a pop sensibility that made him an instrumental figure in jazz-fusion as it morphed into smooth-jazz. His music was funky, danceable, accessible, and always smooth. His groundbreaking work in the '70s and early '89s has been well-documented --
Review: Chris Stamey and The ModRec Orchestra, "New Songs for the 20th Century"
Chris Stamey has taken many unpredictable paths in a long career, whether as a member of the dB's, a solo artist, a producer, or a sideman. But his latest project might be his most unpredictable yet. New Songs for the 20th Century, credited to Stamey and the ModRec Orchestra and newly released by Omnivore Recordings, is a sprawling double-album love letter to traditional (read: pre-rock and roll) vocal pop with a heavy jazz emphasis. Written, arranged, mixed, and produced by Stamey, these
Review: Craft Latino Invites You To Take A Far-Out Trip With "Fania Goes Psychedelic"
Get ready for a freak-out, because Craft Recordings has announced a new 15-song compilation of experimental and far-out treasures from the legendary Latin music label Fania! Entitled Fania Goes Psychedelic, this crate-digger's fantasy is part of Craft Latino's ongoing celebration of the influential imprint that became a home to the Latin-soul fusion "boogaloo" tunes that were coming out of the barrios. Originally founded by musician Johnny Pacheco and lawyer Jerry Masucci in 1964, the label
Review: Morphine, "Yes" (Run Out Groove Vinyl Reissue)
In recent years, Run Out Groove has garnered a stellar reputation for its vinyl reissues of rarities from the Warner Music Archive. The label has pressed up everything from lost soul music and jazz, to experimental rock, pop, and folk. Most of their reissues boast previously unreleased rarities or hard-to-find tracks. In the last few months, the label has delivered expanded versions of more recent albums that have long been out of print on vinyl. Morphine's Yes is one of those lost vinyl titles
Review: "Getz at the Gate: The Stan Getz Quartet Live at The Village Gate - Nov. 26, 1961"
1962 is rightfully viewed as a breakthrough year for tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, the year in which he successfully brought the Brazilian bossa nova sound to the mainstream with guitarist Charlie Byrd on Jazz Samba. 1961, on the other hand, has receded as a kind of footnote in his musical history despite two strong albums: the orchestral jazz fusion Focus, with arranger Eddie Sauter (late of The Sauter-Finnegan Orchestra and later an in-demand orchestrator of such Broadway musicals as 1776),
Ace Explores Rock, Jazz Through the Lens of History with "Three Day Week" and "If You're Not Part of the Solution"
Ace Records, as always, has delivered some of 2019's finest collections including Songwriter Series volumes dedicated to Eddie Hinton, Leonard Cohen and Merle Haggard, and celebrations of producer Mickie Most and musician Reggie Young. Today, we're taking a look at a pair of the label's other recent releases. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs present Three Day Week: When the Lights Went Out 1972-1975 (Ace CDCHD 1542) is another sublimely curated compilation focusing on a particular period of
Review: Resonance Delivers Unreleased Jazz from Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery
Resonance Records marked this year's Record Store Day with two world premieres celebrating the artistry of two late jazz titans, Bill Evans and Wes Montgomery. Now, those titles have arrived on CD, and they're both worthy successors to the label's past releases from both artists. Evans in England, featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Marty Morell, captures the pianist's longest-running trio a little over a year into their lifespan and already showcasing their exquisite interplay.
Release Round-Up: The Second Disc's 2019 Record Store Day Must-Haves
Looking for our usual Release Round-Up? Alas, there's not much new in the way of catalogue music this Friday (and we've already filled you in on Billy Paul and Leon Russell!), but for a very good reason: tomorrow sees releases a-plenty as part of Record Store Day! Without further ado, welcome to our annual rundown of Must-Haves for this year's RSD event! Once you're through reading, let us know what you're most looking forward to picking up tomorrow at your favorite local independent
Review: Nat "King" Cole, "Ultimate Nat King Cole" and "International Nat King Cole" [UPDATED]
March 17, 2019 would have been Nat "King" Cole's 100th birthday. While the man born Nathaniel Adams Coles only lived to the age of 45, he more than earned his royal moniker over his three decades of performing. He paved the way for African-American artists as the first black man to host a nationwide television variety show, and quietly but devotedly crusaded for civil rights. At the time of his death, at the height of Beatlemania, he was selling some seven million records a year. The Cole
Review: Nat "King" Cole, "Ultimate Nat King Cole"
Yesterday, March 17, 2019, would have been Nat "King" Cole's 100th birthday. While the man born Nathaniel Adams Coles only lived to the age of 45, he more than earned his royal moniker over his three decades of performing. He paved the way for African-American artists as the first black man to host a nationwide television variety show, and quietly but devotedly crusaded for civil rights. At the time of his death, at the height of Beatlemania, he was selling some seven million records a
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Joni Mitchell, 'Love Has Many Faces' [8-LP Box Set]
It's coming on Christmas... and just in time for the holidays, Rhino has treated Joni Mitchell fans with a new, 8-LP box set, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced. Previously released in a 4-CD configuration in 2014, this Joni Mitchell-curated collection finds the celebrated songwriter, singer, and visual artist exploring the many contexts and definitions of love. The result is a 53-song, four-act suite that craftily presents some of Joni's best work in a compelling
The Groove Is Gonna Get You: Sunset Blvd. Celebrates Ben Sidran with Live Anthology
It's fair to say that Ben Sidran has had a career unlike any other. The author of five books, record label proprietor, radio and television host, singer, songwriter, pianist, teacher, and eternal hipster has played as part of The Steve Miller Band (and co-wrote "Space Cowboy"), produced records for Mose Allison, Rickie Lee Jones, and Diana Ross, and performed with Van Morrison and Georgie Fame. Along the way, he's recorded for Capitol, Blue Thumb, Arista, A&M, and Windham Hill. Sidran
Review: Vince Guaraldi, "The Complete Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Recordings"
For many listeners, Vince Guaraldi's legacy will forever be tied to the merry Yuletide melodies that he recorded on the landmark soundtrack album, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Though it arrived a decade into his recording career, the album solidified in the public consciousness Guaraldi's unique and playful piano style, the impact of which has endured for generations. Now, Omnivore Recordings puts the spotlight on another chapter of the pianist's career in a new 2-CD set called The Complete