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Serge GainsbourgCasino De Paris 1985 ... CD
Universal (France), New Copy ... About January 29, 2016 (delayed)
A previously-unreleased live performance from Serge Gainsbourg – recorded in the mid 80s, and presented here in a nicely expanded package! Serge is right at his Love On The Beat period here – working with some groovy arrangements that could cross over a bit to the dancefloor, and which are performed here by a tight stage combo with a mix of electric elements and jazzy touches – all of which leave plenty of room for the mighty Gainsbourg to stand firmly out front. The amazing thing is that, even in such a live setting, Serge manages to sing with that often-whispered style that's so great – that up-close approach that can really underscore the sex and sleaze in his music. The set includes versions of some Gainsbourg classics, mixed with later numbers – and titles include "Marilou Sous La Niege", "Harley David Son Of A Bitch", "La Javanaise", "Initials BB", "Sorry Angel", "Nazi Rock", "Bonnie & Clyde", "Lola Rastaquoere", "I'm The Boy", "Lemon Incest", "No Comment", and "Micky Maousse". CD
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✨✧ Carol AndersonSad Girl – The Legacy Of Detroit's Lost Soul Sister ... CD
Grapevine (UK), 1970s. New Copy ... $13.99 19.99
The complete recordings of a wonderful soul singer who never fully got her due – Detroit diva Carol Anderson, best known for a few tracks that broke big on the UK Northern scene – but finally presented here with the full scope of her work in one set! Carol had a great approach that was very much in keeping with changes in the Detroit sound of the 70s – vocals that often shared a sense of personal, heartfelt delivery with southern soul of the period – but a tighter, more swinging approach to instrumentation that was still keeping up the Detroit groove of earlier years. The tunes here nicely skirt a distance between Memphis and Motortown – delivered with a rich, expansive heart that should have made Carol a bigger singer than she was a the time. A few of the tracks on the set are nice dancefloor groovers – both in an older style of Northern soul, and in a late 70s/early 80s boogie-styled groove – and as usual, the folks at Grapevine have done a tremendous job with the notes! CD features every single track ever recorded by Carol – 17 titles that include "Sad Girl", "You Boy", "We've Got Enough", "You've Got It Coming", "Party People", "Holding On", "Taking My Mind Off Love", "You Want It", "Ain't Giving Up", "Tomorrow Is Not A Promise", "Come On Over Tonight", and "Master Plan". CD

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David BowieNothing Has Changed (3CD version) ... CD
Sony, Late 60s/1970s/1980s/1990s/2000s/2014. New Copy 3CD ... $21.99
Some of the greatest moments from David Bowie, mixed with some rare tracks, collaborations, 45 mixes, and more – as well as the single "Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)" – which is one of Bowie's best singles in years! The package is available in a number of varieties, with a number of covers – and each different iteration offers a special sort of focus on Bowie's varied creative career – reminding us in more different ways how much we've continued to love his music over the years! This 3CD version features the track "Sue" – plus 58 more tracks that include"All The Young Dudes", "Dancing In The Streets" with Mick Jagger, "Silly Boy Blue", "Can't Help Thinking About Me", "Liza Jane", "You've Got A Habit Of Leaving", "Wild Is The Wind (2010 Harry Maslin mix)", "Buddha Of Subburbia", "Your Turn To Drive", "The Stars Are Out Tonight", "Blue Jean", "This Is Not America" with Pat Metheny, "Oh You Pretty Things", "Moonage Daydream", "Drive In Saturday", "Sorrow", "Fame", "Boys Keep Swinging", "Fashion (single)", "Ashes To Ashes (single)", "Love Is Lost (DFA hello Steve Reich mix)", "New Iller Star (radio)", "I'm Afraid Of Americans (V1 radio edit)", "Jump They Say (radio)", "Let's Dance", "Life On Mars", "Hello Spaceboy (PSB rmx)" with Pet Shop Boys, "Under Pressure" with Queen, "Sound & Vision", "Golden Years (single)", "Absolute Beginners (single)", "Starman (single)", "Rebel Rebel", "Jean Genie (orig single version)", "Changes", "Where Are We Now", "China Girl (single)", and "Heroes (single)". CD

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David BoykinMicrocosmic Sound Orchestra – Live At The Spareroom ... CD
Sonic Healing Ministries, 2005. New Copy ... $6.99
One of the most ambitious recordings to date from Chicago improviser David Boykin – a large group performance done in the freely collaborative spirit of older AACM recordings! There's a relaxed, spontaneous vibe here that we really love – as Boykin and other Chicago players work through a variety of sound textures and musical ideas, using a range of instruments that runs from conventional saxes, flute, and guitar, to more unusual sounds from nose flute, bible harp, kitchen bowls, shenai, and many other less-common instruments. The entire work runs for 70 minutes in length, divided up into 10 shorter segments. CD

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Jesse Boykins IIILove Apparatus ... CD
Empire, 2014. New Copy ... $7.99 12.98
Warm love and plenty of soul from Jesse Bokyins – an artist who keeps on perfecting his craft more and more with each new record – to create a special place in soul that's very much his own! The grooves are heavy on keyboards, but with these very trippy touches – and the whole thing has a unique, handcrafted feel that almost makes Boykins a kind of Shuggie Otis figure for the 21st Century – a supreme master of mellow soul, able to wrap together voice and instrument with this incredible sense of flow! Bass and beats can sometimes be heavy, but always with a slow, crispy vibe that resonates strongly with the more cosmic elements of the music – on titles that include "Show Me Who You Are", "Create Beauty", "Make Believe", "4Ever No More", "Matter Of The Heart", "GreyScale", and "I Wish". CD
(Comes with a bonus download for 8 extra tracks!)

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James BrownCold Sweat ... CD
King/Universal (Japan), 1967. New Copy ... $13.99
A stone classic from Brother James – a wonderful 60s album that not only includes the incredible title track – one of James' best groovers from the time – but a set that also showcases his talents in so many other styles too! There's a few wonderful ballads – but completely recast by James into songs of pride and power – and some older R&B-styled numbers that hearken back to his earliest years at King – all of which makes for a really rich demonstration of that unique James Brown energy that nobody else in the 60s could ever hope to touch! The Godfather's vocals burst out nicely with some wonderfully soulful overtones, no matter what the tune – and titles include "Fever", "Good Rockin Tonight", "Back Stabbin", "Mona Lisa", "Come Rain Or Come Shine", "Nature Boy" and "I Want To Be Around" – as well as "Cold Sweat (parts 1 & 2)". CD
Also available Cold Sweat ... LP 19.99

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
ChallengersOn The Move (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Vault/Warner (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
The Challengers go surfing around the world – at least as proclaimed by the cover – but they still manage to keep their groove very focused on the sunny sounds of 60s southern California! The music here is surf instrumental, but with a smoother twist – really great guitar lines from Glenn Grey, played with all the twangy brilliance of his contemporaries – but also with a confidence that never needs to overdo things at all, so that the space between the notes becomes every bit as important to the overall sound as the guitar lines themselves. The group also harmonize vocally a bit in the background – in ways that are subtle, but really effective – and although the songs are from a variety of sources, they all come together nicely with this approach. Titles include "Happy Cowboy", "On Broadway", "Foot Tapper", "Adventures In Paradise", and "The Breeze & I". CD features four bonus tracks – "Stick Shift", "Road Runner", "Lead Foot", and "Rev Up". CD

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ChaseChase/Ennea/Pure Music ... CD
Epic/Wounded Bird, 1971/1972/1974. Used 2CD ... $11.99
A trio of albums from Chase – one of the hippest jazz rock combos of the 70s! The self-titled Chase album first burned onto the market in 1971 – and it's a great distillation of a groove that was bubbling around in various other segments at the time – some of the tighter big band rhythms of the late 60s, as you might find in the work of Maynard Ferguson or Woody Herman – mixed with the hipper rhythms from the rockish underground, particularly in the work of Blood Sweat & Tears or Chicago. Chase is a fair bit jazzier than both of those groups – as they often put the horns more upfront than the vocals – although most numbers do have some sort of vocals as well. Instrumentation is heavy on trumpets – which come together in blasting, blaring groove, even despite the smaller size of the combo – and Phil Porter lays down some great keyboard lines that really help some of the best tracks cook nicely. Titles include "Handbags & Gladrags", "Livin In Heat", "Open Up Wide", "Hello Groceries", "Boys & Girls Together", and "Invitation To A River". Ennea is a jazz rock classic that still sounds pretty darn tasty today – forged on the heels of Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, but with a sound that's leaner and meaner! The group's led by trumpeter Bill Chase – hence their name – and features lead vocals by GG Shinn and Terry Richards, both in a style that's got the same blue-eyed jazz soul overtones as that used by the groups mentioned above. The real strength of the tracks, though, is their jazzy backings – horn-heavy, as you'd expect, and hitting some great riffs and licks on the album's side-long title "suite", which features many instrumental passages. Titles include "Hades", "Aphrodite (parts 1 & 2)", "Zeus", "Poseidon", "Cronus", "It Won't Be Long", "I Can Feel It", and "Night". Pure Music is the third album from the mighty Chase – and proof that the group was still going strong even after their groundbreaking debut! The grooves here are almost tighter than before – a bit more complicated instrumentally, with some of the trumpets backed off a bit, to leave more room for great lines on guitar and keyboards. There's still some vocals on the record, but they seem a bit more on the backburner than before – and titles include "Close Up Tight", "Twinkles", "Weird Song #1", "Run Back To Mama", and "Bochawa". CD

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Alan CohenRunnin Wild/Black, Brown & Beige ... CD
Argo/Vocalion (UK), 1973/1975. Used 2 CDs ... $8.99
Two 70s recordings from Brit leader Alan Cohen – both of which feature traditional jazz played by larger, hipper groups that feature players that include Kenny Wheeler, Michael Gibbs, Brian Priestley, Peter Ind, and Nat Peck. Runnin Wild is an attempt to recreate the sound of the classic Paul Whiteman orchestra – but there's Cohen inflects the work with a dark undercurrent of nostalgia that brings out a surprising edge. Black Brown & Beige is even better – a reading of Duke Ellington's famous suite of tracks, in a performance that features Norma Winstone on the vocal tunes – and which has some extremely strong solo work from Richard Sudhalter, John Davies, Keith Nichols, and Paul Nossiter. Titles on Runnin Wild include "Runnin Wild", "China Boy", "Singin The Blues", and "There Ain't No Sweet Man". Titles on Black Brown & Beige include "West Indian Dance", "Come Sunday", "Work Song", "The Blues", and "In One Movement". CD

Partial matches10
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CrystalsCrystals Sing The Greatest Hits ... CD
Philles/Sony (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
A stunning full length set from The Crystals – a package that brings together some of their early hits with Phil Spector, but also includes some lesser-known groovers too! The material here is about as perfect as you could get for a girl soul group in the 60s – vocals that are sweet, yet surprisingly soulful too – with a maturity and sensuality that sometimes gets obscured over the passage of time, but which really comes through in the full range of material here! Phil's production is great, but it's also the arrangements from Jack Nitzsche that really make things cook – especially on some of the rougher, more rowdy numbers. Titles include "Hot Pastrami", "The Wah Watusi", "There's No Other", "On Broadway", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "He's Sure The Boy I Love", "The Twist", "Gee Whiz", and "Uptown". CD

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CrystalsHe's A Rebel ... CD
Philles/Sony (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $13.99
Sublime sounds from The Crystals – one of the coolest, grooviest girl soul groups of the 60s – thanks to superb work in the studio from the legendary Phil Spector! The sound here is a pefect balance between pop and soul – definitely with vocals bold enough to warrant the latter, but supported by perfect wall of sound production, Jack Nitzsche arrangements, and razor-sharp Wrecking Crew instrumentation – so that the whole thing soars to the heavens on magical waves of sound! The album shares a number of tracks with the group's Twist Uptown album, but the overall mood is a bit different – and tracks include the wonderful "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)" – a song that really illustrates the complexity of early material like this – plus the Wall Of Sound classics "Uptown", "Oh Yeah Maybe Baby", "He's Sure The Boy I Love", "What A Way To Turn Seventeen", "I Love You Eddie", and "No One Ever Tells You". CD

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Kenny DorhamBlues In Bebop ... CD
Savoy, Late 40s. Used ... $6.99
Some of the earliest recorded work from trumpeter Kenny Dorham – presented here in an overstuffed set that brings together most of his appearances on the Savoy label! The core standout tunes here are 10 numbers recorded in 1946 by The Bebop Boys – a combo that featured Dorham, Sonny Stitt, and Bud Powell coming together on tight, short, very upbeat bop material that ranked with some of the best early 78s of the genre. Titles by this group include "Seven Up", "Bebop In Pastel", "Serenade To A Square", "Fools Fancy", and "Bombay". Other material on the CD includes a solo by Kenny on "The Jitney Man" by Billy Eckstine, plus 3 tracks with the Milt Jackson Sextet from 1949 – including "Conglomeration", "Bruz", and "Roll Em Bags". Kenny also plays on three 1949 recordings with Charlie Parker – "Barbados", "Scrapple From The Apple", and "Bebop" – as well as four 1956 numbers with Cecil Payne – including "Grooving High", "Man Of Moods", and "Saucer Eyes". CD
(Out of print.)

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Bill Evans & Shelly ManneEmpathy/Simple Matter Of Conviction ... CD
Verve (Germany), 1962/1966. New Copy ... $8.99 18.98
A pair of great Bill Evans albums for Verve – both a very good fit together! The cover of Empathy co-credits Bill Evans and Shelly Manne as the leader of the set – and that distinction's an important one – as the record has a slightly different feel than some of Bill's other 60s work for Verve! The sound is often a bit stronger, somewhat bolder – and although Manne's not a monster on the drums, he does have a way of directing the tunes that's a bit different than some of Evans' other piano-led albums. Bass is by Monty Budwig, who's nicely sensitive to the talents of both players – and there's almost an equally-weighted melodic feel to all three elements of the trio – which really rounds out the record nicely. Titles include "The Washington Twist", "Danny Boy", "Let's Go Back To The Waltz", "With A Song In My Heart", "Goodbye", and "I Believe In You". Simple Matter Of Conviction is a move into a more sophisticated vein than his earlier recordings! The album has him working with bassist Eddie Gomez, a hugely talented bassist that would be one of Bill's best partners during this period, and a player who added a nice dose of soul to the proceedings. The drummer is Shelly Manne, who's pretty nice, too – and really shows off some of his more sophisticated shadings here in the presence of Evans and Gomez – similar to his work on the great Empathy album. Tracks are shortish, but filled with imagination – and titles include "Unless It's You", "These Things Called Changes", "Stella By Starlight", and "A Simple Matter Of Conviction". CD

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✨✧ Serge Gainsbourg & OthersIntegrale Serge Gainsbourg et Ses Interpretes Vol 1 – 1957 to 1960 (3CD set) ... CD
Fremeaux & Associates (France), Late 50s. New Copy 3 CDs ... $16.99 29.99
A massive document of the early years of the great Serge Gainsbourg – presented both in his original recordings, and performances of his songs by some of his hipper contemporaries! The set's about 50% Serge – with material from the early EP and single releases for Philips – and the rest is really great work that features unusual takes on Gainsbourg songs – some by instrumental groups, some by male or female singers, and some by vocal groups as well! It's great to hear all the different interpretations of Gainsbourg's tunes – and the way these singers take on his witty and sometimes controversial lyrics – set to instrumentation that includes lots of the jazz and Latin touches that Serge was using in his own work. Highlights include a number of jazz instrumentals by Alain Goraguer – and vocal titles that include "Ronsard 58" by Michelle Arnaud, "Le Poinconneur De Lilas" by Les Freres Jacques, Douze Belles Dans La Peau" by Simone Bartel, "Devense D'Afficher" by Pia Colombo, "Le Claquer De Doigts" by Trumpet Boy, "Douze Belles Dans La Peau" by Jacques Lasry, "Mambo Miam Miam" by Los Goragueros, "Mes Petites Odalisques" by Hugues Aufray, "La Recettte De L'Amour Fou" by Michele Arnaud, and "Ell N'Avait Que Dix Sept Ans" by Francis Lemarque with Serge Gainsbourg. 66 tracks in all – a great 3CD package – with 13 tracks on CD for the first time! CD

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Red GarlandSwingin On The Korner – Live At Keystone Korner ... CD
Resonance, 1977. Used 2CD ... $16.99
Never-heard music from pianist Red Garland – working here with a unique trio that features Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums – a lineup that only existed for this one set of performances from 1977! The material is great – maybe better than most Garland albums issued at the time – and the tracks were recorded with great care at the Keystone Korner club in San Francisco – at a level that's similar to the best Fantasy Records live dates from the venue, which were often like this album – a great chance for the artist to really stretch out and do something new! Garland still has that fluid, lyrical sensibility we love in his famous 50s sides – but there's also a much richer, more sophisticated approach to the piano as well – an even deeper sense of tonal color that comes through on the album's long tracks. Jones is great too – increasingly complex during these years, as you'd hear on his own recordings – and a great accompaniment to Red's new modes of expression. The whole thing presents 150 minutes of unreleased music, plus some great notes and photos too – and titles include "Love For Sale", "Billy Boy", "Blues In Bebop", "On Green Dolphin Street", "Dear Old Stockholm", "Bag's Groove", "On A Clear Day", "Straight No Chaser", "Autumn Leaves", and even a version of "The Christmas Song" (since the material was recorded a few weeks before Christmas!) CD
(Spine has some wear.)
Also available Swingin On The Korner – Live At Keystone Korner (3LP set) ... LP 24.99

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Stefan GrossmanFlowers On The Wall – The Unique Art Of Stefan Grossman ... CD
Transatlantic/El (UK), Early 70s. New Copy ... $3.99
Beautiful post folk era work from acoustic guitar genius Stefan Grossman – a thick compilation of tracks from the Ragtime Cowboy Jew and Those Pleasant Days LPs, and more from his early 70s Transatlantic Records efforts – stacked together on great CD! Flowers On The Wall has a pretty wide stylistic breadth, with some rags and acoustic blues type tunes that Grossman is best known for, plus some surprisingly adventurous originals that really blend some of the more interesting singer-songwriter idiosyncracies of the era. Plus Grossman's playing is absolutely impeccable! 20 tracks in all: "Morning Comes", "The Birthday Song (People Get Ready)", "Odyssey", "Orphan Sunday", "Matesa", "Make Believe Stunt", "Waterfalls", "Prairie Song", "Sond Techniques Recording Blues", "Lena Anne", "Song For A Brother", "Flowers On The Wall" and more. CD

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HeptonesNight Food/Party Time ... CD
Island (Japan), 1976/1977. New Copy ... $9.99
CD set combining the classic 70s Heptones sides Night Food and Party Time, two of the band's strongest records! The first set was cut at Harry J's, and is a bit more produced than some of their earlier sides, but has some great vocal harmonies and updates of awesome Studio One rhythms, which originated with bass player and lead singer Leroy Sibbles. The follow up, Party Time, finds the Heptones teaming up with Lee Perry for a wonderful set laid down at the legendary Black Ark, with Sibbles' always great songwriting over a set of nice roots rhythms laid down by Boris Gardiner, Winston Wright, Mikey Boo, Willie Lindo and others. Includes "Country Boy", "Book Of Rules", "Love Won't Come Easy", "Fatty Fatty" and "Mama Say", "Party Time", "Crying Over You", "I Shall Be Released", "Why Must I" and "Sufferer's Time". 20 tracks in all. CD

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Jackson SistersI Believe In Miracles – The Jackson Sisters Collection ... CD
Universal (UK), Mid 70s. Used ... $7.99
The great mid 70s work of The Jackson Sisters – the Compton-bred sister act with only one official album to their name – but a rich legacy thanks to their wholly unique blend of rollicking soul and amazing harmony vocals! I Believe In Miracles – The Jackson Sisters Collection includes all of the tracks from the 1976 self-titled album – one of the most sought after rare soul LPs of the era – plus it's bookended by the furiously funky single "I Believe In Miracles"! The original version kicks the set off, and the titanic extended version closes it out. The Jackson Sisters were essentially a soul vocal group, but with a style that tended to skew hard and gritty. Occasionally, that grit dipped into full on, furious funk – as on the above mentioned "I Believe In Miracles", and the equally amazing "Miracles". (Similar titles, similar vibe, different songs.) Most of the other tracks have an easier soul sound, with bright harmonies, but the arrangements are still quite raw and hard! Other tracks include "When Your Love Is Gone", "Maybe", "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "Rockin' On My Porch", "Shake Her Loose", "(Why Can't We Be) More Than Just Friends", "Rock Steady", and "Boy You're Dynamite". CD
(Out of print.)

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Lorraine JohnsonMore You Want ... CD
Prelude/P-Vine (Japan), 1977. New Copy ... $24.99
Lorraine Johnson's first album for the Prelude label – a strong mix of disco grooves and deep soul, recorded with arrangements by the team of Jesse Boyce & Moses Dillard! The set's got a very well-rounded approach – one that mixes both mellow and upbeat numbers, in a style that's similar to Loleatta Holloway's best work of the mid 70s. Lorraine's got vocals that really match those of Holloway too – soaring and righteous on the clubby tracks, and heartbreakingly personal on the mellower ones – a great blend that helps the album stay strong all the way through. Titles include "Just for The Moment", "The More I Get, The More I Want", "Let Your Love Fall Like Rain", "Save Me Your Love", "The Next Time I Cry", and "My Sweet Baby". CD
(Japanese version of the Canadian Unidisc pressing – with added packaging and booklet.)

Partial matches20
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Roy Lee JohnsonWhen A Guitar Plays The Blues ... CD
Bear Family (Germany), 1960s. New Copy ... $18.99 21.98
Wicked early work from Roy Lee Johnson – a hell of a guitarist, and a soulful singer as well! The package brings together a whopping 30 tracks from Johnson's years at Okeh Records, and runs up to some sweet sides for Philips as well – tracing a great evolution from the late R&B years up to some deeper soul recorded at Fame Studios – a really rich journey in soul music, put together with the usual Bear Family love of historical details! Plenty of notes come with the package – tying Roy to other work with Piano Red (aka Dr Feelgood) – and titles include "Mister Moonlight", "Sea Breeze", "Black Pepper Will Make You Sneeze", "I'm So Happy", "Busybody", "Love Birds", "When A Guitar Plays The Blues", "Plowing Playboy", "Cheer Up Daddy's Comin Home", "Boogaloo #3", "Can You Handle It", "It's All Over", "Stanback Headache Powder", and "She Put The Whammy On Me". CD

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✨✧ Joyce & Kenny WernerPoesia ... CD
Pirouet (Germany), 2015. New Copy ... $17.99 19.99
One of the mellowest, moodiest albums we've ever heard from the lovely Joyce – a spare set of duets with pianist Kenny Werner, done in a style that definitely reflects the poetry promised in the title! The album's almost more of a jazz vocal setting than Joyce's usual bossa and more breezy material – no acoustic guitar or any sort of percussion – and instead just these majestic inflections of her vocals that seem even more carefully sophisticated than ever – clearly inspired by the subtle touches of Werner's piano. A few tracks feature lyrics in English, and the rest are in Portuguese – and titles include "Olha Maria", "Estate", "Some Other Time", "Novelo", "The Water Is Wide", "Mad About The Boy", "Second Love Song", and "Throw It Away". CD

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