Look for these in our music CD collection.
CD MEHLDAU BR
Jacob’s Ladder / Brad Mehldau
Prolific doesn’t begin to describe the career of pianist Brad Mehldau, who has just over forty albums as a leader or co-leader. He’s covered a lot of ground in those recordings, from his original compositions to a wide array of covers across many genres. It is no surprise to see Mehldau presenting his version of progressive rock for his Grammy-nominated album, Jacob’s Ladder. What results is a fascinating, challenging conceptual project that features many collaborators and dips deeply into a well of 70’s-era progressive rock source material. Ideas and melodies from Canadian titans Rush, along with Gentle Giant and Yes (UK) tunes are adapted, and some incorporate the work of disparate vocalists. Some fans may be perplexed by this supposed detour in his discography, but Mehldau’s talent and adventurous spirit never disappoint. Key tracks: “Tom Sawyer,” and the “Cogs in Cogs,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Heaven” suites.
Also available on Hoopla.
CD BLIGE MARY
Good Morning Gorgeous / Mary J. Blige
Hip-hop/soul icon Mary J. Blige recently earned several Grammy nominations for her latest album Good Morning Gorgeous, which just so happens to be her strongest and most cohesive effort in years. Blige appears focused and in great voice, executing effortlessly across the modern hip-hop/soul landscape of which she is an architect. Blige stays true to her newest and apparent best self, offering expected themes of empowerment amid the often-laborious nature of romantic love, post-divorce. Blige appears present and clear-eyed in a manner that wasn’t fully there in her last couple of albums. The album features collaborators such as Usher, Anderson .Paak, Dave East and others. Highlights include “Come See About Me,” “Love Without the Heartbreak,” “Need Love” and the title track.
Also available on Hoopla in original and deluxe editions.
CD BIRD ANDRE
Inside Problems / Andrew Bird
American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor Andrew Bird has released his seventeenth studio album, one that appears to be the antithesis of his last solo record, the Grammy-nominated My Finest Work Yet. There seems to be more of an internal dialogue happening in the songs—including those worrisome things that keep us up from night to morning. These recordings comprise what may be his most accessible and relatable work yet. This record, more so than others in the past, swings toward more of an indie rock aesthetic than his Americana- and folk-leaning output. Highlights include the charmingly titled “Lone Didion,” as well as “The Night Before Your Birthday,” Faithless Ghost,” and album opener “Underlands.”
Also available on Hoopla.
CD HILL MARQU
New Gospel Revisited / Marquis Hill
Chicago-born trumpeter Marquis Hill propels forward into his past with a recreation of his independent debut recording New Gospel from 2011. Since that release, Hill has continued to develop a style and presence that makes him an increasingly sought-after collaborator and solo artist with many prestigious accomplishments, such as winning the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Trumpet Competition. New Gospel Revisited was recorded live at the Chicago performance space Constellation, with a sextet including drummer Kendrick Scott, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and pianist James Francies, who like Hill, have all yet to reach the peak of their powers. Hill is a still-youthful adventurer, with soul and skill on his side. Lots to enjoy here, including “The Believer,” “Law & Order,” “New Paths,” and “Farewell.”