Jimi Hendrix - Rainbow Bridge (Legacy, 2014) Rainbow Bridge is one of the earliest posthumous Jimi Hendrix releases, and remains closest to the original material. After this there would be catfights about the estate and the copyright holders which led to a slew of dodgy albums, live and studio, even ones with extra musicians dubbed in. This album is shorn of most of those accouterments because the music can clearly stand on its own. The music is very well played and vibrant with a studio version of "The Star Spangled Banner" which is not quite as epochal as the Woodstock version, the funky original "Dolly Dagger", a galloping "Room Full of Mirrors" and a blistering live version of "Hear My Train A Comin.'" This is a fine album and a must for Hendrix fans. Rainbow Bridge - amazon.com
Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Blue (Hot Cup, 2014) MOPDTK, consisting of Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto and tenor saxophone, Ron Stabinsky on piano, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums, is one of my favorite groups, but I have to being completely flummoxed by this album. This is a meticulously transcribed and exactly performed recital of Miles Davis' famous album, Kind of Blue. The idea was first proposed when they were students and then slowly germinated until the musicians transcribed an recorded the music. MOPDTK are known for lovingly and humorously chiding jazz sub-genres, so I originally thought that the were taking the piss out of this sacred cow, but no, it is a reverent, if unnerving reflection of the original. Blue - amazon.com
Gary Clark Jr. - Live (Warner Brothers, 2014) On his way up, Gary Clark Jr. turned heads with incendiary live shows and that led to the amazing feat of a blues musician being offered a recording contract by a major label. The studio album Blak and Blu solidified his position in the musical firmament, so it only makes sense that the time honored double live album should follow. Clark's talent and charisma carry the day featuring tunes that touch on Muddy Waters "Catfish Blues" and B.B. King "3 O'Clock Blues" but it is with his own songs that he takes flight with blistering versions of the ominous "Bright Lights" and "When My Train Pulls In." This is leavened by the stomping rhythm and blues of "Travis County" and the Hnedrix nod "Third Stone From the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say." Gary Clark Jr. Live - amazon.com
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