Monday, June 02, 2008

After reading about The George Mitchell Collection in Big Road Blues, I was happy to see a copy at Vintage Vinyl. It's seven discs and a thick booklet covering all of Mitchell's field recordings during the 1960's - 80's. Disc one is all I have had a chance to absorb so far, but it is a wide ranging musical journey from the well known like Big Joe Williams and Houston Stackhouse who has some great rockin' small band tracks, to the unknown and totally unique like John Lee Ziegler who plays a gentle slide guitar and sings in a near falsetto while being accompanied by a spoons player! Great stuff so far and I am eager to check out the rest.

On the Jazz front, I have been listening to tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen's I Am I Am which is a nice bare bones date where he is backed by only bass and drums. There's a stark and inventive sound akin to the albums Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson cut in the trio setting at the Village Vanguard, so hopefully that will be Allen's next stop to record. Violinist Jenny Scheinman's Crossing the Field brings her together with some heavy hitters like Jason Moran and Bill Frisell and a string quartet for an album that is equal parts jazz, Americana and classical. She has particular empathy with Moran, especially on the highlight "Hard Sole Shoe" where they dance around a funky bass groove and riffing string section to create hypnotic music.

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