Monday, December 29, 2008

Old And Leading The Way

I appreciate that I'm not getting any younger and that much new rock and rap music doesn't speak to me by virtue of differences in life experience. That hardly disqualifies it from excellence, but it does disqualify me from grasping it well enough to give it either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. That being said, I'm nonetheless struck by the exceptionally high quality of music released in 2008 by older artists, even if I am predisposed to appreciate it.

Seven of the performers on the following list are over 60, and three of them are over 70. Other older artists who released outstanding music in 2008 include Jackson Browne, Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, and Andre Williams. This year, I saw outstanding performances from Joan Baez (67), Kevin Burke (58), Dick Gaughan (60), Charles Lloyd (70), Robert Plant (60) (with Alison Krauss), Bruce Springsteen (59), James Blood Ulmer (66), and Johnny Winter (64). 74-year old Leonard Cohen toured Europe and received scintillating reviews. If I had to pick, the best live performance I saw last year was by the 70-year old Lloyd. It's enough to make me believe that my most creative days lie ahead.

Anyway, here's some counsel on how to use some of those gift cards you got for Christmas. I reviewed each album on Citizen K.; click on the link for my original review.

This collection of demos, alternate versions, old folk songs, live cuts, and previously unreleased songs coheres unexpectedly into a sweeping statement of Dylan's world view as he heads toward old age. He has become the master curator of his own work. Brilliant. 

These albums had the heaviest rotation on the Citizen K. sound system. 

Con El Permiso De Bola, Francisco Cespedes with Gonzalo Rubalcabal

Black Ice and Propane, Erik Friedlander

Traveling, Steve Poltz

Hernando, The North Mississippi All Stars

Just A Little Lovin', Shelby Lynne

Accelerate, R.E.M.

Rabo de Nube, Charles Lloyd Quartet

Lumiere Dans le Noir, Zachary Richard

Exit to Mystery St., Paul Sanchez

Good Neighbor, John Boutte

Peace, Love, & Understanding, Big Sam's Funky Nation

Note: The link is to a review of a Dick Gaughan concert.

The Cole Porter Mix, Patricia Barber

About Time, Paul Bley

South Pacific, New Broadway Cast

Simply Grand, Irma Thomas

Liejacker, Thea Gilmore

Gracias, Omara Portuondo

WWOZ anticipates a tough 2009. "If a jazz station in New Orleans can't survive, what chance has jazz to survive?" Good question. I'll be sending in my contribution. How about joining me?...

The Charles Lloyd Quartet shows its stuff in a montage of their performance at Antwerp's Jazz Middleheim 2008:


mouse (aka kimy) said...

thanks for the list..... love this time of year when folks start compiling their lists of favorite movies, books and cds....I often put together a list of my own of all the above, but 2008 has been so crazy and odd at time feel as if I've been living the life of a mushroom when it comes to being up on what's new in all the above categories!!

happy new year!

K. said...

Back at you!

I decided not to worry about being up on everything and just go with what I listened to the most. Hey, I'm not a professional critic getting free demos from record companies!

Anyway, the more I'm exposed to best-of lists by the likes of Rolling Stone, the more invidious they seem. Plus, they're virtually out of touch when it comes to regional and local music.

I'm definitely interested in what you listened to last year, especially Cleveland singers and bands.

Renegade Eye said...

In show business in the USA, to be over thirty and be able to tour as a music act, is an accomplishment.