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  Listen Up! 3/24/03 Listen Up!

Monday, Mar. 24

Earl Hines, “Once Upon a Time,” Impulse! Records. This is a fairly terrific big band led by the masterful piano player back in January, 1966. Lots of Ellington alumni in the band, and there’s a preponderance of Ellington and Johnny Hodges material in the songbook. These are interesting arrangements, since Hines prefers somewhat less sophisticated stylings than Ellington. There’s a lot to absorb, and the office is loud this morning, but I’m really digging this.

Rosanne Cash, “Rules of Travel,” Capitol Records. The more I hear this, the more amazing I think it is. Cash is singing as well as she ever has, which is to say as beautifully as anyone has ever done. The songs, all written or co-written by Cash, are strong melodies with a nice mid-tempo oomph to them. Great musicianship that doesn’t call much attention to itself, too.

The Music, “The Music,”Capitol Records. These guys do tend to repeat themselves melodically, but it’s a pretty cool tune. “Take the Long Road and Walk It” is the “hit” and I like this song quite a bit. Kinda Led Zep-inspired, with a wimpier rhythm section and more 80s styled guitar sound. But it builds to a cool level of anthemic turmoil. The other songs sound like lesser versions of the single, but maybe I just need to hear them more.

--Steve Pick

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