current listening 3/29

 loadedThe week’s off-hours listening has included:

The Wood Brothers: Loaded – More great soul-style fun with bassist Chris Wood (of Medeski Martin & Wood) and sibling guitarist/vocalist Oliver Wood. Sounds like the lighter mood of MMW’s recent children’s album, Let’s Go Everywhere rubbed off on these guys. With John Medeski again producing and pack of guest pals (literally) singing their praises, the lean Loaded sound is funky, sunny and thoroughly cool.

The Rolling Stones: Shine a Light – Though billed as a soundtrack, Shine a Light is another Stones concert album. And, frankly, that’s just fine. Loving Cup (with Jack White, no less), the country cut-up classic Far Away Eyes and the wiry You Got the Silver prove Mick, Keith and the boys are as long on soulful stage smarts as they are long in the tooth.

Van Morrison: Keep it Simple – A lighter, leaner, older, wiser, and gloriously unsettled Morrison preaches on the lessons of a sober, simpler life. He sounds typically incantatory on That’s Entrainment and ever-ready for the rapture on Behind the Spiritual (“behind the ritual, you find the spiritual”). Rave on, Van the Man. Rave on.

Mountain: Climbing – A big ol’ greasy post-psychedelic indulgence from 1970. Mississippi Queen was the hit. But the fun came in this introduction to the wonderful stylistic disparity between Mountain’s twin peaks: the stormy, doomsday guitar and vocals of Leslie West and the lighter, more fanciful singing of bassist Felix Pappalardi.

Chick Corea: My Spanish Heart – Cut in the wake of Return to Forever’s 1976 split, My Spanish Heart has it all: synthesized bop, flamenco serenades, brassy suites and, most of all, a wealth of Corea’s acoustic piano playing that is presented in string/chamber settings, in acoustic duets with bassist Stanley Clarke and all by its glorious lonesome.

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