Known Johnson

April 4, 2007

Overlooked Alternatives: Black Sabbath, Motian/Lovano/Frisell, Corinne Bailey Rae

Filed under: Music,News,Overlooked Alternatives — Tom @ 7:38 pm

Without meaning to, it looks like I’ve worked real hard to make sure this is as disparate a combination of music as possible this week. This happens to emphasize the point I’ve tried to make in the past: it’s not always the most obscure music that I point out, but it’s often that I highlight something that some of us, because of our allegiances to certain styles we hold near and dear, overlook because we simply write them off as out of our scope of interests. Yes, I really do like all of these things equally.

Black Sabbath – The Dio Years: I have a confession to make. Metal fan that I have always been, I’m not particularly a Black Sabbath fan. I know, I know – you’re all black-listing me right now. See, the thing is, I’m not a particularly big Ozzy fan. I tried, really, I did. I owned a lot of Ozzy stuff back in the day, listened to him a lot, even went to a concert, but ultimately just didn’t wind up worshiping at the throne of Ozzy and, therefore, Sabbath. That’s not entirely true – I didn’t completely write the band off. In what is one of my bizarrely open-minded moves, I really loved the Tony Martin-fronted version of the band, especially Headless Cross. And while I was aware of the Dio-fronted version of the band, I just never got around to checking them out. I moved on from being a metal die-hard for a while to other things, but in recent years have been slowly re-integrating a lot of older metal back into my collection. And now, finally, after all this time, the Dio Sabbath is finding a home there, too, via this collection and, I’m sure, eventually the remastered versions of the albums the tracks come from.

So, what we’ve got here is five tracks from Heaven & Hell, four from Mob Rules, three from Dehumanizer, one from Live Evil, and three brand new songs that Dio wrote for his own project but decided to let the reunited Sabbath use (of course, we all know they’re on the road as “Heaven & Hell” so as not to step on the toes of the reunited Ozzy-era Sabbath.)

Paul Motian/Joe Lovano/Bill Frisell – Time And Time Again: This trio is basically Frisell’s home away from home, it seems. If he’s not putting out his own solo album, it seems like you can almost count on something from this trio sooner or later, where he indulges his more straight-ahead jazz tendencies. The joy in listening to a group like this, of course, is in listening for the interplay. These guys are at the tops of their game and have worked with each other so much that they just know what’s coming next. On top of that, listening to Paul Motian drum is an otherworldly experience, for he rarely simply plays rhythm, rather, he plays color for the other two to dip into. Every work these guys do is fantastic, and I expect nothing less here.

Corinne Bailey Rae – Live In London & New York: Rae is one of those unexpected interests for me – a pop-chanteuse making the kind of music I typically wouldn’t really find much interest in, but, for some reason, I’ve fallen for her simple, emotive voice. My only problem with her eponymous debut album is that it became a playground for her producers, rather than a showcase for her talents, but that’s where a live set like this comes in handy which will allow her to display her real gift without fear of someone getting creative with beats and other studio trickery. One disc here is a DVD of a London show, the other is a CD of a New York show.

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