Just got through listening to Joe Henry’s Scar, which I ordered immediately after listening to his latest album, Civilians, in what will likely be a successful effort to make him my latest obsession. I opted for this one based almost solely on the band alone – Brad Mehldau on piano, Marc Ribot on guitar, Brian Blade and Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums (usually on the same track with Blade taking the “lead drums” position,) David Pilch on bass, Bobby Malach on various reed instruments, and, guesting on a couple of tracks, Me’shell Ndegeocello on bass and Ornette frickin’ Coleman on sax (the rundown of who does what is here.) The blues and jazz are deeply ingrained in this music, in the way that the blues and jazz are ingrained in Tom Waits’ music – like it’s been ground in by pressure from life. There’s grit and dirt here, but spots are wiped clean to reveal pure beauty. I don’t know how not to recommend this.
December 6, 2007
As pretty as a twisting vine – a mark so fine but still a scar