New Releases of Note

A small bunch of reissues, that span genres and should appeal to a range of interest, from the curious to the collector:

    • Steve Roach, Structures From Silence: This classic album, first release in 1984, is coming out again in a variety of formats, including 140-gram black vinyl (in an edition of only 500 discs), single CD, 3-CD set with extra material, a CD/LP combo, and cassette. This is the first Roach record to reach a mass audience, is an excellent example of his unique art, and is an example of the heights that New Age/space music can reach. You can preorder at a discount through the Projekt site.

Stream the original here

While you read my interview with Roach here.


  • Fela Kuti Box Set #4 Curated by Erykah Badu: Knitting Factory Records has done the great service of making Fela available again to a new generation, with excellent CDs that collect two albums, a complete boxed set, and this series of smaller collections. They are taking pre-orders for this new vinyl set, liited to 3000 copies and compiled by Erykah Badu (the previous three were seleted by Questlove, Ginger Baker, and Brian Eno). There are many Fela albums that are genuine essentials, and in this release you’ll find No Agreement, Coffin For Head of State, and Army Arrangement, along with four other LPs.




  • Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Cheek to Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings: Ella and Louie put out some of the most charming, elegant vocal jazz ever made on albums like, Ella and Louis and Porgy and Bess. Their three Verve albums have been remastered, as have their Decca singles and the live Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl performances. That, previously unreleased takes of “The Memphis Blues”, “Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess”, studio material, and other extras make up this 4CD package. You know what’s in here, and you know what immense pleasure this music brings. Give this as a gift and you’ll be remembered forever (out November 10).



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  • Leonard Bernstein Remastered: 100 CDs selected from the recordings Bernstein made for Columbia. This is put together with the same care and substance as Sony Classical’s previous Stravinsky and Boulez sets, meaning it’s full of beautiful, witty, impassioned music making. Along with Leonard Bernstein: The Composer that came out earlier this year, these recordings give a meaningful, detailed portrait of one of the greatest musicians of the 20th century, and one of the few classical music figures to have an enduring effect on pop culture (I will be reviewing both boxes in a future post).81sovpSFG7L SL1500


  • King Crimson: Sailors’ Tales: Until such time as some other important live and/or studio material turns up from the decade that spans the early ’70s to the early ’80s, this looks to be the last of the massive recovery of the first ear of this band. The 21 CDs and 6 audio Blu-ray/DVD discs collects the remastered studio albums In the Wake of Poseidon, Lizard, and Islands. The rest are concert recordings from the 1972 tour, auditions for the touring band(!) and more. This series has exceeded all expectations, showing how stunning and rich the music that an improvising band like this can make—it goes far beyond rock and prog into legitimate new music.


  • Sonny Clark Trio, The 1960 Time Sessions: A real surprise and of course an absolute rarity, Tompkins Square is releasing this session as a 2-LP set for Record Store Day on Black Friday, November 24. The unfortunate thing is you will have to get this at your local record store, not an easy thing depending on where you live. But stop in and ask them to order it.


I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.