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What We’re Listening to This Week


Jeffrey St. Clair

Thelonious Monk: Paris, 1969 (Blue Note, 2013)

Finally liberated from the vaults, this sterling performance shows Monk still innovating on the outer edges of bop, with his faithful sidekick Charlie Rouse, before a rapt audience in a nation (unlike his own) that revered him.

Trombone Shorty: Say That to Say This (Verve, 2013)

One of the most versatile young musicians of our time, Trombone Shorty Andrews, mines the deep veins of southern soul and New Orleans R&B, with contributions from stalwarts Cyril Neville and Raphael Saadiq (who also produced), yielding one of the funkiest records in years.

Alex Chilton: Electricity by Candlelight, NYC 2/13/97 (Bar None, 2013)

The iconoclast, captured live at the Knitting Factory in 1997, swerves through an eclectic (even for him) acoustic set of standards and covers, ranging from Pete Seeger and Jobim to the Beach Boys and Loudon Wainwright, rendered in Chilton’s manic, not-quite-out-of-control voice.


Joshua Frank

Uncle Tupelo: No Depression (Legacy, reissue, 2014)

Lake Street Dive: Bad Self Portraits (Signature Sounds Recordings, 2014)

La Luz:  It’s Alive (Hardly Art, 2013)


Kristin Kolb

The Luyas – Animator (Dead Oceans, 2012)

Spoon River – Kingdom of the Burned (Northern Electric, 2010)

Uncle Tupelo: No Depression (Legacy, reissue, 2014)

Better: Live in studio session at WMBR, Boston, 1991

Kevin Alexander Gray

Outkast: Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (La Face, 1994)

A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders (Jive, 1993)

The Tower of Power: The Tower of Power (Reprise, 1973)


Lee Ballinger

Ish: La Love (CD Baby, 2013)

Metallica: Death Magnetic (Rhino Blackened, 2013)

Miles Davis: Doo Bop (Warner, 1992)


Becky Grant

2Cellos: In2ition (Sony Masterworks, 2013)

Dan Newton’s Cafe Accordian Orchestra: Le Disque Français (Dan Newton, 2004)

Balkan Beat Box: Give (NatGeo Records, 2012)


David Yearsley

Jacqueline du Pré: The Complete EMI Recordings (Warner Classics, 2007)

With a repertoire extending from François Couperin to Edward Elgar and encompassing concertos, chamber works, and a pair of Bach solo suites, the sets runs from the year of du Pré’s  debut at the Wigmore Hall in London in 1961 at the age of sixteen to a live performance of the Lalo Cello Concerto in Cleveland under the baton of her husband Daniel Barenboim in October of 1973, the same month she was diagnosed with the multiple sclerosis that ended her career and led to her death in 1987. The haunting E Minor Sonata of Brahms, in two versions from 1968 both with Barenboim on piano, is holding the week’s top spot, fending off the mighty concertos of Dvorak, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Lalo, Delius, Britten, and—of course—Elgar.


Ron Jacobs

Gang of Four: Entertainment! (EMI, 2001)

Bloomfield, Kooper and Stills: Super Session (Sony, 2003)

Quilt: Held in Splendor (Mexican Summer, 2014)



Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at:

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