Just in case the title One More for the Road didn't suggest Sinatra, Curtis Stigers underscores his debt to the Chairman of the Board by patterning the artwork for this 2017 collaboration with the Danish Radio Big Band after 1966's Sinatra at The Sands. In fact, One More for the Road is something of a salute to that 1966 record, containing eight songs from that double album and adhering to the snazzy swing of late-period Frank. Stigers even channels that sensibility into "Summer Wind," a gentle breeze of a single, and that's one of the distinguishing factors of One More for the Road. Another distinguishing factor is the cheerful blare of the Dutch Radio Big Band, who are big and brassy without overwhelming the singer.
Norwegian folk musician Sinikka Langeland, singer and player of the kantele (the Finnish table harp) is a distinctly non-traditional traditionalist, redefining "folk" in successive projects. 'Maria's Song' finds her in the company of two distinguished classical musicians - organist Kare Nordstoga and "giant of the Nordic viola" Lars Anders Tomter - and on a mission to restore Marian texts to sacred music, weaving folk melodies in between the timeless strains of J S Bach. Langeland made a lot of friends with her sparkling ECM debut Starflowers: "There are jewels everywhere on this arresting example of ego-free music-making. One of the albums of this or any other year" raved the Irish Times. Where Starflowers brought Langeland into the orbit of jazz improvisers, Maria's Song is a meeting and cross referencing of folk and 'classical' energies, and also a righting of historical 'injustice': Religious folk songs are amongst the most distinctive elements of the Norwegian folk tradition, yet the Virgin Mary rarely appears in them. Once a much-worshipped figure in the Far North she was, as Sinikka puts it, "reformed" away in 1537, so this album brings Maria back into the music. It was recorded in the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral of Trondheim, famous for its Baroque organ heard here.
A spicy mix of rarities, alternates and previously unissued R&B goodies from South Louisiana and S.E. Texas, where you are never too far from a bayou and some good rockin’ music. This 15th compilation in the “By The Bayou” series takes us back to the R&B sounds you would have heard belting out of a Louisiana juke joint on a steamy night in the 1950s or early 1960s. All of the tracks included were recorded in that party state, although some of the artists were based in Texas, crossing the state line to make music in studios based in Crowley and Lake Charles.