Crosscut Saw reissues Albert King's 1983 album San Francisco '83 (a studio album, not a live one), adding two previously unreleased cuts. His first new release in five years, it wasn't one of King's better records – but it did represent a return to a basic five-piece sound, an improvement upon his over-produced outings of the late '70s.
This is an enjoyable date of Dixieland, emphasizing familiar warhorses. Trumpeter Bob Scobey is in his usual consistent form and is assisted in the frontline by trombonist Jack Buck and clarinetist Bill Napier. Banjoist Clancy Hayes has six excellent vocals (particularly "Curse of an Aching Heart" and "Travelin' Shoes"), and the spirit and high musicianship overcome the familiar repertoire.
A classic recording by one of Chicago blues' finest living legends, Left My Blues in San Francisco consists of 11 smoking tracks, featuring Buddy Guy's matchless guitar work and equally distinctive vocals. This recording is for people who like their blues straight up; like whiskey, it burns all the way through. Included are some of Guy's classic original songs, such as "She Suits Me to a Tee" and "I Suffer with the Blues," as well as excellent performances of "Buddy's Groove," "Keep It to Yourself," and "Goin' Home." All of this material can also be found on the Complete Chess Studio Recordings collection, but if you're new to Buddy Guy, Left My Blues in San Francisco is an excellent place to start.
In 1961, the young Hungarian composer György Ligeti did a pretty amazing thing: he wrote a piece called Atmospheres, in which almost nothing happens, extremely slowly. The European avant-garde was still obsessed with quantifying musical parameters, with crystallizing pitch, duration, timbre, and register into rigid regions, radiating with speed and hardness – and then Ligeti cast out this massive orchestral goo, the enemy of all geometries, devoid of contours and as slow and gaseous as a trip through Saturn. A paean to all mysterious and intangible, Atmospheres initialized both a brilliant swerve from the music of its time, and a kind of life-journey for Ligeti's own incipient voice: a musical vision on the verge of disintegration, inventively trying to put itself back together, to re-integrate.