Larry Ehrlich was at end of a long day in a studio in Bristol, VA. Carter and Ralph Stanley as well as Ralph Mayo and Curley Lambert entered the studio in front of one microphone, and Ehrlich, after seeing them play hog callings, a couple of radio shows, and a barn dance, asked the band to sing some of the traditional songs they had been recording for the past 16 years. The results, completely unearthed until now, are no less than stunning. This is the Stanleys as listeners have never heard them: laid-back, relaxed, and full of recollection and goodwill, singing and playing songs as familiar to them as their upbringing.
Dean Martin finally got access to conductor/arranger Nelson Riddle for an album project, and the result was an easy swinging collection with appealing horn charts and a series of comfortable readings of recent and vintage standards. Especially notable were the two songs borrowed from My Fair Lady, "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," which Martin and Riddle re-imagined as straight-forward love songs; "You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You" (which Martin would try again in a more contemporary arrangement four years later for one of his biggest hits); and a solo version of "Just in Time," which the singer had recently done with Judy Holliday in the film version of the musical Bells Are Ringing. This Time I'm Swingin'! was a good, confident set by an artist who had figured out how to make competent albums without expending a lot of effort, which was a key to his charm.
Any chance that one has to hear a master musician in his or her preferred setting is a gift. For all the one-offs and ensemble by committee type of gigs that spring up, it is the reunion with familiar collaborators for a stint of a few nights that really becomes integral for the best performances. On his new recording, At This Time, pianist Steve Kuhn found himself just in the right time and place to record a trio record that feels timeless and truly inspired. The ensemble, which features legendary bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron, was happy to find itself in an extended engagement at Birdland Jazz Club in New York in September 2015 and found time to get into the recording studio before heading to Europe on tour.