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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Michael Bloomfield

From his Head to his Heart to his Hands: An Audio/Visual Scrapbook (Columbia Legacy)

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This extraordinary guitar hero and innovator’s legacy is finally addressed with a reissue package including three CDs and a new DVD film: Sweet Blues: A Film about Michael Bloomfield by Bob Sarles.

The Chicago guitarist starred in The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the innovative, racially integrated group that redefined blues for a generation and opened a myriad of musical possibilities. He inspired Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton, made history as the guitarist with whom Dylan electrified the Newport Folk Festival, and played on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” His album with Al Kooper, Super Session, was a pinnacle of the art of jamming. He co-led one of the first R&B jazz blues groups, The Electric Flag, recorded on Janis Joplin’s solo debut album and continued as a nonpareil historian/musical master of the blues until his death at age 37. Kooper has curated this collection as a vivid and moving story told through extraordinarily soulful music. 

—Kevin Lynch

 

Juhani Aaltonen

To Future Memories (TUM)

Finland seldom races to mind as a center for avant-garde jazz, yet the nation on Europe’s northeast corner has been home to a thriving scene. Prominent among Finnish improvisers is saxophonist-flutist Juhani Aaltonen, 78 years old but undimmed and leading a young ensemble in edgy improvisations that follow in the wake of Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. The music on To Future Memories, drawn from compositions for films by Antti Hytti, shifts from relatively relaxed to agitated cacophony with the drop of a beat.

—David Luhrssen