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Dining Out
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Downhome Mexican at Taqueria Arandas

 The West Side taqueria scene can be a bit daunting. Drive away from the lake on National, Mitchell or Lincoln in search of chili peppers and cerveza and you’re met
Album Reviews
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014
As with Sonny Rollins—another living holdover from the rough roads, long nights and hard medicine of the bop era—it’s tough not to greet a new Ahmad Jamal release with a bit of surprise: He’s still alive? Perhaps it’s testament to his legend—that of maybe the greatest jazz piano player of
Album Reviews
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013
Even in the salvages of post-Katrina New Orleans you’d be hard pressed to find a music ensemble more entrenched in the disparate worlds of pleasure and pain, life and death, than the Hot 8 Brass Band. Since their mid-’90s formation, the Crescent City joy-makers have suffered through the
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013

Blind, Crippled and Crazy (New West)

 At this point the Social Security-collecting sect of top-shelf Americana musicians can largely be broken into two camps: there’s that of John Hiatt, rife with perspective, wisdom and acerbic self-effacement resulting from an obviously long and humbling road. And then there’s Eric Clapton. With a
Album Reviews
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Walking Shadows (Nonesuch)

Neutering his formidable tenor honks, saxophonist Joshua Redman enters the lush, swirling, Brad Mehldau-spiked, John Mayer-covering, between-floors world of orchestral jazz on his latest album. Walking Shadows is all sweeping
Album Reviews
Monday, April 29, 2013

Birthdays (Anti/Epitaph)

Pensive, warbly, damaged—it’s hard to tell whether sad sack Keaton Henson’s voice is a heartfelt affectation or if he’s simply been listening to too much Jeff Buckley. Minimal electric guitar plucks and a haunted resonating
Album Reviews
Friday, April 19, 2013

No Beginning No End (Blue Note)

 A hand adjustment on a drum kit, a suggestive slow bass-snare groove, a rubbery bottom-strings jive and then the voice—all late-night, hushed and come here, girl—before the sinewy trumpet lines lock it in. So begins the drawers
Album Reviews
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Isle of Magic (Agogo Records)

 Congas, shakers, marimbas, udu drums, something called a karkabou, something else called a bendir—all populate the world music, Afrobeat and spacey postmodern grooves of Mop Mop. But any disc that even moderately features
Album Reviews
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Wulu Wulu (Bik Records)

 With nearly all the news filtering out of North Africa these days concerned with the anti-groove, zero-fun Islamic extremists holding Mali’s rich tradition hostage, a new release of sunny Afrobeat and the very first outside-of-Nigeria

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