Thanks to the dedicated effort of the folks at Real Gone, this often bootlegged date by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band gets its first official release. These 13 tracks come from a smoking date at the Unicorn Coffee House in Boston. Nobody's sure of the exact date, but estimates put it somewhere during a two-week run in May, two months before the band's classic East-West was released. There's over an hour of music on what amounts to the first recorded document from this sextet: hard-grooving Chicago drummer Billy Davenport (Sam Lay left after the band's debut album) joined vocalist/harmonicist Butterfield, guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, organist Mark Naftalin, and bassist Jerome Arnold.
The first solo David Gates's album.
Götz Friedrich’s 1981 Elektra film sets Richard Strauss’ opera in a dark and dingy abandoned 20th-century factory populated by grungy denizens in psuedo-Greek garb. Elektra herself appears like some deranged homeless woman reeking with sweat and slime (in the rain). And the depravity doesn’t stop there. Friedrich plays up the work’s sado-masochistic elements, with bloody whippings and an orgy sequence involving nude lesbians bathing themselves in the blood of a sacrificial ram. Now you might think that all of this detracts from the score, but on the contrary, the production matches image to music so brilliantly that anyone seeing this opera for the first time would think they were created for each other (which allows you to ignore the occasional useless, almost silly gesture, such as the frequent and prolonged shots of Agamemnon’s bloodied visage during Elektra’s opening monologue).
In the ultimate battle between good and evil stands a warrior who makes the choice that tips the balance.
The soundtrack to Errol Morris' documentary The Thin Blue Line emphasizes story over music; the interviews which make up the majority of the film – a crusading effort which led to the the release of its subject, Randall Adams, from a Texas prison – are presented on record as they were on screen, with Glass' chamber orchestra music hovering in the background. The result is a soundtrack which comes remarkably close to capturing the power of its source film; even without the moving images, this is a chilling document.
Sphere's six track release FOUR IN ONE, performed by a group of Thelonious Monk's former accompanists and friends including Charlie Rouse, Kenny Baron, and Ben Riley, was recorded on the day of the incomparable jazz legend's death.