Two extremely rare recordings featuring pianist Bill Evans as a side man. The Don Elliott album was recorded in 1958, shortly before Evans joined the Miles Davis sextet. Elliott plays trumpet, mellophone and vibes and also in the group are Hal McKusick, reeds and sax; Barry Galbraith, guitar; Ernie Furtado, bass and the future drummer of the Bill Evans Trio, Paul Motian. Evans and Motian were also in the line-up on clarinettist and bandleader Jerry Wald’s 1955 LP. Eddie Costa was the featured vibraphone player.
Don’t call it a tribute album. Southbound is a collaborative offering of Doobie Brothers hits that features the bros—Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee—reuniting with former member Michael McDonald and teaming with some of country’s top talent for one-offs, including Blake Shelton (“Listen to the Music”), Brad Paisley (Rockin’ Down the Highway”), Toby Keith (Long Train Runnin’) and Sara Evans (“What a Fool Believes”), among others.
If Micus’s saga were an ongoing raga, then 1983’s Listen to the Rain would be one of its most inward-looking prayers. All four meditations that make up the album, while externally distinct, are internally connected through Micus’s use of guitar. The Spanish variety plays a particularly active role throughout, with the sole exception of “Dancing with the Morning,” for which he pairs the ubiquitous steel-stringed with the suling, a bamboo flute often heard in gamelan ensembles of southeast Asia. Knowledgeable listeners will recognize both the rarity of the backpacker’s trusty companion in the Micus canon and its elemental necessity in this setting. The ascetic sheen of its metal strings paints a world of shine to which a human presence adds less manufactured colors. The suling’s unclipped wings, by extension, are exhaled into the sky above, circling and darting through the surrounding melodies until they take shape under cover of their own imagination.