In 1990, the Residents took their grand examination of rock & roll on the road, touring the world with the Cube E tour. The first half found the group reciting cowboy poems to a soundtrack influenced more by Copland and Orff than country & western, then followed with a group of blues, field hollers, and warped jazz that represented the African-American experience. By intermission, the two had combined into rock music, which in the second half was disseminated by an aging Elvis impersonator tearing through Presley covers (essentially a live version of their 1989 album The King and Eye). The staging, costumes, lights, and general performance were not to be missed, and earned justifiable rave reviews.
Let It Go, Norman Brown's inspired 2017 debut album for Shanachie Records, has something for everyone, whether an R&B fan or a jazz aficionado. From "Holding You," his sensuous collaboration with R&B great Chanté Moore and Norman's re-imagining of the Five Stairsteps classic "Ooh Child" to the smoothly grooving "Remember Who You Are" and the serenely inspired "Let It Go," Let It Go is Norman Brown at his best.
Bassist Dave Holland leads one of his most stimulating groups on this superlative quintet date. With the young Steve Coleman on alto and flute, trumpet great Kenny Wheeler, trombonist Julian Priester, and drummer Steve Ellington in the band, Holland had a particularly creative group of musicians in which to interpret and stretch out his six originals; Coleman also contributed one composition. This set, which has plenty of variety in moods, tone, colors, and styles, is one of Holland's better recordings.