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Jul 22, 2017







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Lejsovka & Freund, Music for Small Ensemble & Computer (MIE Music)




Paul Whiteman, King of Jazz 1920-1927 (Timeless Records)

Now that our New England weather is settling into an actual spring/summer pattern (sort of), it’s time to dig out your CDs or program your iPods with a little top-down joy in mind. A violinist and perfectionist, Whiteman isn’t the household name Al Jolson is, but during the Roaring 20s he was in the same league, the go-to bandleader for flappers, bootleggers and regular joes. He was an early employer of Bing Crosby, who gets a few tunes on this set, which, like most of his output, has an uncannily good sound, at least compared to today’s vinyl-to-digital fossilized impressions of such contemporaries as Leo Reisman — put simply, the sound quality is up there with Jolson and Jelly Roll Morton, not a hopeless, unlistenable mess, the way it can be with the majority of 1920s recordings. I’ve heard Whiteman records that had less hiss than this one, but it does try to even the field between early and later periods of the decade. Enclosed you’ll hear the real version — well, two versions — of the actual “Charleston” your great-grandparents got down to, along with “St. Louis Blues,” “Everybody Step” and “Nuthin’ But.” For me it was a bit short at 25 tracks, several of which are tunes, like “Charleston,” that get two different versions one after another, which can be repetitious. Past that, it’s just further proof that the man was truly one of the greats. B+ — Eric W. Seager




Lejsovka & Freund, Music for Small Ensemble & Computer (MIE Music)
CD Reviews: May 26, 2017

05/25/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Lejsovka & Freund, Music for Small Ensemble & Computer (MIE Music)

A roll-up of previous super-limited-run vinyl records from the Akron, Ohio-based husband-and-wife team more colloquially known as Trouble Books. Under that nym they’ve traveled to some pretty cool places and released a lot of material, mostly ambient test-pattern stuff over which Keith Freund sings in slack-jawed, simplistic Phil Elverum tones. They usually work from home, as they did here, but this time it’s a communal effort toward which their Akron neighbors contributed vocals and assorted sounds from such things as violas, violins and, apparently, a “Christmas tree.” This 15-songer opens with “Municipal Xerox,” an amateurishly played piano line alternately marching and galloping while assorted found-tech ghosties swoop down, after which the string section kicks in for a few phrases. That’s an example for you anyway; again, this is an ambient, off-the-cuff project, probably (I’d hope) more freely experimental than anything else they’ve done before. B+ — Eric W. Seager





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