Publication: Seattle Times
Author: Paul de Barros
Date: April 20, 2012
It’s Record Store Day! This is the fifth year independent record stores in the U.S. and Europe have banded together to celebrate the ritual of browsing and shopping for physical recorded music in a brick and mortar store. Last year, more than 700 U.S. stores participated. This year the event has expanded, though some stores may not be “official” RSD stores and therefore may not carry the special, limited-edition RSD albums — more than 200 — being released today.
Record Store Day started out as a celebration of “the art of music” but has gradually skewed toward vinyl. Though RSD has been a boon for stores — it’s now by far the biggest sales day of the year — the glut of new releases has created problems. Many stores can’t get as many copies as they would like of limited-edition releases or, conversely, get stuck with unsold vinyl that — unlike CDs — is nonreturnable.
That said, there’s lots of fun to be had out there today. Here are reviews of three, just-released vinyl albums.
Branford Marsalis, ‘Four MF’s Playin’ Tunes’ (Marsalis Music)
Saxophonist Marsalis can be an intimidating player, but this double album by his quartet (with new drummer Justin Faulkner) is remarkably warm and approachable. Seeming to have channeled Sonny Rollins’ joy and playfulness, Marsalis begins on soprano sax with a lively calypso by pianist Joey Calderazzo, luxuriates in a swelling ballad by bassist Eric Revis, then, stuttering (also Rollins-wise), deliberates with Faulkner over an appropriately minimalist “Teo,” by Thelonious Monk.
Marsalis burrows ferociously into his own, rhythmically challenging “Endymion” then rises to romantic heights on the standard “My Ideal,” suggesting an unbroken line back to Coleman Hawkins. With a title nodding to the great soprano sax man Sidney Bechet (“Treat It Gentle”), Branford’s soprano seems to say, “Come on in, the weather’s fine in saxophone land, and I’d like some company.”
Ironically, given the nostalgia about the expansive documentation space once afforded by vinyl LPs, the album has no liner notes and — for all the space devoted to artful photographs — not one of its four gatefold sides lists the names of the players!
To see the Seattle Times’ other picks for Record Store Day vinyl, visit the full article here.