Lovely Recordings: Hosted By Richard Crimi

My musical sense runs the gamut; from pop/rock through classical and jazz and on into world music, and then some. I have plenty of “chestnuts” and popular things in my collection of CD's, vinyl and now bits, and I enjoy it all. But perhaps I get the most satisfaction and meaning out of discovering and devouring lovely hidden gems. So some of these you may know and others hopefully you can discover, and maybe pass along a few yourself for the rest of us too. OK, here goes...

Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live (Geffen, 1994)
I went nuts when I first heard this album. It's so, so Alive! The CD was “stuck” in my car player on continuous play for 6 months. I would daydream about what the concert was like, what the stage looked like, what the performers were doing. Later, I got the video and it too is an amazing deal, very visual, artfully done and full of fun. Culled largely from Peter Gabriel's Us and So albums, two other worthwhile additions in my stream.

Find it on Quboz.

Daniel Lanois: Shine (ANTI-, 2003)
One day while in Music Millenium, a record shop (remember them?) still thriving in Portland, OR, I asked a store clerk what this music was like. He said, “It's like sunshiney happy music”. And it is. It makes me feel happy to listen to and I never tire of it. Daniel Lanois is a producer extraordinaire (Peter Gabriel, U2, Neil Young, etc.) but he is also a gifted and marvelous musician in his own right. I was thrilled a few years ago to catch him in concert at the illustrious Aladdin Theater and hear some of these songs live, and everything else too.

Find it on Quboz.

Tanita Tikaram: The Sweet Keeper (East West Records, 1990)
Immediate reaction to the first moments of this album: Incredible voice, dark, husky, seductive. Tanita Takarm has a string of great sounding music albums, all of which are in my collection, though they can be somewhat hard to find. But she didn't “break” in the States, and eventually retreated to the Continent where she is still putting out new music and performing, I dream of a US tour. My favorite fun album of hers is Cappuccino Songs but it doesn't seem to be be available for download so I offer this, her sophomore effort, the first album of hers that someone played for me which I instantly fell in love with, literally and figuratively.

Available at the Tidal Store.

Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington: Francis A. and Edward K. (Reprise, 1968)
Okay, let's kick it up a bit with The Chairman of the Board and The Duke. This album, while panned by the “critics”, is an elegant and fun affair. Frank's voice is in fine shape. “I Like The Sunrise” is one of the most moving songs I know of his. Even the normally throw away “Sunny” has merit, slowed down in the Billy May arrangement with Frank twisting and wringing emotion as only he can. In the raucous “Come Back To Me” finale, you can just feel Ol' Blue Eye's running pace against the frantic beat that The Duke is whipping the band to. As Mikey Fremer opines, no record collection is complete without at least one Sinatra record. The price is right for this one at Neil's site. For added entertainment seek out the liner notes of the session.

Download at Pono Music.

Hoffmeister: Sonatas for Piano, Vol. 3 (Grand Piano, 2014)
Switching gears to lovely Classical, this is a new discovery for me. A contemporary of Mozart and others of the time, Hoffmeister actually published some of their music. Well either it wore off on him, or probably he just had it in him all the time. This is uplifting piano work of the finest kind. And if you're not familiar with e-Classical, check the “bargain of the day” for some gems on the cheap.

Check it out at e-Classical.

Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live (Nonesuch, 2015)
Meditative, exploring, expanding, this music grabs you in and let's you linger. Brad Mehldau invents and reinvents, tears down, builds up, and explodes. On this set he plays some of his own compositions and does amazing things with standards you'll recognize. I saw him very recently with his jazz trio and they are worth checking out too. Here, you get to enjoy 5 hours worth of music and it is all good, real good. Just press play.

Acoustic Sounds has it.

Philip Glass: Solo Piano (Sony Masterworks, 1989)
OK, I'm on a piano roll. Philip Glass is a genius. This is stripped down Glass with his signature pounding, repetitive theme showing through. Seems simple but is vastly complex. It draws you in and let's your mind go soaring deep inward. These works are covered by other artists but here the composer himself is pounding the keys and pushing the pedals, and I do mean pushing, I can hear and feel the boards moving.

Download at Pono Music.

Morten Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna and other Choral Works (Hyperion Records, 2005)
If Philip Glass doesn't transport you to another world maybe this will take you to heaven. Resplendent and exhilarating, this is heavenly, er, lovely music.

Available from the label, Hyperion.

Gottfried August Homilius: Johannespassion (St. John Passion) (CARUS, 2007)
Moving, passionate oratorio music, this is very emotional, sung in the composer's German, which I find striking and beautiful.

Find it at Presto Classical.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia: The Valley Recalls (Navras, 2000)
I am fortunate to live in a town with a thriving arts community including not one but two Indian arts organizations. So some years ago I was intrigued to attend a concert in a church setting with Shivkumar Sharma and Zakir Hussain. It was a mesmerizing evening; 3 hours of the most incredible music on instruments I had never heard before, santoor and tabla respectively. Years later they brought Hariprasad Chaurasia to town and again, a moving moment. On this CD the principals join together for music that you can just float away with. Ah.

Available at Tidal Store.

Richard Crimi lives, works, and plays in the Pacific Northwest. When he is not exploring the great outdoors or attending a concert, he likes listening to music on his ever evolving stereo. Analog front-end consists of a VPI turntable fitted with Benz Micro H2, Mondial Designs 47k phono stage, and Audio Research LS-7 linestage. Recently he has plugged into the internet a.k.a. streaming audio with an Auralic Aries fed from a QNAP NAS or his control tablet using BubbleUPnP, and driving an Auralic Vega with a NAD 516BEE CD player rounding it all out. He's trying to figure out how to best utilize Roon since laptop is usually out of the equation. Recently he upgraded cables in the digital chain and yes, he reports a worthwhile difference. While contemplating new speakers, he also has his eyes on a passive preamp to tie the analog and digital streams together into the Mondial 8008BB amp with happy cat Tiger Willy to top it off.

BradleyP's picture

Some really good recordings are profiled here, but Daniel Lanois is such a surprising standout to me. This is music you not only hear, you swim in it and get lost. I wish all music of this genre or close to it were produced with such holographic, fleshed out, immediate, live sound. The bass sounds chunky in a good way--just like vinyl--on my studio monitors. (On a bass-heavy system, I can see where it would be a bit too much.) Gosh, I love this one. Thanks, man!

SRC666's picture

I think i've trained my little girls to keep away from the stereo but i guess cats are a different story! I look forward to trying out some of your sounds.

Dibbs's picture

Richard, I spent my formative years in Lake Oswego. Used to take the bus to Portland to go to the Music Millenium. What a great store! Those huge speakers and the smell of patchouli! I thought that the guys behind the counter were like gods! I ended up working at the Crystal Ship in Eugene. Great stuff!