Music News 12/7/23




Last Saturday, December 2, was the centennial of Maria Callas, “La Divina,” the most iconic opera star of the 20th century. A heartfelt appreciation appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times by Zachary Woolfe, with a sidebar of appreciations by Renée Fleming, Patti LuPone 

Here are two introductory albums: 

PURE CALLAS (Warner Classics, $18.98) collects some of Ms. Callas’s most memorable arias. 


THE NEW SOUND OF MARIA CALLAS (Warner Classics, 3 CDs, $20.98) has even more of her greatest performances. 





Pharoah Sanders, PHAROAH (Luaka Bop, 2 CDs, $31.99) – In 1977, tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders recorded one of his best known albums. The centerpiece was the opening track, the peaceful, 20-minute “Harvest Time.” With Sanders soloing over a drone-like guitar figure by Tisziji Muñoz, along with organ, bass, drums, and percussion, the tune became a jazz radio staple. The album was out of print for many years, but has now been reissued with remastered sound, and extensive notes, including an interview with Mr. Sanders, who died last year. 

The second CD includes 1977 live performances of “Harvest Time” from Middleheim and Willisau,  performed by Pharoah’s quartet.  

“Harvest Time” was also the theme song to a long-running radio program on WPFW hosted by Harvest Williams. 




Daniel Villarreal, LADOS B (International Anthem, $16.99 ) – Drummer and percussionist Daniel Villarreal’s Lados B, recorded with Jeff Parker on guitar, and Anna Butterss on bass is one of the funkiest and all around groove-filled albums of the year. The trio’s jams are mesmerizing, uplifting, and very danceable. Enjoy! 





Cat Power, SINGS DYLAN: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert (Domino, $20.99) – On the English leg of his 1966 tour with the Band, one Dylan concert became the first iconic bootlegged album. Recorded at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall on May 26, 1966—it was long known as the “Royal Albert Hall Concert” due to a mislabeled bootleg.  

Last November, at Royal Albert Hall, Cat Power (Chan Marshall) delivered a song-by-song tribute to that famous evening. As on that night, the first half is acoustic, the second half is wildly electric. From the first strums of “She Belongs to Me” and “Fourth Time Around” to the final climax of “Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” Cat Power brings it all back home, from a woman’s point of view.