Fall Pop Music Preview: An Abundance of Rhythms and Styles
By JON PARELES, BEN RATLIFF, JON CARAMANICA and NATE CHINEN
Published: September 6, 2013
All dates are subject to change.
RALPH ALESSI Mr. Alessi has been a calm, exacting and, sometimes, fascinating presence on New York bandstands over the last two decades. He’s a good collaborator with leaders like Ravi Coltrane, Steve Coleman and Fred Hersch; in his own groups, he balances elegant precision and power. “Baida” (ECM) is his first album with a new quartet including the pianist Jason Moran, bassist Drew Gress and Nasheet Waits. (Mr. Alessi and the Baida quartet also performs at Jazz Standard on Sept. 24-25.) Tuesday. (Ben Ratliff)
MICHELE ROSEWOMAN Ms. Rosewoman, the pianist and composer, was an important part of the 1980s movement that merged jazz improvisers and Afro-Cuban music; with her band, New Yor-Uba, she gravitated toward the bata-drums-and-vocals tradition of Cuban religious music and the possibilities of post-mainstream jazz. Celebrating 30 years of the band — which now includes the Cuban master drummer-singers Pedrito Martinez and Roman Díaz — she’ll be playing two nights at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; she’s also releasing a fine CD of new material, “New Yor-Uba — 30 Years: A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America” (Advance Dance Disques). Tuesday. (B.R.)
EARTH, WIND & FIRE With “Now, Then & Forever” (Legacy), its first studio album of new songs since 2005, Earth, Wind & Fire sets out to reclaim what made it one of the best-selling groups of the 1970s: Philip Bailey’s falsetto, a peppy horn section and messages of love, consolation and worthy aspirations. Album, Tuesday. Concerts, Sept. 24-25, Beacon Theater. (Jon Pareles)
GOLDFRAPP Goldfrapp, the duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, bravely set aside their usual electronics and dance beats on “Tales of Us” (Mute), an album that turns instead to pensive orchestral pop: sometimes meditative, sometimes sweepingly dramatic. On the album’s American release date, Tuesday, the Wordless Music Orchestra will accompany Goldfrapp in concert at the Beacon Theater. (J.P.)
ARCTIC MONKEYS A move to California — living in Los Angeles, recording in Joshua Tree — has nudged the sound of a very English band, Arctic Monkeys, toward stoner-rock on its fifth album, “AM” (Domino). The guitars add heft, distortion and some unison riffing; the tempos don’t rush. But the band is only tinged, not transformed. The Monkeys are still the hard-nosed chroniclers of relationships that can be summed up in song titles like “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” Tuesday. (J.P.)
SHERYL CROW Sheryl Crow’s music has always had a streak of country, and now she goes full Nashville on “Feels Like Home” (Warner Nashville), even collaborating on a song with Brad Paisley. Her voice is as approachable as ever amid twangy guitars and honky-tonk piano, and alongside songs about open roads, romance and going out drinking are more personal glimpses of grown-up life, like dating as a single mother. Tuesday. (J.P.)
KEITH URBAN Keith Urban will be the only holdover judge on “American Idol” next season, more a testament to the show’s need for a bit of consistency and his own need for exposure than to the potency of his commentary, which was low last year. But hey, he’s got an album to promote, “Fuse” (Capitol Nashville), on which his familiar lite-country will reportedly be rounded out with work he did with more pop-oriented producers like Butch Walker and Mike Elizondo. Tuesday. (Jon Caramanica)
WILLIS EARL BEAL Two and a half years ago, Willis Earl Beal was a barely known artist and musician for whom the ‘outsider’ tag would have been a step up. He made a sometimes beautiful and sometimes odd blues-soul album, played some challenging live shows, then retreated. His second album, “Nobody knows.” (HXC/XL), is a more coherent, more polished affair, which would appear to be playing against his strengths, but may just be him coming into his stability. Tuesday. (J.C.)
2 CHAINZ A victory for 2 Chainz is a victory for all underdogs. The Atlanta rapper has become one of hip-hop’s signature voices of the last couple of years, after years of sideline and B-team duty. His second solo album promises oodles of excitable raps, and has a name that could only come from someone newly on top and searching for a little calm: “B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time” (Def Jam). Tuesday. (J.C.)
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: September 15, 2013
An entry last Sunday in the New Season pop music listings described incorrectly the songs that Massive Attack will play at Park Avenue Armory Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. The band will play a wide assortment of cover versions, in addition to a few of its own songs; it will not perform just its own work.