Don’t you just love it when you come across an unexpected delight? Something that takes you away from your norms, but which somehow is rooted in your past, the gold standard for what you love? 

The Ones Ahead by Beverly Glenn-Copeland falls full square into this category for me. It’s as if it has been in my consciousness forever, without me knowing. This beautiful, modest person’s organic-based music seems to come from nowhere and everywhere. I watched a film (unfortunately it's behind a paywall) about her/him and was amazed at the aura and the journey for one to another… to other. This is one of my finds of the year.

Elsewhere August was a mix of catching up on albums I had rejected or ignored many years ago, and newer albums that I loved hearing.

In the first category, I had always assumed Joan Baez, Roxy Music, Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen were creations, artists whose place in popular culture was earned through image and stories, not for their music. Of these Joan Baez particularly caught my feet up from under me, and taught me a sharp lesson about assumptions and prejudices. Shame on me!

It’s also lovely to find albums you’ve never heard by people you are already into. I’ve always dug Dr John’s vibe in his shamanic voodoo kinda way. Against that is his thoughtful solo piano album Dr John Plays Mac Rabennack, which has been one of my favourite albums for decades. Such wonderful playing – funky, clever, sensitive, affectionate. This time I listened to his album of Duke Ellington pieces, and it’s so worth a listen for that crossover between latter day New Orleans swamp and great early jazz.

Dr John doing his solo thing

Another of my very fave artists of all time is Rickie Lee Jones, especially her first two albums with their Steely Dan-like sound, great session playing and witty, idiosyncratic songs. How I missed out on the album Flying Cowboys I’ll never know! Glad to have caught up!  Here's a video of her singing her most famous song live, solo. To me the spare treatment is an object lesson in funky economy, and has been the model for some of my own song-writing. I wish! This woman is a genius: does what she wants, how she wants, and has the confidence to go with daring space. I love this video 

Rickie Lee Jones - Chuck E's In Love

But really I have three albums of the month…. First, young drummer Tyshawn Sorey with his trio playing collective jazz - respectful of roots but moving effortlessly forward. Seeing the trio next week at the London Jazz Festival! Similarly collaborative, but more expansive sonically, is Meshell Ndegeocello’s new album. I adored this mixture of groovy thoughtfulness, melodic turns and communal music making. A truly wonderful album. If you don't like this video, we can't be friends. Simples!

Meshell Ndegocello from her fabulous album The Omnichord Real Book

And away from jazz and folk – almost in classical territory, I’d never paid attention to Max Richter before. This is perfect mindfulness music, alongside my recent new favourites of Olafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm. The Blue Notebooks is a slowly unfurling album that I will come back to again and again.



  1. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Let Me Get By
  2. Joan Baez - Joan Baez
  3. Wes Montgomery - The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
  4. Bridget St John - Songs For The Gentle Man
  5. Rónan Ó Snodaigh, Myles O'Reilly - The Beautiful Road
  6. Peatbog Faeries - I See a World
  7. Crosby Stills & Nash - CSN
  8. Cleo Sol - Rose in the Dark
  9. Janis Joplin - Pearl
  10. Simon & Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
  11. Imelda May - Life Love Flesh Blood
  12. The Who - Who's Next
  13. Capercailiie - Crosswinds
  14. Jeff Beck - Emotion & Commotion
  15. Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were
  16. Jaco Pastorius - Jaco
  17. Soft Machine - Fourth
  18. Darrell Scott - Old Cane Back Rocket
  19. Buddy Miller - Your Love And Other Lies
  20. Damir Imamovic - The World And All It Holds
  21. The Nonidentical - Material Tropes
  22. Coral Sea - If Memory Serves Me
  23. Beverly Glenn-Copeland - The Ones Ahead
  24. Judee Sill - Heart Food
  25. Tyshawn Sorey - Continuing 
  26. Donovan - Beat Cafe
  27. Bill Withers - Still Bill
  28. Nat King Cole - After Midnight 
  29. Crowded House - Woodface
  30. The Guess Who - Share The Land
  31. Dory Previn - Mythical Kings And Iguanas
  32. Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli - Minor Swing
  33. Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames - Fame At Last
  34. Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks
  35. Michael Nyman / Camilli String Quartet - String Quartet No.4; Three Quartets
  36. Ben Chasny - The Intimate Landscape
  37. Ani DiFranco - Revolutionary Love
  38. Rickie Lee Jones - Flying Cowboys
  39. Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny - Quartet
  40. Joan Shelley - Over and Even
  41. Breabach - Astar 
  42. B.B. King - One Kind Favor
  43. Dr. John - Duke Elegant
  44. Anna Tivel - Outsiders (Live in a Living Room)
  45. Jim Mullen - Somewhere In The Hills
  46. Melanie - Candles In The Rain
  47. Dave Dobbyn - Twist
  48. Meshell Ndegeocello - The Omnichord Real Book
  49. Parliament - Mothership Connection
  50. Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch
  51. Leonard Cohen - I’m Your Man
  52. Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
  53. George Benson - Give Me The Night

To date: 337


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