Elvin Jones may have established himself as one of the greatest drummers of all time, but equally important to him was his nurturing of young musicians. His Jazz Machine opened the door to several upcoming musicians, including Delfeayo Marsalis, Antoine Roney and Ravi Coltrane. He characteristically took delight in their playing, thus forging an emphatic bond. His attitude also served to enrich the music of the band.
With longtime bassist Steve Swallow, the return of drummer Roy Haynes, and the debut of guitarist Jerry Hahn, Gary Burton's second quartet continued his open-minded policy toward other styles of music. In addition to both melodic and advanced jazz, Burton incorporates elements of country, rock, pop and even classical music on this fairly rare LP, Country Roads and Other Places. Whether it be a "Ravel Prelude," "Wichita Breakdown" or "My Foolish Heart," the music is full of logical surprises that foreshadow the eclectic nature of much of '80s and '90s jazz.
Same Train, Different Time is Merle Haggard's affectionate tribute to Jimmie Rodgers. Haggard provides narration between the songs, offering tales of Rodgers' life and music. While the album is rooted in the past, the key to its success is how Haggard updates these traditional songs without losing sight of their roots. There are contemporary folk, country and blues influences scattered throughout the record, adding depth to the music and proving that Rodgers' music is indeed timeless.
There's no evidence here that political beatification has mellowed Bob Geldof. If anything, his message has grown more apocalyptic, even as his music broadens to a degree unprecedented in his own catalog. The title gives a pretty clear picture of what this is all about. Whether viciously dismembering some withered media icon on "One for Me" or desiccating a relationship addiction that borders on necrophilia in "Pale White Girls," Geldof maintains the highest pop standards of lyrical expression and musical setting. A punk energy, broken down at times to techno/tribal components or filtered through shimmering electronica, permeates each performance.