The year in recorded music, 2015

Here is some of what I listened to:

1. A big chunk of rap and R&B, centered around Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and D’Angelo, among others.  Marvin Gaye is gone, but we’re actually living in a second golden age.  Enjoy it.

2. Kamasi Washington’s The Epic was the jazz album I’ve enjoyed most.

3. The big box set of the year, which you might otherwise not think of buying, is Hulaland: The Golden Age of Hawaiian Music, excellent across all four discs and full of history.

4. From Syria, I’ll again recommend Dabke: Sounds of the Syrian Houran and Omar Souleyman, both highly worthwhile.

5. In classical music my picks would be Matthew Bengtson, Scriabin piano sonatas, volumes one and two.  He’ll be playing Scriabin in Gaithersburg this Saturday night.

6. By the way, Rubber Soul came out fifty years ago today, which puts it closer to World War I than to 2015.  My favorite song on the album is still “You Won’t See Me”, listen to the background vocals with headphones.

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