Chris Robinson @crmusicwriter

mostly music, sometimes books


Um….it’s not their second record as a leader. Do your homework.

…haven’t written in a while, time to shake off the rust…..

When Esperanza Spalding’s third album as a leader dropped a few weeks back I read a ton of interviews, short reviews, album descriptions, etc. that said Chamber Music Society (hereafter CMS) was her “sophomore” album. 

BTW, I hate it when people describe someone’s second album as their “sophomore” record.  Ugh, can we please think of another word?  Oh, and the only other thing worse than that are the inevitable questions: “will this record be a sophomore slump?” Plain lazy. 

Anyways, seems like the writers who think CMS is Spalding’s second record are not doing their homework.  Cause it’s not her second record, it’s her third.  Apparently her first, Junjo, doesn’t exist.  But it does, cause I have it, and it’s killing.

And this isn’t the only other recent example.  In this week’s Helping Friendly (yo Phish phans) jazz email from NPR they are giving out free streaming of way-left-of-center guitarist Mary Halvorson’s so called “second” album as a leader, Saturn Sings, before it is released on October 5. 

I’m listening to it right now and it is slamming, and out, and crunchy, and soooo good, which means I’m gonna have to buy it, dammit.  Go here to listen to the record.

Once again, the writer, in this case Lars Gotrich, has forgotten, or never knew, about another previous Halvorson-led date besides the also “slamming, and out, and crunchy” Dragon’s Head.  Turns out there’s another Halvorson record on the oft-forgot hatOLOGY label called Cracklenob.  And another one called Calling All Portraits.  And another one she co-led with violinist Jessica Pavone: it’s called Thin Air.  And another one with Pavone called On and Off.

So jazz writers, and I guess this applies to music writers in general, please check your facts regarding, well…not just everything, but at least how many records a musician has put out.  Don’t just say it’s “their sophomore release” because you only know about one other record from them. 

And this doesn’t take any kind of miraculous knowledge about every artist you write about – because God knows I end up having to write about musicians I’ve never heard of before.  What it takes is an Amazon search, which assuming you have a decent internet connection, should take you approximately 10 seconds.

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