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  • Bass & Mandolin, the second recording collaboration by bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile, features ten original compositions by the two artists, who have been performing together sporadically for more than a decade and made their recording debut as a duo with 2008’s Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile. Meyer also plays piano on the album and Thile plays guitar. Grammy Award Winner: Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance.

  • Bass & Mandolin, the second recording collaboration by bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile, features ten original compositions by the two artists, who have been performing together sporadically for more than a decade and made their recording debut as a duo with 2008’s Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile. Meyer also plays piano on the album and Thile plays guitar. Grammy Award Winner: Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance.

  • John Adams's City Noir (2009), inspired by LA "noir" films of the 1940s and '50s, and the debut recording of his 2012 Saxophone Concerto are performed here by the St. Louis Symphony led by David Robertson, featuring saxophonist Timothy McAllister. "Dense, brash and exuberant," says the New York Times, "these two stellar works by John Adams are love letters to the confidence of the 1950s and a time when some of the greatest feats of virtuosity were often performed in smoky jazz clubs ... McAllister sizzles." Grammy Award Winner: Best Orchestral Performance.

  • Old Yellow Moon is the first official collaboration from Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell since Crowell joined Harris’ Hot Band in 1975. The 12-track duets album features songs written by Crowell as well as interpretations of songs by Hank DeVito, Roger Miller, Allen Reynolds, and others. Among the world-renowned musicians on the album are Stuart Duncan, Vince Gill, Bill Payne, and members of the original Hot Band. "It hearkens back to classic recordings like Harris' Elite Hotel and Crowell's Diamonds and Dirt," says NPR Music, "and brings the best out of the two veterans." Grammy Award Winner for Best Americana Album.

  • For the first time since his 1980 release 80/81, Metheny has recorded with a band that features tenor saxophone. Unity Band introduces a new Metheny ensemble of the same name with Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and the up-and-coming Ben Williams on bass. The album features nine new Metheny compositions, "each one exquisitely performed and uniquely absorbing," says the Observer. All About Jazz says Unity Band is "unequivocally one of Metheny's finest—an album that's sure to find its way to 'best of' lists for 2012." Grammy Award winner for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

  • Storied musician and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John—Mac Rebennack—releases Locked Down, a startling album that marks a significant departure from his recent efforts. The new album, produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, is an entirely new approach for the iconic Dr. John, featuring as it does his collaboration with Auerbach and a band of young musicians Auerbach hand-picked to make Locked Down at his Nashville studio. "Full of muscled, vintage R&B grooves, fevered soloing, psychedelic arrangements and oracular mumbo jumbo," says Rolling Stone, "it's the wildest record he's made in many years." Dr. John, says NPR, "proves that now, as always, he's the ruler of American roots music." Grammy Award winner for Best Blues Album.

  • Produced by Danger Mouse and The Black Keys, the band's seventh studio album was recorded at singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound studio in the band’s new hometown of Nashville during the spring of 2011. "They sound like a band who think they've made the year's best rock 'n' roll album," says the Guardian, "probably because that's exactly what they've done." The Independent calls it "by some distance the most powerful, compelling rock album of the year." El Camino has earned three Grammy Awards.

  • Biophilia is an interdisciplinary exploration of the universe and its physical forces—particularly those where music, nature, and technology meet—inspired by these relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena, from the atomic to the cosmic. The BBC raves: "An amazing, inventive and wholly unique eighth album from an artist without peer." NPR calls it "astounding." Grammy Award winner for Best Best Recording Package.

  • The Grammy-winning original cast recording of Nixon in China, first released in 1988, "has an eloquence not since matched," says the Los Angeles Times. This reissue, released to coincide with the opera's February 2011 Met premiere, includes the original, composer-supervised recording on three CDs, plus a 68-page booklet with new notes by Adams and director Peter Sellars, along with the original liner notes by librettist Alice Goodman and by Michael Steinberg, which the Times called "a revelation."

  • The New York Times has called The Black Keys’ music “tough-minded, blues haunted songs,” and the ghosts of Alabama's legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, where the bulk of Brothers was recorded, inhabit the album's 15 tracks. Time Out, in a five-star review, calls it "a sonic wonderland"; Uncut says it proves The Black Keys to be "one of the best rock 'n' roll bands on the planet." The album won four Grammy awards, including Best Alternative Album.

  • The second and last album pairing guitar virtuoso Ali Farka Touré and kora master Toumani Diabaté, Ali and Toumani won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album. Recorded in 2005, with contributions from Cachaíto López on bass, the album is the successor to the Grammy-winning In the Heart of the Moon and is the last recorded by both Touré and López. Pitchfork says it's "uncommonly beautiful." NPR calls it "breathtaking."

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