When Musical Worlds Combine

Musical collaborations are often the most talked about moments of award shows, benefit concerts and music festivals. Too seldom do those collaborators end up creating and recording new music together. In the last several months we’ve seen surprising collaborations where the resulting album seems greater than the sum of its parts.

Primus frontman Les Claypool teamed up with Sean Lennon after their bands toured together in 2015. Setting out to create a psychedelic prog rock album, the pair shared lyrics, vocal duties and played all the instruments. Claypool’s bass gives the album a solid low end, with Lennon’s guitar and vocal harmonies provide an energy and levity not always found on Claypool projects. One of the more entertaining surprises of the year so far.

Monolith of Phobos

Rare enough for two talented singer/songwriters to collaborate, here is a trio album of the likes not heard since Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton released their two Trio recordings in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Here three talented singers support each other, trading lyrics and harmonies in a heartfelt collection of new music.

Case, Lang, Veirs

Immensely popular British band Mumford & Sons recorded this too-short collection of songs while touring South Africa with Senegalese superstar vocalist Baaba Maal.  The EP also features afro-pop bands the Very Best, and Beatenberg.   Several of these songs would feel right at home at a Mumford & Sons arena show, while Baaba Maal's soaring vocals elevate any music to new heights.

Johannesburg

Although this CD came out almost two years ago,  Tony Bennett just celebrated his 90th birthday, and he seems unwilling to slow down.  Mr. Bennett’s long career has frequently featured collaborations with jazz, pop and rock stars.  Rumors persist that he will work on another album with Lady Gaga in 2017, meanwhile his next collaboration might very well be with Beyoncé.

Cheek to Cheek

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