nat baldwin M V P (CD, £10.95)label: Broken Sparrow
Outstanding new album from Nat Baldwin (last heard in the UK on an Orange advert in late 2006, and with a great full length in early 2007). Most Valuable Player is the new solo album from the ex-Dirty Projector. Produced by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, it's been called "one of the finest albums this year will see" by Said the Gramophone. A double bass-wielding instrumentalist and haunting vocalist, Nat Baldwin starts Most Valuable Player with the haunting composition 'Lake Erie' that sees the 28-year-old at his most confident and emotive. Likened to a contemporary Arthur Russell, Baldwin recorded the album with additional help from the Dirty Projectors' melismatic maestro Dave Longstreth.The album's title is a nod to Baldwin's days as a Northeast high school basketball champion who turned down scholarship offers to pursue jazz instead. Baldwin studied under free jazz legend Anthony Braxton, an influence evident on unbridled tracks such as 'Look She Said' which help to demonstrate the breadth of Baldwin's capabilities and with songs ranging from the full and anthemic 'Mask I Wear' to the sparse and melodic 'One Two Three'.
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