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September 17th, 2003 JEFF ROSENBERG | Album Reviews
 

the reckoning:

Verdicts on New Music

     
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JEFF BUCKLEY
JEFF BUCKLEY
Live at Sin-é
(Legacy Edition)

Jeff Buckley was a high-wire artist, balancing his impossibly supple voice and wicked guitar atop a line of transcendent influences made all his own. Though this without-a-net career ended with his 1997 drowning death, this new release catches his daredevil act's thrilling first steps. Four tracks from this '93 New York City solo show at Sin-é originally comprised Buckley's debut EP. Now expanded to 21 songs, the recording reveals his brilliance already in full flower. The two discs (and bonus DVD) overflow with charming, hilarious banter and more early versions of songs that would eventually appear on Buckley's full-length debut (and, tragically, swan song), Grace (Sony). Plus, there are jaw-dropping covers of everyone from Dylan and Morrison to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Billie Holiday. Buckley initially hushes the cafe crowd, then builds his songs from nearly naught to foot-stomping, hand-clapping percussion and vocals that soar from a whisper to a scream. From the outset, it's clear the listener's in the presence of a true musical conjurer.

 
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