What the music blog allows me to do differently, is to listen to the entire album, in context, and then decide if this is something I'd like to have in my collection, with art, liner notes, etc. It's because of this that I have recently not only purchased a bunch of fusion CDs, but also a batch of West Coast and avant-garde sessions that I never would have glanced at in the old days while looking through the racks at Tower Records or Borders. Combining these new (to me) spheres of music is an LP that I find absolutely wonderful: Gerry Mulligan's The Age of Steam. For one thing--and probably the most important--this session finds Mulligan abandoning his effete counterpoint for a more robust style that is incredibly satisfying. For another, he shares solo duties equally with the other members of the group: Bob Brookmeyer, Roger Kellaway, Tom Scott, and Stephen Goldman. Great music, and great solos, with the Fender Rhodes about the only thing that dates it in any way.
But it gets better. The DVD of Age of Steam has a fantastic documentary Listen: Gerry Mulligan, a section with Gerry himself leading viewers through a master class, other contributors to his album giving interviews, lead sheets to the tunes and a ton of other stuff. In addition, the DVD also comes with a copy of the CD--for the price, it's a nice set. Not only has this become a satisfying addition to my DVD music library, more importantly, I never would have looked twice at it had I not been able to download the album first from a music blog. And while there are plenty of albums that we all have that we don't like well enough to buy but don't hate enough to delete, the music blog serves an important function that I hope is allowed to continue for a long time.