The veteran sweet-voiced singer's fourth GRP album is perhaps her most musically diverse, covering an ambitious range of material. While each successive album she's recorded over that period has given the versatile entertainer an opportunity to showcase different elements of her artistry, this album gives her the chance to highlight her skills as a vocal stylist and interpreter with few peers.
In the summer of 2016 I lived in Ibiza. I played 50 sunsets on the Spanish island and across the Mediterranean in Italy. When the season was over, reflecting on this busy time, I decided that my favourite place wasn’t so much one physical place, it was more a feeling that occurred at a certain time of day. My favourite place was anywhere, just before sunset, especially if there was a clear view of the sun setting into the sea.
For the second straight time (and for his second Astor Place release), pianist Cedar Walton sticks to his own compositions for this recording. What is different from his debut on the label is that, in this case, many of the songs have been around awhile, including his classic, "Boliva," "When Love Is New" and "Mode for Joe." Walton and his trio (bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash) are joined by a five-man horn section (which includes trumpeter Don Sickler), percussionist Ray Mantilla and, on three songs apiece, a featured guest: tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and/or guitarist Mark Whitfield. Everyone plays up to par (Redman, in particular, is in fine form), and overall, this is a solid, modern hard bop date that reaches its potential.
It's hard to pick a favorite Curtis Mayfield album, and my judgment is surely clouded by the fact that this album was under-celebrated at the time and still often overlooked. But as speaking objectively as I can, this is surely Mayfield at the top of his game. And possibly my favorite album. Clive Anderson's liner notes on this Charly reissue may be a bit pretentious, opening up with a citation from Wordsworth, but they do pretty much nail the album and do it justice. The album is like an extended meditation on the American underclass, and particularly the despair in the Black communities in the mid-70s.
1100 Bel Air Place was designed as Julio Iglesias' breakthrough to the American audience, finding the Latin superstar recording with producer Richard Perry – the architect behind blockbusters by Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson – and duetting with such established American superstars as Diana Ross, Stan Getz, the Beach Boys and Willie Nelson…