You can't argue with a great concept: Songs sung by Frank Sinatra are interpreted by a slew of indie rock and punk bands. A great concept, but one that makes for truly (and gloriously) unpredictable results. Chairman of the Board is, of course, not a perfect record, but it offers up some true gems.
This cheerful holiday comedy, a surprise box office smash, featured a generous dollop of raunchy, crude humor and was greatly elevated by the presence of masterful performers in the lead roles. Jack Lemmon is John Gustafson, an ice-fishing Minnesota native who has been feuding with his neighbor and former best friend Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) for decades. The battle of wills between John and Max is characterized by crude name calling and harmless practical jokes. Max is unaware that John is having serious problems, chiefly that his daughter Melanie (Daryl Hannah) is experiencing marital woes and that his house is about to be confiscated by an officious IRS agent (Buck Henry). When it seems that John and Max may finally put aside their childish rivalry, however, sexy new neighbor Ariel (Ann-Margret) arrives and dates both men, pitting them against each other more fiercely than ever before. Despite their mutual loathing, the death of a friend, John's problems, and a budding romance between Max's son Jacob (Kevin Pollak) and Melanie may force the two old friends to reconcile.
For a man of such talent and influence, New Orleans piano legend James Booker is amazingly under-recorded. This disc and its partner (Spiders on the Keys) offer up some measure of what the folks of the Big Easy might have heard if they caught Booker on one of his "on" nights (he was a known drug user and inconsistent in his playing). He is at his best here (recorded at the Maple Leaf between 1972-1982), focused and intense in his playing, wildly passionate on both keyboards and vocals.
Nigel Kennedy’s repackaged 1986 recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is an adventure – free, rhapsodic, emphasising the constant flow of song which is the work’s main asset. Perhaps he’s a little over-keen to emphasise what melancholy there is here, nearly bringing the outer movements to a halt with the bitter-sweet dreams of second subjects, but the Canzonetta is a miracle of introspection. All this passes Gil Shaham by. While the young Israeli clearly has a fabulous palette, conjuring a bright, beautiful sheen at the top of the instrument (though unduly spotlit by DG), he rarely uses it discriminatingly enough, and the sense of flexible movement so vital for the Tchaikovsky is missing.
Progressive rock bands like Camel have to be creative in their touring schedules, often traveling to Europe in order to find a substantial concentration of fans in a single place. So it was that Camel arrived with their 20th anniversary tour at Enschede, Holland. After their tenth anniversary tour (which found them promoting The Single Factor), few would have predicted a 20th, but the release of Dust and Dreams in 1991 suggested the band had found a second creative wind (or at least tapped into the original breeze last felt on Nude). Never Let Go confirms the point that Camel has plenty of life left in it…
Traditional music for Tai Chi classes (the Great Limit) is a Chinese soft martial art, one of the Wushu species. Currently, Tai Chi has become most common as a health gym. The main features of Tai Chi are a soft, rolling step with smooth and continuous movements and "pushing hands" (tui-show). It is not unimportant for the lessons to be made and the sound (music) accompaniment that helps to create the right inner mood.
This aptly named disc showcases James Booker's piano playing; his stretches and runs are breathtaking in their fluidity. This disc (along with its Rounder partner, Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah) was culled from some 60 or so hours of tapes that John Parsons recorded at the Maple Leaf Bar from 1977 to 1982. The main difference in the music on the two discs is that this one is purely instrumental.