Chopin's two piano concertos have long been admired more as pianistic vehicles than as integrated works for piano and orchestra. But in his revelatory new recording, Krystian Zimerman suggests otherwise: The opening orchestral tuttis have so much more light, shade, orchestral color, and detail, you wonder if they've been rewritten. Every gesture, every instrumental solo is so specifically characterized that by the time the piano makes a dramatic entrance, the pieces have become operas without words.
This one-disc run through Underworld's 20-year career serves a purpose, yet newcomers should know this prime techno act already has a couple of necessary albums (Dubnobasswithmyheadman and Second Toughest in the Infants), plus there's a companion release to this set (1992-2012) that features the "real" full-length versions of most of these cuts, although you do have to shell out for a second disc. On top of this all, folks intrigued by Underworld generally fall in love with them, so this gateway drug will likely become redundant.
At times, McDuff demonstrates how soul-jazz organ stars used to make albums back in their '60s heyday, playing then-current pop hits like "The Age of Aquarius" and the theme from Mission: Impossible (which, thanks to cinema, was a hit all over again in 1996 when this CD was made). We also hear McDuff trying out his vocal cords for the first time on Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry"; actually, he merely talks the lyrics over the rhythm section – and at 70, he's entitled to this charming lark.