In many cases, collections of musical odds and ends - a live rarity here, an alternate take there - can be uneven and inconsistent. And the people they're aimed at - mainly diehard fans and serious collectors - are willing to live with that. They have more than just a casual interest in the artist's work, and even the less-from-essential stuff excites and intrigues them. Assembled in 2002 - five years after Luther Allison's death - Pay It Forward is the sort of odds-and-ends collection that tends to appeal to diehard fans rather than casual listeners. This CD, which spans 1985-1996, contains an abundance of previously unreleased material and ranges from various live performances to an alternate version of the dark, brooding "Cherry Red Wine."
This volume in the Chronological Classics Ben Webster series is a fascinating slice during a wildly transitional period for the saxophonist. In the years between 1946-1951, Webster made numerous jumps as evidenced by these tracks, from the glorious jumping big swing of "The Jeep Is Jumpin'" while he was with Bill De Arango to the searing bebop of "Dark Corners" (with some blazing guitar work by De Arango) to the small-combo hard bop of "Randle's Island" to the bluesy, near soul-jazz balladry of "You're My Thrill." In Webster's company are some masters to be sure, including Maynard Ferguson, Al Haig, Big Sid Catlett, Bill Coleman, Benny Carter, Tony Scott, Buster Moten, and Gerald Wiggins, to name a few. This is varied set in terms of style, but these performances (and sound) are consistently fine.
Despite its moronic libretto, the opera was an enormous success at its premiere in Naples in 1822, and even Bellini wrote nice things about the second-act septet. Donizetti mixes buffo and serious characters, as well as Neapolitan dialect (there are no recitatives; numbers are separated by spoken dialogue) with “pure” Italian, and the absurd plot is (sort of) held together by the clever Argilla, who under the guise of telling fortunes gains entry to people’s feelings as well as to every area of the castle. Is it a masterpiece? Even close? No, but there are niceties galore–rhythmic arias and ensembles, good (if typical) characterizations, and good tunes.