This edition celebrates and marks the 50th anniversary (December 6, 1960) of the death of the great Romanian-born pianist.
Paolo Fresu's Songlines/Night & Blue is a beautiful performance by a musician who does not feel compelled to prove himself with pyrotechnics. Instead, on this two-disc set, the Italian trumpeter prefers speaking his piece with lush melodies and a rich full horn sound, supported by an exceptional quartet. Being an Italian album, it seems appropriate to use a few musical terms. The entire affair, around 140 minutes in length, is taken sostenuto (smoothly), with a pace that slides between adagio (slowly) and andante (walking), but never goes much faster than that. But this down-tempo consistency should not be confused with sloth. Everything here is tightly played, with some real intensity from the musicians; it's just not going to wake the neighbors with frenetic thunder.
There was never any disputing the strong country influence Eilen Jewell brought to her retro-pop-folk, so it's no surprise that she detours into this short but extremely sweet tribute to one of her obvious influences, Loretta Lynn. It's a natural side road, especially since Jewell's sumptuous voice is similar to Lynn's, as is her delivery. Jewell already recorded Lynn's "The Darkest Day" on her previous album, but the dozen selections here are not the coal miner's daughter's best-known tunes, despite the obvious resemblance of the cover art to 1968's iconic Loretta Lynn's Greatest Hits. Rather, the tracks are carefully chosen to reflect only Lynn's original compositions that highlight her often defiant, genre-expanding lyrics and diverse topics, which range from offbeat gospel ("Who Says God Is Dead") to brazen infidelity ("Another Man Loved Me Last Night.").
Now known as “Queen” Esther Marrow, her gospel and stage performances have made her a worldwide concert draw. She recorded two sought-after funk albums early in her career, marked by some excellent songs and fantastic musicianship. “Sister Woman” was her second LP and has the great combination of a killer band, that included Bernard Purdie, Cornell Dupree and Richard Tee and choice songs. ‘Things Ain’t Right’ and ‘And When I Die’ are funk-fuelled floorfillers, and her cover of ‘The Ghetto’ is simply amazing.
Erik Satie's music is timeless and beautiful, but can it stand up to interpretation by downtown New York jazzbos? In the hands of Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen the answer is a resounding "YES!" Willis' arrangements are as brilliant as they are varied. There are some straightforward readings (as on most of the Nocturnes) right alongside some pretty inventive and even daring ones. Second Gymnopedie starts as an accordion-sax-drums trio, then slides almost imperceptibly to a guitar-trumpet-drums trio. John Hollenbeck's alway engaging drumwork ties it all together, but the really amazing thing is how much the tune now resembles Miles Davis' "All Blues!"
Phil Woods & His European Rhythm Machine was a brilliant though short-lived quartet that made a handful of albums between 1968 and 1973, though most of them are long out of print. Happily, this early studio effort, with pianist George Gruntz, bassist Henri Texier, and drummer Daniel Humair, has been reissued in Japan by Toshiba-EMI, all of whom provide first-rate rhythmic support and make the most of their solos. The leader's "And When We Are Young" was written in tribute to Senator Robert Kennedy, who was gunned down by a cowardly assassin in the spring of 1968 in the midst of Kennedy's celebration of his presidential primary victory in California. The piece begins with a mournful dirge before cutting loose with some wailing post-bop.
Born in Brooklyn, raised in Switzerland, resident of Toronto, and recording in Memphis, singer Shakura S'Aida turns in her second solo album, Brown Sugar, for the German Ruf Records label. On her first CD, UMI's Blueprint, she sang blues cover songs from the 1940s and ‘50s, but here she and her guitarist, Donna Grantis, have penned nine of the 11 songs themselves. They have done so in some familiar blues styles, starting with the opening trio of 12-bar blues tunes, "Mr. Right," "Walk Out That Door," and "Gonna Tell My Baby," then going on to less hardcore variations such as the blues-rock found on "(Did It)" Break Your Heart" and the bluesy piano ballad "Angel on High"…
Greatest Hits II is a compilation album by country music artist Kenny Chesney. It was released on May 19, 2009, and it is his second greatest hits album since Greatest Hits in 2000. The album includes twelve singles from 2002 to 2009, as well as two non-singles from previous albums ("Be as You Are" from Be as You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair) and "I'm Alive" from Lucky Old Sun). Also included is the new song "Out Last Night", which was issued as a single in April 2009, followed by "I'm Alive" in August 2009. The album was re-released on February 9, 2010 to include two new tracks, "This Is Our Moment" and "Ain't Back Yet". The former was used by the television network ESPN as a college football theme and peaked at number 46 based on unsolicited airplay, while the latter was released to radio as the album's single in February 2010.
Le Concert Spirituel was essentially a Parisian concert series held at the Tuileries Palace, begun in 1725 as an opportunity for musical performances during Lent and other Holy Days when secular musical activities like opera were forbidden. The concerts continued until 1790, just after the beginning of the French Revolution. The music of French composers filled most of the programs, but German and Italian music was occasionally heard, and this CD includes five pieces by Corelli, Telemann, and Rameau that were known to have been played at the concerts. Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations, one of the many stellar ensembles he is responsible for founding, play these works with such surging vibrancy that anyone who thinks of the Baroque as a period of stiff formality would be disabused of that notion on hearing these performances.