Sonny Criss plays Cole Porter – and the results are way greater than the sum of the parts – even though those parts are already pretty darn great! Criss' alto sax has a superb tone at this time – razor-sharp, and nicely crisp – yet still filled with warmth that sets it apart from some of his more modern contemporaries – a beautiful balance that really illuminates these tunes, and has you thinking of them as fresh Criss compositions, not older Porter standards. The instrumentation is quite fresh, too – thanks to the addition of Larry Bunker on vibes, which is a really nice surprise – and piano by Sonny Clark and Jimmy Bunn. The great Lawrence Marable plays drums – and titles include "I Love You", "Easy To Love", "Night & Day", and "Love For Sale".
Sarah Vaughan recorded frequently during her three years with Roulette, and all 16 albums she completed for them plus five previously unissued tracks are included in this comprehensive eight-CD boxed set from Mosaic. The gifted singer is heard in a variety of settings, from superb small-group sessions to big-band settings and various dates bordering on easy listening; the sessions omitting the often syrupy string sections are the cream of this bumper crop.
The Greatest makes it clear just how much Chan Marshall grows with each album she releases. Three years on from You Are Free, she sounds reinvented yet again: Marshall returned to Memphis, to make an homage to the Southern soul and pop she listened to as a young girl.
An intimate, personal album, What Would the Community Think makes imperfection beautiful and turns vulnerability into musical strength.–Almusic 4/5
Jackie Brown, Tarantino's long-awaited third feature, finds him exploring new territory, creating an homage to blaxploitation.
Portishead's third album is initially more a record to admire than to love, its muscular synthesisers, drum breaks and abrupt endings keeping the tension high. But after several listens, Third's majesty unfurls. Propulsive Krautrock rhythms and German radio samples conjure up Eastern bloc minimalism in Silence, Small and the jaw-dropping We Carry On, while soft, organic textures add depth to the icy shallows elsewhere. When Deep Water appears, it is shocking: a minute and 33 seconds of sweet ukulele doo-wop that bring to mind a 78 discovered in a nuclear fallout. Elsewhere, the ominously titled Threads and Plastic show how strong Portishead have become.–guardian.co.uk