Pianist Youri Egorov first came to international prominence as the clear favorite among the 1977 Van Cliburn Competition’s semi-finalists. When Egorov failed to make the finals, outraged audience members raised funds to match the $10,000 first prize and present their hero in his New York recital debut. The critics raved, and Egorov’s career took off, flourishing for 10 years until his tragically early death from AIDS in 1988 at age 33.
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Although brief at just over 42 minutes long, this is a satisfying effort from pianist Kenny Barron. His second Enja release documents a quintet consisting of trumpeter Wallace Roney, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Victor Lewis. The entire quintet is showcased on four Barron originals, the haunting melody of "Phantoms," the freebop of the title track, the relaxed swing of "Voyage," and the lovely waltz "Lullabye."
As well as Sir Charles's first recording of Janácek's Sinfonietta, this 5-CD set also showcases him performing the music of other composers whose music he was particularly famed for the world over.
The 43 tracks that make up the first part of the The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 of Louis Armstrong are remarkable not only for the outstanding performances they reflect, but for the many settings Armstrong recorded in during the era. While none of this material will come as a surprise to collectors, those who are starting to check out Armstrong's post-New Orleans period would do themselves a favor in scoping this collection because the Decca years, even more so than his long tenure with Verve, showcase Armstrong at the pinnacle of American popular music, and that that music happens to be jazz is even more revelatory.
The shortest album of Black Sabbath's glory years, Master of Reality is also their most sonically influential work. Here Tony Iommi began to experiment with tuning his guitar down three half-steps to C#, producing a sound that was darker, deeper, and sludgier than anything they'd yet committed to record. (This trick was still being copied 25 years later by every metal band looking to push the limits of heaviness, from trendy nu-metallers to Swedish deathsters.) Much more than that, Master of Reality essentially created multiple metal subgenres all by itself, laying the sonic foundations for doom, stoner and sludge metal, all in the space of just over half an hour…