This is a follow up release of additional material from the May 1994 concerts at the Village Vanguard by the 20-something piano sensation, the first volume having been released in 1995 to wide attention. Onishi is a master of the post-bop piano, playing with speed and command. She is also characterized by a heavy-handed, propulsive approach.
When saxophonist John Lurie originally formed the Lounge Lizards in 1978, it was a type of joke band, a satirical group that made fun of the idea of a jazz combo. However, after a short time he began taking the music much more seriously without losing his wit. The 1991 version of the Lounge Lizards was potentially one of his strongest, featuring such notables as saxophonist Michael Blake, trumpeter Steven Bernstein and vibraphonist Bryan Carrott.
Wardance shows many of the attributes associated to symphonic rock, from a surrealistic record cover and detailed information about what amplifiers and cymbals the band uses, to song titles like "Star Maiden/Mysterioso/Quasar." But even though Colosseum II had much in common with symphonic rock, they were more of a jazz-rock or fusion band. While none of the musicians are anything even close to restrictive in their playing, Moore's solo guitar is what many of the songs are built up around. His distinctive way of playing, while still in development, is clearly heard, as are similarities to his first solo album Grinding Stone, especially in the album's only vocal song, "Castles." This was the second album released by Colosseum II in 1977, and their third in two years.
Colosseum II was a British band formed in 1975 by the former Colosseum drummer and leader, Jon Hiseman, following the 1974 demise of his band Tempest. Hiseman announced his plan to form the band eventually named Colosseum II in November 1974, but only Gary Moore was named as a member. Rehearsals were due to begin on January 1, 1975, but a permanent unit was not finalised until May 1975. Among musicians who almost made the group were Graham Bell, Duncan Mackay and Mark Clarke. The final line-up was completed by Don Airey, Neil Murray and Mike Starrs. The band was oriented toward jazz fusion, much of which was driven by the guitar work of Moore, leading to a much heavier sound than the original Colosseum band.
Several years after the original art rock supergroup Colosseum disbanded, drummer Jon Hiseman formed Colosseum II, a more jazz fusion-oriented outfit featuring guitarist Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy) and keyboardist Don Airey. Their eclectic debut, Strange New Flesh, shows some impressive chops from all involved, with an emphasis on Moore's soulful guitar leads. Vocalist Mike Starr, while not an immensely engaging singer, does a nice job keeping up with Hiseman and bass player Neil Murray. Highlights include the technically showy but blissfully irreverent ode to Pink Floyd, "Dark Side of the Moog," a nice version of Joni Mitchell's "Down to You," and the funky "Gemini and Leo."
This 1997 follow-up to The Naked Truth repeats the basic "live and acoustic" formula of that album, but it isn't the uninspired retread one might expect. Since the last album used most of the group's familiar numbers, this collection of songs digs deeper into the group's catalog to highlight some lesser-known gems that will delight Golden Earring fanatics. Two of the best examples are "Buddy Joe," a rousing adventure tale that translates perfectly to the acoustic setting, and "Bombay," a tune that takes an almost hoedown-style quality when stripped of its electric guitars. The set list also includes a few covers that appeared on Love Sweat, "Who Do You Love" and "This Wheel's on Fire." Both songs are ideally suited to the stripped-down atmosphere and are given performances that are energetic enough to make the listener forget this album is not electric.
Known for his solo hits in the 1980s as well as his hits with the band Smokie in the '70s, Chris Norman is a British soft rock singer with an international following whose career spans several decades. As Smokie's popularity trailed off around the turn of the decade, Norman split from the band and made his solo album debut in 1982 with Rock Away Your Teardrops. While his debut album was fairly unsuccessful, his second full-length effort, Some Hearts Are Diamonds (1986), was another story, spawning the international Top Ten smash hit single "Midnight Lady." Norman's popularity was greatest in Germany, where he racked up several additional hits during the late '80s, among them "No Arms Can Ever Hold You," "Sarah (You Take My Breath Away)," and "Broken Heroes."