It would have been groundbreaking enough for the Israeli Ofra Haza to have performed an album of Yemeni Jewish songs. But when she and producer Bezalel Aloni added synthesizers, drum machines, and a generous helping of dance beats, they ended up creating one of the seminal records of world music–one of the very first ethno-techno releases whose reverberations extended into dance clubs around the globe, most especially with "Galbi." While its contemporary sound might make it seem shallow, there really is a lot of depth here, the lyrics coming from the poetry of 16th-century rabbi Shalom Shabazi. Along with fellow spirits like Dissidenten, Haza helped pave the way for Transglobal Underground, Natacha Atlas, and Banco de Gaia.
Three CD box set of Chick Corea’s piano music, reminding us that the distinguished solo piano tradition at ECM started in 1971 with Corea’s spontaneously-recorded volumes of improvisations and jazz tunes (all by Chick save for Monk’s “Trinkle, Tinkle” and Wayne Shorter’s “Masqualero”). The “Children’s Songs”, recorded in 1983, are finely-honed yet playful solo piano miniatures that can be related to the tradition of Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos” and Kurtág’s “Játékok”. Violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Fred Sherry join Chick for an “Addendum”. Booklet includes liner notes by Chick Corea and Neil Tesser, plus archive photos.
This 2010 ECM collection Solo Piano Improvisations/Children's Songs brings together three of pianist Chick Corea's '70s solo piano recordings. Included are 1971's Piano Improvisations, Vol. 1, 1972's Piano Improvisations, Vol. 2, and 1984's Children's Songs. These reflective, atmospheric, but quite technically agile recordings found Corea exploring and discovering new ways of expressing himself alone at the piano. ~ AllMusic
Collection includes all studio albums at the moment: Alf (1984); Raindancing (1987); Hoodoo (1991) EU and Japanese press; Essex (1994); Hometime (2002); Voice (2004); The Turn (2007); The Minutes (2013)
This was one of Mtume's '80s "sophisti-funk" projects, with a mix of socially conscious lyrics, love songs, and uptempo cuts, plus collective vocals and sparing production and arrangements. The title cut was a huge R&B hit, peaking at number two and even generating some crossover pop action. Mtume got two other R&B smashes, one in the Top 20, and the album proved one of his best. A former jazz percussionist, Mtume moved into urban contemporary and funk in the late '70s and became one of the more successful producers and performers in both styles during the '80s. The son of the great jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, Mtume was a conga player and percussionist who recorded and toured with Miles Davis and was featured on albums by the Heath Brothers, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and Freddie Hubbard.
R.E.M. abandoned the enigmatic post-punk experiments of Murmur for their second album, Reckoning, returning to their garage pop origins instead. Opening with the ringing "Harborcoat," Reckoning runs through a set of ten jangle pop songs that are different not only in sound but in style from the debut. Where Murmur was enigmatic in its sound, Reckoning is clear, which doesn't necessarily mean that the songs themselves are straightforward. Michael Stipe continues to sing powerful melodies without enunciating, but the band has a propulsive kick that makes the music vital and alive. And, if anything, the songwriting is more direct and memorable than before – the interweaving melodies of "Pretty Persuasion" and the country rocker "(Don't Go Back To) Rockville" are as affecting as the melancholic dirges of "Camera" and "Time After Time," while the ringing minor-key arpeggios of "So. Central Rain," the pulsating riffs of "7 Chinese Bros.," and the hard-rocking rhythms of "Little America" make the songs into classics. On the surface, Reckoning may not be as distinctive as Murmur, but the record's influence on underground American rock in the '80s was just as strong.