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
Styx was one of the titans of the hugely popular AOR movement – along with Boston, Foreigner, Journey, and REO Speedwagon – embraced by the U.S. mainstream in the late '70s and early '80s. The end of the Chicago-based band's peak period coincided with one of the most ambitious and notorious projects of the time, the 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here…
British singer/songwriter Howard Jones was a glinting jewel caught in the avalanche of synthesized music that overwhelmed the pop scene in the '80s. Jones had a true gift for crafting gleaming melodic hooks that make his hits some of the most memorable of the era. He used synthesizers not because they were "in," but because he could use them to create a delicious soundscape that couldn't be created without them. (Later in his career, he proved that he didn't need the electronics to write compelling pop music.) This 12" Album was released in support of his 1984 effort Humans Lib. It includes remixes of four of the hits from that record, including a previously unreleased extended mix of "Pearl in the Shell" and a "new version" of the now-classic "New Song," which features a reworked bass run and a new piano solo. The 12" Album also introduced the catchy "Always Asking Questions." The enclosed "international mix" of "Like to Get to Know You Well" (which was to appear on his next album, Dreams Into Action) is given an appealing reggae-flavored steel band backing.