The brilliance of this collection is that it combines the standard Brit-punk anthems by the Sex Pistols, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, and Stiff Little Fingers with other great songs that typify the variety and range of punk-era independent music from both sides of the Atlantic. The songs are so well chosen that the punk aesthetic is further revealed by the inclusion of songs that characterize pub rock, new wave, and other related genres. The usual punk suspects ("New Rose," "Anarchy in the UK") are all here, along with many other treasures: Dr. Feelgood's "Milk and Alcohol", Devo's "Mongoloid," Jonathan Richman's "Roadrunner," Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer," and Television's "Marquee Moon." The less commonly anthologized punk selections are inspired, too: the Ruts' "Babylon Is Burning," Generation X's "Ready Steady Go," and X-Ray Spex's "Identity," along with the seminal "Sheena is a Punk Rocker." The conception of the genre is expanded further to include Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, XTC, Joe Jackson, the Pretenders, the Tubes, and Blondie, and their presence overcomes the tendency for boring repetition on a very long collection.
Experimental at the time, this is a difficult listen years later. Recorded live at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival, this album features some challenging compositions by pianist Mike Nock. Violinist Michael White shows why he was a potential star, but this heavily electrified jazz is too abstract for most. The Fourth Way was a pioneering jazz-rock fusion group formed in the late 60s, before the horizons of the genre narrowed, and fusion became a perjorative term. The group was formed in the heady days of the San Francisco music era, comprised of pianist Mike Nock and violinist Michael White (both from the John Handy group), with bassist Ron McLure (from the Charles Lloyd quartet) and drummer Eddie Marshall.
No single box set–however sumptuously packaged, however comprehensively compiled–could hope to contain the bewildering, diverse array of musical styles and opinions that was brought together under the loose description "punk" between 1976 and 1979.
Sonny Stitt goes Latin – and the results are tremendous! The set's still got all the soulful feel of the best Stitt sessions for Roost, but it brings in some nice Latin rhythms too – inflecting things with that blend of soul jazz and congas you might find over at Prestige or Blue Note, yet also taking things further, too – given the Roost/Roulette connection to the New York Latin scene! Sonny plays both alto and tenor, and gets jazzy accompaniment from Thad Jones on trumpet – but the rhythm section is the real charmer here – and features a young Chick Corea on piano, Larry Gales on bass, and the trio of Willie Bobo, Patato Valdes, and Chihuaua Martinez on percussion! Most tunes are originals – a great change from the usual Latinized standards you might find on a set like this – and Stitt's got this nicely exotic tone in his reeds which is a further highlight of the record – almost a Yusef Lateef inflection at points.
A great Capitol moment from pianist Paul Smith – an artist who really cut some of his best material ever for the label ! The Smith sound is at the height of its powers here in the late 50s — kind of a blend of jazz and more easy-going pianistic modes — often stretched out with lots of flourishes by Smith on the keys, but never the too-flowery styles used by some of his contemporaries ! Instead, Paul keeps things nice and lean — always enough to be plenty swinging in all the right moments — with quartet help from Barney Kessel on guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass, and Stan Levey on drums.
Alan Bown is most known – certainly in the United States – for his late '60s recordings as leader of a group (actually called the Alan Bown) that played psychedelic pop. The trumpeter had already been recording since 1965, however, with a group called the Alan Bown Set from 1965-1967 in a far more soul-influenced style. This compilation gathers both sides of all five singles the Alan Bown Set released on Pye in the U.K. during that time, along with the seven live songs from the London Swings: Live at the Marquee Club LP they shared with Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, and the French-only single "Jeu De Massacre (The Killing Game)," from the soundtrack of the French film of the same name.