Excellent second efford by this interesting neo prog band from Greece - and a huge step forward from their first. Their music is very much influenced by early Marillion, Arena and IQ, but they also have a very greek folk flavor in their sound as well. New singer Ima has a very particular voice that is soft and strong at the same time. She gave the band a kind of personality that was missing from their debut CD.
Stan Getz was such a consistent performer and had such a beautiful tone that nearly all of his recordings are well worth getting. The two radio appearances heard on this 1997 CD are even on a higher level than normal. Joined by pianist Kenny Barron, either Ray Drummond or Yashuito Mori on bass, and drummer Ben Riley, Getz is heard at the peak of his powers on a pair of obscurities (Kenny Barron's "Feijada" and Gigi Gryce's "Stan's Blues") and six numbers (including "Voyage," "Blood Count" and "Warm Valley") that he recorded numerous times. To hear Getz adding even more beauty to Mal Waldron's already gorgeous "Soul Eyes" is a memorable experience.
Michael Burks' third release on Alligator Records, Iron Man, is as close to being a live album as you can get from a studio performance. This could be attributed to Burks using his seasoned road band on this date instead of the Memphis studio musicians used previously on Make It Rain and I Smell Smoke. Alongside Burks' searing Flying V strut, Wayne Sharp's greasy Hammond B-3 dominates this set, reveling in soul and rock influences, including a cover version of Free's "Fire and Water," a definite nod to the blues-rock audience Burks has gained over his 30-plus years on the road. While Iron Man is an overall inspired modern electric blues disc, a few missteps hamper the session. "Ashes in My Ashtray," penned by Chicago bluesman Jimmy Johnson, would have made a better instrumental in this particular case, as the lyrics get in the way of an intense Burks guitar performance.
Christophe Rousset's collection of overtures to 17 of Rameau's operas and opéra-ballets, played by his original instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, won a 1998 Gramophone award for best Baroque non-vocal CD, and it's easy to hear why this outstanding performance was recognized. The ensemble plays with unflagging liveliness and brilliant, clean tone. The rhythmic vitality Rousset coaxes from his players is toe-tappingly engaging; at the same time, he maintains a fluidity that avoids metronomic rigidity. The tempos he takes sometimes have a breathtaking fleetness that leaves the listener marveling at the players' virtuosity. The overtures are mostly brief, usually four or five minutes long, but they each contain a world of volatility and drama. Many of them are wonderfully eccentric, with startling juxtapositions and exotic orchestral combinations that keep them from ever settling into any kind of easy predictability.
It is now some 12 years since William Christie made an excellent disc of Pancrace Royer's only published collection of harpsichord pieces (1746); and it was reissued recently on CD. Royer was a more prominent figure in French musical life than the comparative unfamiliarity of his name nowadays would suggest. He was an imaginative director of the Concert Spirituel, leader for several years of the Opéra orchestra, and a successful composer for the stage, as well. His ballet-héroIque, Zalde (1739) was especially popular and was still being performed in the 1760s. La Chasse do Zaide is the composer's own harpsichord arrangement of a "symphonie" in the opera and, in this new recital, Christophe Rousset appends it to the pieces of the 1746 publication. That, too, incidently contains a number of transcriptions by the composer of pieces from earlier stage works.
A repackaging of 1993's Midnight Mover: The Bobby Womack Collection, Anthology – released by Capitol's The Right Stuff subsidiary in 2003 – is an excellent overview (cheapo identikit design aside) that features just about every significant moment of Womack's most productive years. All his biggest hits, including "Lookin' for a Love," "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Nobody Wants You When You're Down and Out," "Daylight," and "Across 110th Street" are featured here, along with some album cuts that most casual fans will have no trouble appreciating. Short of picking up all the albums released during this era, you could not do any better.
Electronic trio Tangerine Dream embrace their equipment and take their audience on an actual journey through this especially good, two-part showcase recorded live in France and Britain. Featuring the early and memorable lineup of Chris Franke, Edgar Froese, and Peter Baumann, Ricochet continuously evolves to the next plateau of pulsing experimentation without getting lost or over-indulgent like other bands of the genre. This album finds the three at a time when they knew exactly what they were doing; rocking without the drums, and looking over their shoulder to make sure the audience was still enjoying themselves. It takes a snapshot of the band when they were young, influential, and at the height of the genre.
Collection includes: Guitars And Castanets (2005); Firebird (2007); Worth It (2010); Rattle My Cage (2013).
Abel published quite a few chamber works with flute, meeting the demand for new music by the many gentleman flutists in England. The flute concertos contained here, despite their opus number, were never published, but are found in a manuscript held in Leipzig which can be dated prior to 1759. Stylistically these works have left the Baroque far behind, with regular phrases, simple basses , broad harmonic movement. The melodies make ample use of lombardic rhythms and syncopations and the florid passaggi sparkles with triplets and scalar passages in sixteenths. Though there are occasional harmonic complications which recall Abel's background, the overall tone here is that of the Enlightenment. Who can Abel have written these works for?
At age 54, Elliott Murphy has been recording albums of his original compositions regularly for 30 years, and unlike some musicians who have been at it that long (such as Neil Young, whose raucous, Crazy Horse-style guitar playing is echoed on this album's leadoff track and whose After the Gold Rush ballad "Birds" is covered under the title "Bird"), he hasn't changed much about his musical or lyrical approach in that time. The Elliott Murphy of 2003 is not very different from the Elliott Murphy of 1973. He still writes semi-autobiographical songs full of poetic imagery and literary references (The Great Gatsby and Samuel Beckett are favorites), and he still sets them to folk-rock arrangements that call to mind Bob Dylan.