This live Boston summit meeting between Ray Brown, Christian McBride and John Clayton was the logical outcome of several joint appearances, as well as an extension of a one-off bass troika track that McBride included on his first solo album. The idea of a bass trio on records probably would have been unthinkable in the primitive days of recording when Brown was coming up, but Telarc's fabulously deep yet clear engineering makes it seem like a natural thing to do. Whether pizzicato or bowed, whether taking the melodic solo or plunking down the 4/4 bottom line, all three perform with amazing panache, taste, humor, lack of ego, and the sheer joy of talking to and against each other beneath the musical staff. But if one has to pick out a single star, the choice has to be McBride, whose unshakeable time, solid tone and amazing ability to play his cumbersome bull fiddle like a horn stands out in astonishing fashion on the right speaker.
Give him points for persistence: Alice Cooper just won't quit. He's seen it all from the bottom to the top – and done the trip more than once – but still continues on his merry-morbid way, punching out albums like a spry young'un. The first thing one has to say about The Eyes of Alice Cooper is thank Jehovah and all his witnesses that the Mascara'd One has grown out of his metal/industrial phase. That look just never took. Discs like Brutal Planet (2000) and the somewhat better Dragontown (2001) offered little to his legacy or his legion of fans – aside from nascent headbangers discovering the Coop for the first time. Eyes harks back to Alice's overly maligned early-'80s discs Special Forces and Flush the Fashion – albums that suffered by comparison with his landmark '70s releases but remain far more musically appealing than the aforementioned new-millennium fare.