The trio of Craig Handy (on tenor and soprano), bassist Charles Fambrough, and drummer Ralph Peterson lives up to its potential during a wide-ranging set. The improvisations are explorative yet melodic and logical, while the interplay between these talented players is consistently impressive. Together they explore tributes to Clifford Jordan and George Adams and at times hint at Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and even Grover Washington, Jr.. Pianist David Kikoski is heard on four selections, but his presence is actually unnecessary. Handy's unaccompanied solo on "West Bank: Beyond the Berlin Wall" is a highlight of this recommended disc.
People are familiar with rai or some of the more traditional music to emerge from North Africa and the Middle East, but lately there's also been an undercurrent of more adventurous music – hip-hop and electronica. The roots still shout loud and proud, but the sounds (often made by artists who've moved to Europe or the U.S.) are as hard and modern as anything, anywhere – for example, the rap of Clotaire K or Mafia Maghrebine, the edgy, skittering rhythms of U-Cef, or the powerful trance of Gnawa Impulse. And this compilation makes the ideal introduction, from the pounding beats of "A Muey A Muey," which was a revelation and breakthrough when it first appeared, to the contemporary remix of Ali Slimani's "S'Habi." The full range of the music gets an airing here, and for anyone with an urge to explore the lesser-known (for now) areas of Maghrebi music, this is the starting point.
Saxophonist and composer John Klemmer was restlessly following some inner call in the late 1960s through the late '70s. Aside from his big-boned tenor sound and his trademark unique Echoplex on certain tunes, he was making music that crossed numerous jazz, pop, rock, soul, and Latin genres. 1977's Arabesque is a case in point. Co-produced by the saxophonist and Stephan Goldman, Klemmer used a pool of studio players on this date in addition to a small band. Drummer Lenny White and bassist Abe Laboriel made up his trio, while pianists Roger Kellaway, Pat Rebillot, and Victor Feldman alternately held down the piano chair…
The all-girl trio Arabesque was created by two Frankfurt-based German producers at the height of the disco era in 1977. After one album and a few singles that had found surprising success in Japan, the producers changed the lineup, keeping Michaela Rose and replacing the two other girls with Jasmin Vetter and Sandra Lauer. Vetter, a former gymnast, also became the trio's choreographer and Lauer, soon to be billed simply as Sandra, assumed the position of a lead vocalist. The first single of the updated Arabesque, "Hello, Mr. Monkey" went to number one in Japan. The Far East remained the band's biggest market, with numerous albums and compilations released over the years. However, Arabesque's success in their homeland was very modest, with only one single, "Marigot Bay," entering the German charts at number eight in 1981. In 1984, they disbanded and Sandra embarked on a successful solo career with the songs written by her future husband Michael Cretu (of Enigma fame.) Jasmin Vetter and Michaela Rose formed a new duet, Rouge, but after a few obscure singles it ceased to exist.