In the mid-'50s, guitarist Tal Farlow led one of his finest groups, a drumless trio with pianist Eddie Costa and bassist Vinnie Burke. The same band would record the album Tal a week or two later. With Burke contributing a constant walking bass, the interplay between Farlow and Costa is always exciting, whether they are playing unisons or trading off. This 1999 CD reissue not only has the original seven selections but "Gone With the Wind" (which was left off of the original LP due to lack of space) plus three full-length alternate takes that are basically on the same level as the masters. Among the highpoints are "Taking a Chance on Love," "Yardbird Suite," "Like Someone in Love," and Farlow's lone original, "Meteor," which utilizes the chord changes of "Confirmation." Hot bebop that is easily recommended.
For those who believe in Original Sin, Predestination or, for that matter, Karma, here's a two disc set of the complete "Penitential Psalms" of Orlandus Lassus fabulously performed by Henry's Eight and marvelously recorded by Hyperion. Gloomy but glorious works that hope for the best while assuming for the worst, Lassus' setting of seven fuliginously serious but spiritually salubrious Psalms of David are sure to send shivers down the spine of anyone with a pessimistic cast of mind. The acapella performances of the all-male – two countertenors, three tenors and three basses – Henry's Eight is darkly hued, strongly rhythmic, deeply soulful, very expressive and absolutely true to the late Renaissance agony of Lassus's music. While not perhaps the first place to start with for Lassus in a melancholy mood – try "The Tears of Peter" for the peak of harmonic anguish – Henry's Eight's recording Penitential Psalms belongs in every Lassus collection, especially as preserved in Hyperion's intimate and evocative sound.