This new Blu-Ray edition of "Songs From Tsongas" contains a concert from YES' 35th Anniversary Tour in 2004, the last tour by the band to feature the classic line-up of Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White. The single Blu-ray contains all the same material as the double DVD set contains the whole of the concert from the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts, previously spread across two discs. This epic show features tracks from across the band's career including an extensive acoustic section (tracks 11-18) and some tracks that have rarely been performed live.
La Morra is an early music consort led by flautist Corina Marti and lutenist Michal Gondko. They are expertly assisted on this recording by Els Jannsens (voice), Dani Pelagatti (douçaine), and Uri Smilanski (vielle and flute). The songs on "Flour de Beaulté" come from the Torino J.II.9 manuscript, cited in the liner notes as "the largest repository of French music… between the Ars Nova compilations of the fourteenth and the Franco-Burgundian manuscripts of the late fifteenth century".
In a musical career that has spanned seven decades, Quincy Jones has earned his reputation as a renaissance man of American music. Jones has distinguished himself as a bandleader, a solo artist, a sideman, a songwriter, a producer, an arranger, a film composer, and a record label executive, and outside of music, he's also written books, produced major motion pictures, and helped create television series. And a quick look at a few of the artists Jones has worked with suggests the remarkable diversity of his career – Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Lesley Gore, Michael Jackson, Peggy Lee, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, and Aretha Franklin.
It does not take very long to realize that this is a nicely put together record. The singing is intense in somewhat of a Springsteen/David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand) manner, but unique from them. The surrounding instrumentation weaves in and out in a folk rock manner at times and works as a full throttle rock band at others. The Singer-Songwriter category does not quite do justice to the songs. I would say rock fans will like this more than people wanting straight folk, but it has a good general appeal to both the crowds seeking lighter thoughtful material and those that want a good rock beat. The music is rather universal and what is truly interesting is that the California duo behind this band has historically done so much better in Europe than in the US. While I often can understand why some great European born music may not translate as well in the US (and vice versa), I have never understood why several great US bands (Wipers, 16 Horsepower) do so much better in Europe. Add this band to that list, as US listeners need to join in. I believe this album of eleven original songs comes with a bonus CD containing a full live set. (David Hintz)