This concert was originally intended to be a video release showcasing Stanley Jordan in acoustic, electric and solo settings. His tight rhythm section – including Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Kenny Kirkland on piano and Charnett Moffett on bass – drives his complex and moving guitar playing through the standout acoustic tracks "Impressions" and "Cousin Mary," both by John Coltrane. But concert highlights are Jordan's two solo pieces, the bluesy "Willow Weep for Me" and classic show tune "Over the Rainbow," where he performs with an exhilarating freedom and virtuosity. Jordan resists the temptation to slip into the then-ubiquitous smooth jazz sound, making this a timeless release.
This trio set with bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Kenwood Dennard features the tapping guitarist Stanley Jordan during a typical live show from 1990 playing many songs that he had previously recorded. While "Stairway to Heaven" is treated as very credible rock and "Lady in My Life" gets funky, "Autumn Leaves" really cooks and Jordan fares well on "Stolen Moments" (during which he does a strong imitation of a keyboard) and "Impressions." Jordan's lone original, the rock-ish "Return Expedition" is, at 15 minutes, way too long and serves primarily as an opportunity for his two fine backup players to take lengthy solos. Jordan's unaccompanied display on the concluding "Over the Rainbow" compensates. An interesting program.
Helmed by T-Bone Burnett and Craig Street, the soundtrack to the music-intensive TV crime drama series gets ultra-hip artists to cover songs not necessarily associated with them—all with eerie musical backgrounds that match the program's tone. Unfortunately, the intriguing concept fares better on the small screen than on the big speaker, as artists like Richard Thompson, Lucinda Williams, and Joe Henry, among others, get lost in a uniformly listless production. Exceptions are Wendy Melvoin & Lisa Coleman's original instrumental "Crossing Jordan Themes," the Holmes Brothers' take on Blind Willie Johnson's "You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond," and Alison Krauss' tackling of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home." Series star Jill Hennessy debuts with Tom Waits' "You're Innocent When You Dream" and Bob Dylan's "It's all Over Now, Baby Blue" and acquits herself well enough.
Whether it was the intention of Barbara Mauritz or someone on the business side of her affairs, Bring Out the Sun leaves the impression that she was being groomed for a solo career. The impression is hardly subtle or accidental: the album is co-billed to Barbara Mauritz and Lamb, and although Lamb co-founder Bob Swanson is still aboard as guitarist and (on half of the tracks) as a sole or collaborating composer, there are some songs on which he doesn't play at all. Lamb's second album, Cross Between, had a much higher proportion of gospel-oriented material than their debut, and Bring Out the Sun continues the move to contemporary gospel-rock of sorts, particularly on side one…