French saxophonist Sophie Alour's Opus 3 is not only her third album as a leader, it is also her first in a trio setting. The recipient of the French Django D'or award, Alour departs from the electric intensity of her previous release, Uncaged (Nocturne, 2007), to explore her voice as an instrumentalist. The 11 originals are tone poems bearing heavy western classical influences, with occasional peppering of other styles that showcase the leader on both tenor and soprano saxophones.
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Collecting the albums the soul singer made as he transitioned from gospel to the world of secular music, Eight Classic Albums gathers up a massive collection of both albums and singles of the great Sam Cooke. Featuring his work between 1957 and 1960, this four-disc set contains Sam Cooke, Encore, Tribute to the Lady, Hit Kit, I Thank God, Cooke's Tour, Hits of the Fifties, and Swing Low. The compilation doesn't contain much in the way of liner notes or supplemental material, so while it makes for a great Sam Cooke starter kit, it doesn't provide much in the way of extra information.