With mid-'60s gems like Violets of Dawn, Thirsty Boots, and Close the Door Lightly, Eric Andersen became the archetypal, literate romantic before the likes of James Taylor and Jackson Browne had even cut their first records, but at the same time seemed to lack direction from album to album. With his eighth album, Blue River, recorded in Nashville in 1972, he found the perfect setting for his gentle, poetic songs. After nearly seven years of dabbling in folk, folk-rock, pop, and country, Andersen found a smart, sympathetic ear in producer Norbert Putnam. Putnam, whose production here is rarely extraneous, utilizes subtle touches of bass, drums, accordion, and organ along with Andersen's own guitar, piano, and harmonica to frame the material. The record, Andersen's first effort for Columbia, also featured his best collection of tunes to date. Blue River, with its themes of uncertainty and struggle, is by no means a casual record, although songs such as the bittersweet "Is It Really Love at All" and the title track, featuring Joni Mitchell's ethereal supporting vocal, will draw the listener in with their sheer beauty.
Billy Eckstine was looking back more than forward by 1960, and his second record for Roulette featured two remakes of familiar hits he'd enjoyed almost 20 years earlier. He also covered two average themes from forgottable movies, the first being the title song (from a Yul Brynner vehicle), the second being "Secret Love" (from a Doris Day film). It may read like a desultory date, and indeed it would have been if not for the presence of a solid jazz band and the surprisingly sympathetic arrangements of big-brass auteur Billy May.
This CD has an unusual cover picture showing Billy Eckstine singing while holding a trumpet. He does indeed take a few short trumpet solos on the well-rounded program, 24 songs (13 previously unissued) performed during one night in Las Vegas. Eckstine, who is backed by an orchestra arranged by his pianist Bobby Tucker, is heard in prime form on a variety of standards. His baritone voice (which was quite influential) straddles the boundary between middle-of-the-road pop and jazz on such numbers as "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," "Without a Song," "Prisoner of Love," "I Apologize", "Alright, Okay, You Win" and "'Deed I Do." A good example of his talents.
Features SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. As Lee Morgan's career moved from hard and post-bop to soul-jazz, Delightfulee serves as a further bridge in a half-and-half fashion. Four of the seven cuts feature his potent quintet with a young and emerging tenor saxophonist, Joe Henderson, as his front line mate, McCoy Tyner ever brilliant on piano, and Billy Higgins firing up the rhythm as only the drummer could. The remainder of the date consists of tracks orchestrated by Oliver Nelson featuring an 11-piece ensemble. There are two selections that feature versions of compositions with both configurations.
Jan Garbarek's icy and haunting tones on tenor and soprano are in the forefront during much of this set. He performs six originals (which have simple but picturesque titles such as "Blue Sky," "Windows" and "The Red Roof") with the assistance of guitarist Bill Connors, pianist John Taylor, bassist Eberhard Weber and drummer Jon Christensen.