In THE STOLEN CHILD, Scott Perkins builds vast and stunning worlds out of a handful of voices. Vibrant, facile, and confident, Perkins' choir writing is state-of-the-art and makes a modern musical statement while retaining a clear attachment to choral music's longstanding tradition. To this end, Perkins' compositions seem to balance the fluid and direct expression of late Renaissance a cappella masterpieces, while also possessing a decidedly contemporary approach to timbre and texture.
In 2001, legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins was edging up on 88 years of age when he played the concert date in Chicago documented on this album. Perkins sounds plenty spry here, but this certainly doesn't capture the great man at his best; Perkins was a pioneer of the boogie-woogie style and was a longtime member of Muddy Waters' band, but most of On the 88's: Live in Chicago is devoted to easygoing midtempo numbers that sound a bit timid compared to what he played in his prime. Perkins shows he still had a great touch on this recording, and his timing is more than fine, but his left hand doesn't quite anchor these tunes the way he did in his salad days (it might have helped if he'd been given a better piano for this gig, since the instrument has the tone of a second-rate electronic keyboard), and even if his singing is game, his voice was showing its wear.
It’s hard to believe this album wasn’t made a long time ago, actually, since blues pianist Pinetop Perkins and drummer and harmonica player Willie "Big Eyes" Smith have worked together frequently in the past 40 some years. Perkins replaced the legendary pianist Otis Spann in Muddy Waters' band in 1969 when Smith was the drummer in the ensemble, and later Perkins and Smith formed the Legendary Blues Band in the 1980s…..
A flexible pianist and keyboardist, Bobby Lyle has long straddled the boundaries between straight-ahead and more commercial forms of jazz. In 1988 he began a long association with Atlantic that resulted in the release of six albums between 1989 and 1997, with Pianomagic, a 1991 album of piano solos, being one of the highlights of his career. Bobby Lyle has remained a highly versatile and valuable keyboardist as both leader and sideman during the new millennium.