La Femme Dietrich's career lasted several decades, and when she inked a deal with Decca Records in 1939, her first recording assignment was to produce an album of her "greatest hits," so already pervasive was her fame. This 16-track collection rounds up selections recorded over a 25-year period between her signing to Decca and her later recordings for Dot and Kapp, all of which parent company MCA-Universal now owns. Besides the definitive, elegant orchestral reading of 'Falling In Love Again', Marlene also puts her pipes and personality to other hits like "The Boys in the Backroom" and "You've Got That Look (That Makes Me Weak)" from the movie Destry Rides Again, as well as a batch of classy readings of "You Do Something to Me," "You Go to My Head," and uncharacteristic, almost surreal 1957 rock & roll stabs at "Near You," and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" and the campy spins of her final single in 1965, "If He Swing By the String" and "Such Trying Times." All in all, a great little career overview to add to the pop vocal side of the collection.
The hook for this terrific recording of three of Steve Reich's most attractive works is the use of alternate versions of the several pieces that differ from the original recordings on Nonesuch. This recording has Reich's imprimatur; he enthusiastically recommends the performances in a program note. The most radical departure from the original version is Piano Counterpoint, Vincent Corver's arrangement of Six Pianos for a single live pianist with the other five parts prerecorded. This allows the piece to fit nicely into Reich's "Counterpoint" series, which includes Vermont Counterpoint for flutes and New York Counterpoint for clarinets. Corver also speeds up the tempo so the piece has an even more propulsive aural energy, although in live performance it's hard to beat the visceral excitement of six pianists on-stage. The London Steve Reich Ensemble version of the Triple Quartet, unlike the Kronos Quartet's premiere recording, uses three live quartets, and is one of three performance options that Reich specified in the score, the third being an orchestral version with 36 players. This is the first commercial recording of this version.
Jazz fusion guitarist Ryo Kawasaki was born in Toyko, Japan, on February 25, 1947. Although he originally planned on becoming a scientist, Kawasaki put an end to his studies early on and concentrated solely on guitar, playing with a variety of Japanese jazz groups throughout the '60s. During the early '70s, Kawasaki had relocated to the United States (New York, to be exact), where he played regularly with such jazz notables as Gil Evans, Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton, and JoAnne Brackeen, and issued such solo releases as Juice, Ring Toss, and Nature's Revenge. Although he would issue several albums during the '80s (Little Touree, Ryo, Lucky Lady, etc.), Kawasaki had turned his back on musical performance and concentrated solely on penning music software programs for computers. Kawasaki also formed his own record label, Satellites Records, as he produced techno dance singles, but eventually returned back to his first love, releasing a steady stream of jazz releases once more, starting in the early to mid-'90s (Love Within the Universe, Sweet Life, Cosmic Rhythm, Reval, etc.).
If you're going to pillage someone else's ideas, then go for broke. Because even if you find yourself crammed between the barriers of creative space, utterly at a loss for ideas, expression, or thought, you'd still have a self-respect buzzing in your ear like a mad angelic insect, putting down the newspaper and taking out a cigar to remind you that, hell, if want to sound like Radiohead when even Thom Yorke doesn't want to sound like Radiohead, you might as well take it to preposterous, bombastic, over-the-top levels. Add church organs, mental electronics, riffs bouncing off each other like the monolithic screams in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you'll finally be in position to crack skulls like coconuts and make the world's speakers ooze gooey blood.