In many ways Etta James resembled a female Ray Charles in her unerring ability to tackle (and sometimes combine) all of the strands of American popular music, from rock & roll to R&B, blues, country, gospel, jazz, and pure pop and soul, while still maintaining a distinct feel and sound that was all her own, and she did this throughout a five-decade career that is impressive for its consistency. This 25-track set (mostly drawn from her time with Chess Records) is hardly definitive (it doesn't have classic James' tracks like "Anything to Say You're Mine," "Don't Cry Baby," "Something's Got a Hold on Me," or the girl group pop of "Two Sides (To Every Story)," for instance, or any of her late-career blues tracks), but it does do a good job of spotlighting James' range and versatility by collecting sides like her signature "At Last," the soul-pop masterpieces "Tell Mama" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," and saucy versions of Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" and Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," all of which offer ample proof that James was one of the best singers of her generation – in any style.
Duke Ellington is featured in a complete performance at Basin Street East in New York City on this CD, as it was originally broadcast on WNEW, complete with his verbal exchanges with host William B. Williams. Unlike many of his concerts, there is no long medley of hits; instead, Ellington offers an interesting mix of old and new songs. The newer material includes his "gutbucket bolero," known as "Afro Bossa" (also titled "Bula"), featuring the gruff, muted trumpet of Cootie Williams, and the high-note theatrics of Cat Anderson. "Silk Lace" is a brisk rhumba featuring clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, while the band (except for the rhythm section) sits out Ellington's masterful ballad "A Single Petal of a Rose."
Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels managed to turn Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan's recurring one-joke skit about two clueless clubheads into a major motion picture. That's why they call him an entrepreneur. More importantly, the soundtrack to said film makes a good excuse for a compilation full of surefire club hits whose sights are set squarely on the dancefloor. From the inescapable "What Is Love" (Haddaway) to 3rd Party's revamped version of M's '80s hit "Pop Muzik," A Night at the Roxbury is a nonstop dancefest, full of relentless beats and hooky synth riffs guaranteed to fire up even the most lackluster of parties.
This ten-track compilation is drawn from a benefit concert held at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles to raise money for Don Henley's Walden Woods Project. Ten female singers essay song standards of varying vintage, from the 1930s to the '80s.
This double LP was the first jazz concert ever recorded at the Hollywood Bowl (and only the second one held at that L.A. institution). Although not an official Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, it has the same basic format and was also produced by Norman Granz. Trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Harry "Sweets" Edison, tenors Flip Phillips and Illinois Jacquet, the Oscar Peterson Trio and drummer Buddy Rich all jam on "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and there is also a ballad medley and a drum solo by Rich. In addition the Oscar Peterson Trio plays two numbers, the remarkable pianist Art Tatum (in one of his final appearances) has four, Ella Fitzgerald sings six songs (including a scat-filled "Airmail Special") and collaborates with Louis Armstrong on two others. For the grand finale nearly everyone returns to the stage for "When the Saints Go Marching In" which Armstrong sings and largely narrates, cheerfully introducing all of the participants. This is a historic and very enjoyable release featuring more than its share of classic greats.
This release from the BGO label combines two of Gino Vannelli's albums for A&M, Powerful People (1974) and Storm at Sunup (1975). Both releases peaked in the Top 60 of the Billboard 200, while “People Gotta Move” – the lead song on the former – was one of Vannelli’s biggest singles and narrowly missed the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Those who pick up a well-chosen Vannelli compilation can get the essential songs, but soft rock diehards can obtain a fair amount of Vannelli’s choice album-bound material right here.
Dean Martin was an Italian-American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the "King of Cool" for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assurance. He and Jerry Lewis were partners in the immensely popular comedy team Martin and Lewis. He was a member of the "Rat Pack" and a star in concert stages, nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the television variety program The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974) and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974–1985). Martin's relaxed, warbling crooning voice earned him dozens of hit singles including his signature songs "Memories Are Made of This", "That's Amore", "Everybody Loves Somebody", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", "Sway", "Volare", and "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?".