Finnish alternative rockers Sunrise Avenue favor a brand of melodic, semi-hard rock with apparent influences ranging from Pearl Jam to Bon Jovi. The band was formed in Espoo, Finland in 1992 by lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist Samu Haber; after several years of shifting personnel, including a few years spent in Spain, Haber established a consistent lineup featuring keyboardist Jukka Backlund, bassist Raul Ruutu, and drummer Sami Osala.
For his sixth recording, Turkish born pianist Fahir Atakoglu has gone retro, recalling the '80s contemporary New York City/Seventh Avenue South neo-bop, skunk funk, and fusion of the Brecker Brothers and Steps/Steps Ahead. Playing exclusively acoustic and not electric piano, he also employs the quite different sounding electric guitarists Mike Stern or Wayne Krantz on alternating tracks, adding Michael Brecker disciple Bob Franceschini, electric bass guitar pioneer Anthony Jackson, and the dynamic drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez. Atakoglu attains the sound he seeks quite easily, a bit derivative, but exciting and refreshingly done some 25 years after the fact.
In the midst of his tenure with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Herb Ellis had the chance to turn the tables on his boss and employ him as a sideman, though the keyboard virtuoso strangely reigns in his chops and pretty much stays in the background. This pair of sessions was first issued on a Norgran LP and finally reissued as a Verve CD in early 2006. The first four tracks add Jimmy Giuffre (alternating between baritone sax, tenor sax, and clarinet) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, along with fellow Peterson sideman Ray Brown and drummer Alvin Stoller. Ellis' originals include the easygoing "Sweetheart Blues" and the cooking bop vehicle "Pogo," where both the leader and Edison eclipse Giuffre's efforts on sax. ..