With longtime bassist Steve Swallow, the return of drummer Roy Haynes, and the debut of guitarist Jerry Hahn, Gary Burton's second quartet continued his open-minded policy toward other styles of music. In addition to both melodic and advanced jazz, Burton incorporates elements of country, rock, pop and even classical music on this fairly rare LP, Country Roads and Other Places. Whether it be a "Ravel Prelude," "Wichita Breakdown" or "My Foolish Heart," the music is full of logical surprises that foreshadow the eclectic nature of much of '80s and '90s jazz.
Set in the exotic surroundings of the Ottoman Empire and with a narrative encompassing abduction, murder and shipwreck, Le Corsaire is a swashbuckling pirate drama that delights for its spectacular nature and which includes some of the most bravura male dancing in the ballet repertoire. The work’s evolution has been a complex one, its libretto and choreography subject to numerous revisions since its first appearance in Paris in 1856, and in this English National Ballet production – the first British staging of the work – former-ballerina-turned-choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes adapts the 1974 Petipa-Sergeyev Kirov version to create ‘brisk, stylish entertainment’ (Guardian) that is visually enhanced by Hollywood designer Bob Ringwood’s ‘superb’ (Daily Telegraph) Orientalist sets and costumes. First-rate dancing by the company and its soloists – including Alina Cojocaru’s ‘radiant performance’ as Medora (Independent), Yonah Acosta’s ‘vividly drawn and villainous’ Birbanto (Financial Times) and Vadim Muntagirov’s ‘compelling’ (Daily Telegraph) portrayal of Conrad – underscores the ‘roaring, madcap success’ (Financial Times) of this production.