From the opening tour de force reading of Coleman Hawkins' "Bean and the Boys" to the closing performance of Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Magnificent brilliantly illustrates Barry Harris' unique rapport with the bop piano tradition. Absolutely unlike the enervating, curatorial approach of the neo-con movement, Harris deals with the tradition as a continuum, perpetually rejuvenating and extending it. Along with the opening and closing tracks, the classics on this 1969 date include a caressing exploration of "These Foolish Things" and a dazzling treatment of "Ah-Leu-Cha."
Although it is no secret that Emmylou Harris is one of the modern era's most prolific guest vocalists, it's only when you see her appearances laid out one after the other that you realize just how many other performers have called upon her over the years – a gamut that runs from Linda Ronstadt to Little Feat, from Bob Dylan to Bonnie Raitt.
"Greatest Hits" is the first greatest hits album by singer/songwriter Barry Manilow, released in 1978. The album was certified 3x platinum in the US, and would be Manilow's last of that certification as of 2010. It also features the new single, "Ready to Take a Chance Again", which reached #11 in the US the same year.
Two years after the death of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, this very unusual and quite memorable double-LP tribute was put together. Producer Hal Willner's most successful project, the 23 interpretations of Monk originals all feature a different group of all-star players and stretch beyond jazz. Some of the performances are fairly straightforward while others are quite eccentric; certainly the crazy duet on "Four in One" by altoist Gary Windo and Todd Rundgren (on synthesizers and drum machines) and the version of "Shuffle Boil" featuring John Zorn on game calls (imitating the sound of ducks) are quite unique. There are many colorful moments throughout the project and the roster of musicians is remarkable: Bobby McFerrin with Bob Dorough, Peter Frampton, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy, Dr. John, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd, Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly, the Fowler Brothers, NRBQ, Steve Khan, Carla Bley, Barry Harris, Was (Not Was) and many others. There is not a slow moment or uninteresting selection on this highly recommended set.