April 1945. Hitler is in the center of Berlin, 10 meters underground, surrounded by four-meter thick concrete walls, safe from any air attack the Allies can throw at him. But the Russians are advancing on the ground — the Red Army is lined up along the Oder River and going for the Führer.
Since the release of his debut album Water in 2010, vocalist and songwriter Gregory Porter has been a force to be reckoned with. His very personal blend of jazz, gospel, blues and soul has drawn in fans from around the globe, particularly with the release of his Grammy Award winning third album Liquid Spirit in 2013 and his hugely successful new album Take Me To The Alley…
A major change of direction for Berlin, Count Three & Pray was an artistic triumph but a commercial disappointment. After making a name for itself playing very European-sounding synth pop, the L.A. trio recruited producer Bob Ezrin (known for his work with Alice Cooper and others) and unveiled a more hard-edged, guitar-oriented sound. From the rockin' "Trash" (which features none other than Ted Nugent – the last person one would expect to work with Berlin!) to the ballad "Pink and Velvet" (a tale of two heroin addicts' romance that is as poignant as it is disturbing), Count Three & Pray leaves no doubt just how much lead singer Terri Nunn and her colleagues were enjoying this radical change. But sadly, record buyers weren't ready for it. Despite the inclusion of the hauntingly pretty number one hit "Take My Breath Away" (included in the film Top Gun) the album didn't sell nearly as well as Pleasure Victim or Love Life. Geffen was bitterly disappointed, and Berlin soon broke up.
The young Kissin was able to work wonders in Prokofiev–above all the Sixth Sonata (Kissin in Tokyo - Yevgeny Kissin). Regrettably, the mature Kissin recently delivered highly disappointing live performances of the Second and Third Concertos (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3), indeed, regardless of the predictable rave in the British press. This 1994 recording of the First and Third Concertos is unquestionably very good, especially the youthful First, although competition is very strong–from Graffman/Szell (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3) and Argerich/Dutoit (Prokofiev: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 / Bartok: Piano Concerto No. 3) in this coupling, and from the complete sets by Berman/Gutierrez/Järvi, Toradze/Gergiev and Krainev/Kitaenko.
The roots of American music, including the blues, R&B, and Cajun music, gave Willy DeVille's (born William Borsey) late-'70s punk band, Mink DeVille, its unique flavor. A quarter of a century later, DeVille continued to blend musical traditions and postmodern intensity. A self-taught guitarist, DeVille found his early inspiration in the blues of John Hammond Jr., Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker.