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.
Michael released "Dragonfly Summer after a three year hiatus. What a wonderful return. The opener "Coming To Life" is an upbeat tune where Michael seems like he's singing about the start of this album itself. All of the songs are winners, I sometimes wonder what the outtakes are like, given the overall quality of the songs here. "Soul Mate" not only turned me on to Jeff Lorber, but also introduced me to Eric Benet, he's singing the harmony vocal. Not only is Michael talented, but the people he surrounds himself with, wow! The title track is fun, "Monk's New Tune" is about as late night jazz as Michael gets. "I Love Lucy" is that "I Love Lucy," the only cover Michael has recorded, save for a couple Christmas songs. The song is transformed from a Cuban lounge style to a romantic Brazilian influenced love song, the orchestration is glorious. "Practice Makes Perfect" is fun, "String Of Pearls" is a beautiful song, moving at a nice tempo featuring accoustic guitar and a woodwind solo.
With their second album, Miles Smiles, the second Miles Davis Quintet really began to hit their stride, delving deeper into the more adventurous, exploratory side of their signature sound. This is clear as soon as "Orbits" comes crashing out the gate, but it's not just the fast, manic material that has an edge – slower, quieter numbers are mercurial, not just in how they shift melodies and chords, but how the voicing and phrasing never settles into a comfortable groove. This is music that demands attention, never taking predictable paths or easy choices.
Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. Hardbop albums don't get any better than this – and although drummer Dave Bailey only recorded for a brief stretch as a leader, this session's one that shows that he was a heck of a force to contend with! The record's got an intensity that easily rivals the best by Art Blakey over at Blue Note during the early 60s – but Dave's also got a slightly looser groove too – a bit more sense of humanity, and one that allows for really organic interplay between the players. There's a slight soul jazz undercurrent – especially in the piano lines of Billy Gardner – and other players in the quintet include Bill Hardman on trumpet, Frank Haynes on tenor, and Ben Tucker on bass. The group wails on an early version of Tucker's classic "Comin' Home Baby", plus other great originals like "Coffee Walk", "Lady Iris B", and "Two Feet In the Gutter".
Box set, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year of "Free Soul," a popular compilation series that focus on soul music songs mainly taken from the 1970's.
One of the loosest, most relaxed albums ever from flute man Sam Most – cut with a cool quartet that also features Bob Dorough on piano, Bill Crow on bass, and Joe Morello on drums! The inventive touches of all the rhythm players are really felt strongly – creating these modern moments that really have Sam stretching out on his instrument, and moving it way past any cliches of a few years before. Most handles flute on almost all the tracks, but also throws in some great clarinet as well – with archly-crafted solos that really swing, but with kind of an arch modernist tone – in the manner of some of Jimmy Giuffre's best rhythm-bound work of the 50s. Titles include "Obvious Conclusion", "Stella By Starlight", "Two For Three", and "House Of Bread Blues".
The original idea was for Art Garfunkel to record an album of songs written by Jimmy Webb. But when the leadoff single, "Crying in My Sleep," failed to make the charts, Columbia Records withdrew the album and induced Garfunkel to put together a cover of Sam Cooke's "(What A) Wonderful World" with Paul Simon and James Taylor harmonizing. The single and a revised version of the album then made the Top 40.