Rare Limited Vinyl Issue. Manufactured in EU as a 180 gram digitally remastered vinyl pressing. Brilliant greatest hits album in that it manages to sound like a mega concept album in the way that the music from different stages of the band's history and development are woven together so seamlessly like …as if in a dreamscape. The edits of Echoes and Shine on you Crazy Diamond as well as samplers of briefer lesser known compositions (that segue between the famous songs) are really well done.
When Lonnie Liston Smith left the Miles Davis band in 1974 for a solo career, he was, like so many of his fellow alumni, embarking on a musical odyssey. For a committed fusioneer, he had no idea at the time that he was about to enter an abyss that it would take him the better part of two decades to return from. Looking back upon his catalog from the period, this is the only record that stands out – not only from his own work, but also from every sense of the word: It is fully a jazz album, and a completely funky soul-jazz disc as well. Of the seven compositions here, six are by Smith, and the lone cover is of the Horace Silver classic, "Peace." The lineup includes bassist Cecil McBee, soprano saxophonist David Hubbard, tenor saxophonist Donald Smith (who doubles on flute), drummer Art Gore, and percussionists Lawrence Killian, Michael Carvin, and Leopoldo. Smith plays both piano and electric keyboards and keeps his compositions on the jazzy side – breezy, open, and full of groove playing that occasionally falls over to the funk side of the fence.
This five-disc set, contained in a cardboard sleeve that bundles standard jewel cases, consists of Lonnie Liston Smith & the Cosmic Echoes' four albums for Flying Dutchman – Astral Traveling (1973), Cosmic Funk (1974), Expansions (1974), and Visions of a New World (1975) – along with their first for RCA, Reflections of a Golden Dream (1976). Some of the albums were intermittently elusive, at least when it came to the CD format, throughout the years, so this was a convenient – and affordable – way to get them in one shot. However, it went out of print quickly after its 2009 release.
The fourth of five volumes (the first four are two-CD sets) that reissue all of Bessie Smith's recordings traces her career from a period when her popularity was at its height down to just six songs away from the halt of her recording career. But although her commercial fortunes might have slipped, Bessie Smith never declined and these later recordings are consistently powerful. The two-part "Empty Bed Blues" and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (hers is the original version) are true classics and none of the other 40 songs (including the double-entendre "Kitchen Man") are throwaways. With strong accompaniment during some performances by trombonist Charlie Green, guitarist Eddie Lang, Clarence Williams's band and on ten songs (eight of which are duets) the masterful pianist James P. Johnson, this volume (as with the others) is quite essential.