In his revolutionary bestseller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company's survival.
An album that fuses the influence of African music, jazz-rock, and free improvisation, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath shares affinities with the '70s music of Don Cherry and Miles Davis. Somewhat of a legendary album amongst collectors of British jazz and fusion, the LP was originally released in the '70s and in early 2002 finally became reissued by the Italian label Akarma. Enlisted on the session were the talents of a group of extraordinary musicians from the free jazz, progressive rock, and improvisation scenes. Chris McGregor led the group on piano and African xylophone with Malcolm Griffiths and Nick Evans on trombones, Mongezi Feza on pocket trumpet and Indian flute, Mark Charig on cornet, Harry Beckett on trumpet, and Dudu Pukwana on alto saxophone. Ronnie Beer's tenor saxophone is outstanding, and pitched up against Alan Skidmore's tenor and soprano saxophone, completing a massive horn section, are two bigger names: '70s U.K. jazzman Mike Osborne on alto saxophone and clarinet and John Surman on baritone and soprano saxophone.
On Chris Dingman's sophomore album, 2015's The Subliminal and the Sublime, the creative jazz vibraphonist/composer finds inspiration in nature, and the result is an often stunning album of both grand gestures and detailed, percolating undercurrents. Featuring alto saxophonist Loren Stillman, pianist Fabian Almazan, guitarist Ryan Ferreira, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Justin Brown, Dingman's sextet displays true mastery of wide dynamics across a suite whose extended-form movements culminate in strikingly dramatic fashion. Opener "Tectonic Plates" begins with high singing tones and chordal volume swells, creating an ethereal ambience over which Stillman introduces a calm melody, briefly joined by sharper yet still understated support from the other bandmembers to close this lovely four-and-a-half-minute intro.
Once again combining softened elegance with his gentlemanly approach to the simple love song, Chris de Burgh remains true to form on Quiet Revolution with polished ballads and morning-friendly, mid-tempo material. de Burgh's style hasn't strayed since "The Lady in Red" peaked at number three in 1987, and from that point on he has tried to emulate the same success with his romantic formula of ballroom-type love songs and delicate lyrics. Although Quiet Revolution offers up a handful of these, some of the other tracks exhibit punchy melodies that still display de Burgh's heartfelt voice…