Recorded on the final night of their tour at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2003, this special 16 track live package from the Jazz-funk legends Level 42 is packed with classics. The band are at their brilliant best performing hits including 'Lessons in Love' and 'Something About You' that have underlined the reasons why the group have always been at the very top level of modern day music.
On the evening of December 18, 2010, 120 lucky Van Der Graaf Generator fans braved a blizzard to travel to Metropolis Studios, West London, to take in a rare UK appearance by Peter Hammill, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans. Among the most revered of the progressive rock groups to evolve in England during the late 60s and early 70s, VDGG performed songs from all stages of their career in an intimate atmosphere that was captured in a manner unlikely ever to be achieved again. The DVD also includes revealing interviews with all three band members.
Now that Duke Ellington had regained his former commercial success with his performance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, he was free for the remainder of his career to essentially play what he pleased. This live performacne from ranges from old favorites like "I Got It Bad" and "Sophisticated Lady" to the spectacular Britt Woodman trombone feature on "Theme Trambene," the whimsical "Pretty and the Wolf," a fresh rendition of "Harlem Air Shaft" featuring trumpeter Clark Terry and the extended "Harlem Suite." Baritonist Harry Carney, high-note trumpet wizard Cat Anderson and altoist Johnny Hodges all have their great moments on this enjoyable set.
At the age of 71, Johnny Frigo finally had his debut as a leader on record, with the exception of an obscure effort in 1957. Although he had spent much of his career as a studio bassist, Frigo successfully switched full-time to his first love, the violin, and was immediately considered one of the top swing-based violinists. Joined by both Bucky and John Pizzarelli on guitars, either Ron Carter or Michael Moore on bass, and drummer Butch Miles, Frigo is in wonderful form on 14 standards, including "Pick Yourself Up," "Detour Ahead" (which he had co-written while with the Soft Winds in the late '40s), "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "The Song Is You." This recommended CD launched the Chesky label.
The survival of classical music may hinge on its ability to appear prominently outside the standard venues of concert halls and recording studios, thereby reaching a much larger audience of listeners who might otherwise never be treated to the masterworks of the canonical repertoire. New York-based ensemble the Knights seeks to do that by coupling its impressively broad repertoire (ranging from classical to jazz to world music) with a desire to play in locations where one might not expect to see an orchestra.
Polydor's Level Best is a thorough, successful overview of the smooth, jazzy British sophisti-pop outfit, containing all of their biggest hits and best material, including the sublime "Something About You." At 18 tracks, it may run a little long, but it still is as comprehensive a summary of Level 42's career as could be hoped.