Phil Woods & His European Rhythm Machine was a brilliant though short-lived quartet that made a handful of albums between 1968 and 1973, though most of them are long out of print. Happily, this early studio effort, with pianist George Gruntz, bassist Henri Texier, and drummer Daniel Humair, has been reissued in Japan by Toshiba-EMI, all of whom provide first-rate rhythmic support and make the most of their solos. The leader's "And When We Are Young" was written in tribute to Senator Robert Kennedy, who was gunned down by a cowardly assassin in the spring of 1968 in the midst of Kennedy's celebration of his presidential primary victory in California. The piece begins with a mournful dirge before cutting loose with some wailing post-bop.
Keyboard Wizards III- Arden and Ohman is my favorite disc so far. The other two I own are vols. I and V which are also good but lack the variety Arden and Ohman possess. Vol. III's salient quality is the diversity of ensembles. Piano alone, big band and vocals all are featured which give it an edge over the other great discs. The music and piano work is certainly dated, reflecting the whimsical and seemingly care-free times of the late 1920s. If you are a musicologist or simply a fan of American music history, this album may be for you, too.
Cardboard sleeve (mini LP) reissue from Phil Upchurch featuring the latest remastering and the high-quality SHM-CD format. Recorded in 1971, shortly after he departed Cadet where he served as a house sideman-playing on dozens of records and a prefferred guitarist for Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, Phil Upchurch headed for the West Coast and Blue Thumb Records. Produced by Tommy LiPuma, Upchurch's Darkness, Darkness is his quintessential (double) album, full of laid-back funky grooves, elegant, mind-blowing guitar work, elegant string and horn arrangements, and fine Fender Rhodes work from Donny Hathaway with legendary session bassist Chuck Rainey and smooth jazz piano great Joe Sample in the house.
Phil Collins - Face Value (1981). Phil Collins' first solo album, 1981's Face Value, was a long time coming, but it proved worth the wait, both for the Genesis drummer/vocalist himself and fans of thoughtful, emotionally charged pop. He'd been wrestling with the idea of doing a solo record for years, finding great inspiration in the pain caused by an impending divorce and craving artistic independence after years of collaboration. Many of the songs ended up on Genesis' 1980 album Duke - and "Against All Odds" was pocketed for later use - but he kept enough to make an album that stands as a classic moment of '80s pop/rock. Collins produced the album himself and played keyboards and drums, calling in friends and the Earth, Wind & Fire horns to fill out the songs…