Westminster Abbey has been the focus of British royal occasions for centuries, and the early seventeenth century saw the most dazzling musicians of the age writing music for the Court in all its various incarnations. This fascinating disc presents a selection of works from the reign of King James I.
The German Electronics artist Robert Schroeder (discovered 1978 by EM pioneer Klaus Schulze) has produced numerous excellent solo CDs. The music of Robert Schroeder is various, but always soulful. He combines spherical synthesizer sounds with modern rhythm-mical contrasts, often supplemented by spacey guitars and sometimes also by piano, cello or voices. On the occasion of the annually “Schallwelle” Award ceremony, Robert Schroeder once again gave a concert on the 12thof March 2011 in the Planetarium Bochum (FRG). Accompanied by drummer Gigi Frieg and in the encore supplemental by surprise guest musician Bernd Kistenmacher for the approx. 250 spectators results a spectacular and impressing event.
After a first album, Harmonic Ascendant, where the ambient and atmospheric structures were moulding to a deep romanticism, Robert Schroeder undertakes a first musical change of direction by offering a 2nd album filled of a very great wealth in eclectic tones. Here, no romantic guitars that flirt with a solitary cello or vocoders which roam in a cosmic mist, Floating Music (whose title has nothing to do with its musical structure) is an album where the rhythm at once funky and sensual thrones among suave cosmic flights. A first change of course from an artist whose versatility will be the cornerstone of his musical charms.
Thanks in part to Robert Palmer's hand in the process of compiling Addictions, Vol. 1, this early best-of is a fine peek into the musical passions that made Palmer tick. The 13 songs that make up the collection are mostly first-rate, and at the very least they present to a newcomer the eclecticism and style that made Palmer so consistently interesting. Since its genesis was 1989, the highlighted albums are Palmer's Island releases from 1978 to 1988: Double Fun, Secrets, Clues, Maybe It's Live, Pride, Riptide, Heavy Nova, and the soundtrack to Sweet Lies. Appropriately, the thundering, menacing "Some Like It Hot" from the Power Station's debut is included, though it's somewhat of a mystery as to why the band's T. Rex cover, "Get It On (Bang a Gong)," doesn't make an appearance. Only that song and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On" seem like obvious omissions. The latter would appear on the remix-heavy Addictions, Vol. 2, but the former wouldn't appear on a career sampler until 1997's The Very Best of Robert Palmer. Otherwise, the collection is nearly perfect.
For Robert Altman's Kansas City film, since the story was centered in 1934 Kansas City, Altman wanted to have younger musicians depict top jazz artists of the era playing at one of the legendary jam sessions. He recruited many of today's top modernists and, although they used arrangements based on older recordings, they did not have to necessarily improvise in the style of the time. Actually, it is surprising how close the musicians often come, recapturing not just the music of the period but the adventurous spirit of such immortals as Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and Lester Young. A dozen songs from the film are on this very enjoyable and unique CD, which features such players as trumpeter Nicholas Payton, clarinetist Don Byron, guitarists Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield, pianists Geri Allen and Cyrus Chestnut, altoists Jesse Davis and David "Fathead" Newman, and four of today's great tenors: James Carter, Craig Handy, David Murray, and Joshua Redman. In addition, Kevin Mahogany sings "I Left My Baby." Although there are some audience shouts on a couple of the pieces, this is one soundtrack album that very much stands up on its own.