This set reinstates a number of important piano recordings made for Pacific Jazz (and in the case of Jimmy Rowles Liberty). Russ Freeman and Rowles were seminal to so much of the important music that emanated from Los Angeles in the '50s and '60s that their achievements would be far too many to list here. Freeman's hard swinging style is featured on 14 tracks made between 1952 and '57. Rowles, an encyclopedic piano maestro, is represented by his rare Liberty album Rare - But Well Done and two Pacific Jazz tracks, made the end of sessions by others.
When one thinks of altoist/flutist Bud Shank's recordings of the 1950s, it is normally of his work with Stan Kenton's orchestra or collaborations with Laurindo Almeida or Bob Cooper. However, Shank led a superior quartet from 1956-1958 that also included pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and either Chuck Flores or Jimmy Pratt on drums. This typically magnificent five-CD limited-edition box set from Mosaic has the quartet's four albums (including a set that was recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa), a selection by Shank with a sextet that includes vibraphonist Larry Bunker, and three slightly later sets.
Like its fellow countrymen from Artsruni, Oaksenham is a present Armenian Progressive rock band. It includes the usual rock line-up, plus a violinist and a flute player. Guest musicians appear on this album: harp, cello, oboe, horns, clarinet… This amazing band plays an instrumental "chamber rock" music, mixing classical influences (Bach, Vivaldi…) with Progressive rock. Published by the Musea label, "Conquest Of The Pacific" (2007) includes cover-versions of Gentle Giant songs and a musical theme borrowed from Jethro Tull. You may even think of Gryphon or Greenslade here and there. Here's a refreshing and lively, dynamic and airy music, composed and played with a lot of subtlety.
These four CDs are perfect for anyone seeking a primer of Chet Baker's (trumpet/vocals) sides for Pacific Jazz. The collection boasts over three-and-a-half-hours of primal West Coast cool from one of the subgenre's most luminous scene-makers. Although his tenure with the label lasted a mere five years (1952 – 1957), the impact that the artist made continued its influence far beyond the realm of post-bop jazz, thanks in part to the variety of bands featuring Baker as either a member or leader. ~ AllMusic
The Pacific Age is the last OMD album to feature founding member Paul Humphreys (although The Best of OMD does collect a pair of subsequent singles). With producer Stephen Hague returning and guests Graham and Martin Weir elevated to full-time members, OMD aggressively targets the American pop market cultivated with Crush and the Top Ten single "If You Leave." With the Weir's horns and a trio of female backing vocalists, the music on The Pacific Age sounds larger than life (the opening "Stay" in particular), a trait common to popular music in the mid-'80s.