Beatles fans love to explain that the key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities – Lennon was the tongue in cheek sardonic wit, McCartney the earnest balladeer. On John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, a sharply conceived tribute which sets the duo's classics in a jazz trio with big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark more often when he's taking on the Lennon persona. He approaches "Cant' Buy Me Love," "When I'm 64," and "Get Back" with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy, and adding colorful touches like scatting and even ad libbing his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he attacks the all-instrumental "Eleanor Rigby" with a jumpy, swinging aggression. Pizzarelli, however, becomes overly schmaltzy in presenting ballads like "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Long and Winding Road" too seriously, with maudlin, straightforward arrangements that grind the party to a halt. The one exception is the more percussive "Oh Darling," where his intense vocal helps the tune rise above the hotel lounge mentality.
Hearing old favourite songs redone in a totally different manner from the original can be a challenge. It’s especially true when vocal songs that are basically embedded in your DNA are turned into instrumentals. So fans of the Beatles should approach this new compilation of jazz treatments of the Fab Four’s tunes with an open mind and fresh ears, because there are some magnificent performances here. Starting right off with Chick Corea and Gary Burton’s take on Eleanor Rigby. The two master musicians are totally in sync as they turn the tune into a driving, meditative work.
The Beatles’ Get Back sessions have been written about to death, so we'll keep it brief. The Beatles gathered on January 2, 1969 at Twickenham Studios with the intention of rehearsing brand new songs for a concert that would be televised live throughout the world. They also agreed to have the entire process filmed for an accompanying documentary.
9-disc box set released on the Great Dane label, Italy, 1993. Contains every existing Beatles performance on BBC radio, from March 1962 through their final set in June 1965. Only a relatively small portion of these performances, all recorded exclusively for BBC broadcast (and thus different from the familiar LP studio versions), are otherwise available. Sound quality varies, particularly on the earlier discs, with much of the material derived from personal collections when it could not be located in the BBC archives.
The late 1980s also saw the emergence of Yellow Dog, a label specialising in Beatles studio outtakes, who released the CD series Unsurpassed Masters in quality similar to Ultra Rare Trax; Yellow Dog, like Swingin' Pig's parent company Perfect Beat, was registered in Luxembourg, which had the most liberal copyright laws among EU countries. Yellow Dog released Unsurpassed Demos in 1991, featuring 22 songs from the 1968 Kinfauns (Esher) demos, only some of which had been previously made public during the radio series The Lost Lennon Tapes that debuted in 1988.
This double DVD presents three and a half hours of footage from the promotional tour that turned four lads from Liverpool, quite literally, into the music phenomenon of the century. A comprehensive document with coverage from 24 American cities, this painstakingly researched and edited collection gives the viewer a new insight into the Beatlemania that gripped America in the summer of 1964.