Grover Washington, Jr., has long been one of the leaders in what could be called rhythm & jazz, essentially R&B-influenced jazz. Winelight is one of his finest albums, and not primarily because of the Bill Withers hit "Just the Two of Us." It is the five instrumentals that find Washington (on soprano, alto, and tenor) really stretching out. If he had been only interested in sales, Washington's solos could have been half as long and he would have stuck closely to the melody. Instead he really pushes himself on some of these selections, particularly the title cut. A memorable set of high-quality and danceable soul-jazz.
Dream Theater's 2013 self-titled opus is a masterpiece of ambition, adventure and redefined purpose. Dream Theater heralds an exceptionally energized and profoundly dynamic emergent chapter for the melodic, progressive and consistently heavy masters of hard rock invention. Dream Theater is a name synonymous with the penultimate synthesis of studied expertise and relentless creative passion. It is an album that at once recalls the brilliant hallmarks that have made the band icons to fellow musicians and hard rock fans alike, while simultaneously a bold declaration of a future yet to come.
The release of King Crimson’s seminal 1974 album Red continues the overhaul of the progressive rock band’s catalog that also — so far anyway — includes their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King and Lizard. As was the case with those two albums, the remastering of this album was overseen by Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, along with founding member Robert Fripp. Wilson was a great choice for this task for a couple of reasons. He’s a longtime fan, and with Porcupine Tree and his other many projects, he also definitely has the necessary prog-rock credentials.
On ISLANDS, Crimson left behind the formula they followed for their first three albums, setting off for more adventurous avenues of expression. If his leadership were ever in question before, Robert Fripp had emerged as the mastermind of the group by this point. There's a much looser feel here, and even when essaying a delicate ballad like "Formentera Lady" or the gorgeous title track, jazzy bass and piano lines and free-wheeling percussion keep things from getting too settled. The jazz influence always present in Crimson grew far more pronounced on ISLANDS via saxman Mel Collins and pianist Keith Tippett.