The first five chronologically sequenced tracks of this compilation mirror the rise of the smooth-jazz radio phenomenon. "So Amazing," "Bermuda Nights," "In the Mood," "My, My, My," and "Anniversary" are all still staples of the format. Released between 1987 and 1990, all (except the second one) are covers of popular R&B tunes, and they still sound fresh. These songs alone make this an excellent collection for smooth-jazz fans. Starting with his fifth album, Live at Birdland West, the exciting tenor saxophonist became a little more adventurous, often completely crossing that broad line that separates smooth jazz from contemporary electric jazz. Two duets–one with Lee Ritenour, "G & Lee," and "Boss of Nova," with Joe Sample–are two examples of his playing that sets Albright apart from most saxophonists who are tagged with the smooth-jazz label. Serious Albright fans may not appreciate the absence of his popular duets with his frequent partner, vocalist Will Downing, but that aside, this is a worthy summation of Albright's successful tenure at Atlantic Records.
The exceptional collaboration and friendship between the late Einojuhani Rautavaara and the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Gerland Finley culminates in this unique album of orchestral songs by Sibelius, on which the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Edward Gardner. The album offers orchestrations, by Sibelius and others, of songs which Sibelius originally wrote for voice and piano, and includes the premiere recording of ‘In the Stream of Life,’ seven songs orchestrated by Rautavaara for his friend. Throughout, the poetry perfectly reflects the instinctively felt relation between Finnish nature and Sibelius’s music.