At the age of 71, Johnny Frigo finally had his debut as a leader on record, with the exception of an obscure effort in 1957. Although he had spent much of his career as a studio bassist, Frigo successfully switched full-time to his first love, the violin, and was immediately considered one of the top swing-based violinists. Joined by both Bucky and John Pizzarelli on guitars, either Ron Carter or Michael Moore on bass, and drummer Butch Miles, Frigo is in wonderful form on 14 standards, including "Pick Yourself Up," "Detour Ahead" (which he had co-written while with the Soft Winds in the late '40s), "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "The Song Is You." This recommended CD launched the Chesky label.
The survival of classical music may hinge on its ability to appear prominently outside the standard venues of concert halls and recording studios, thereby reaching a much larger audience of listeners who might otherwise never be treated to the masterworks of the canonical repertoire. New York-based ensemble the Knights seeks to do that by coupling its impressively broad repertoire (ranging from classical to jazz to world music) with a desire to play in locations where one might not expect to see an orchestra.
The circumstances surrounding this April 6, 1962 concert at Carnegie Hall are as legendary as the performance itself. Pianist Gould desired to play the piece at a slower-than-usual tempo, Bernstein (who was conducting the New York Philharmonic) did not. Gould prevailed, but Bernstein shared his disavowal in an infamous pre-concert speech to the audience. This CD-the concert recording's first authorized release-includes Bernstein's speech, the complete performance and a revealing Glen Gould interview recorded two years later.
John Lennon's concert appearances during his solo years were rare and scattered about, so any live document is worth hearing. Yet this one, the fabled One to One concert at Madison Square Garden, doesn't live up to its legend, however noble the cause (a benefit for the Willowbrook School for Children). Much of the problem, one suspects, is that Lennon concerts tended to be quick, casual one-offs; this material might have really rocked if John had broken the tunes in on the road first. Also, the Plastic Ono Elephants Memory Band is a fairly crude bunch of bashers, with Stan Bronstein's flailing sax and surprisingly poor drumming, despite the support of Jim Keltner…