This is the second album of The Jamaica Boys - a Queens based funk trio. Although marketed in rap circles, The Jamaica Boys were really more of a fusion trio with composer/multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller, drummer Lenny White, and singer Mark Stevens combining forces. They made pleasant music, and occasionally Miller would come up with an inspired riff. But the most distinctive thing about this album in retrospect was the fact that Stevens was Chaka Khan's brother.
This [reissue] restores to circulation a strong Atlantic date from Art Farmer's immediate post-Jazztet period and features Farmer's quartet playing standards with swinging subtlety. Interaction, from 1963, is a vehicle for the intertwining improvisations of guitarist Jim Hall and Farmer, on flügelhorn, who weaves through and around Hall's sublimely understated lines with disarming ease, elegance, and sensitivity.
Laurie Anderson's third proper studio album, coming over five years after 1984's Mister Heartbreak (1986's Home of the Brave was a film soundtrack), is a near-total departure from anything she had done before or, indeed, anything she did after. The most purely musical of Anderson's albums and the one on which she does the most actual singing (though her trademark deadpan spoken-word passages are still present and accounted for), Strange Angels seems to be Anderson's idea of a straightforward pop album.
Steve Reich has a remarkable arrangement for a composer in that he is an exclusive artist for Nonesuch and has been so for more than two decades. Back in 1996, when Reich celebrated his 60th birthday, Nonesuch issued a 10-CD box set of "everything" – all of the works in the Warner Classics vaults that he had recorded, including some new at the time, such as Steve Reich: Works 1965-1995. With Reich's 70th birthday afoot, the earlier set still in print and Nonesuch belonging to a classical music division that is operating on one lung, it has decided on a more modest approach to the newer observance with Steve Reich: Phases – A Nonesuch Retrospective, a collection consisting of five discs.
In case anyone has forgotten how ingratiating and prolific Joe Sample the songwriter has been, the master of elegant funk re-records 14 songs here. And it is a cooler, more reflective light in which Sample and producer George Duke see his old tunes in the '90s: with relaxed, uncomplicated, to-the-point acoustic piano leads; a mildly percolating beat; and a veneer-thin garnish of electronics.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Steve's second solo album is a really nice record, presenting to the listener a palette of guitarist's styles in a honest and enjoyable way.