Tommy Roe's Greatest Hits on MCA is a fine 18-track collection that serves up the bubblegum icon's best songs and very little filler. Unlike a large number of Roe collections, this disc contains all original recordings made during his prime. And what a prime it was! Between 1962 and 1969, Roe was responsible for some of the brightest, snappiest bubblegum on the planet. From the funky breakbeats of "Dizzy" to the hushed romanticism of "It's Now Winter's Day" to the swampy groove of "Jam Up and Jelly Tight," there are enough hits here to make you think twice about calling Roe anything less than Hall of Fame material. A couple of collections have come along since the release of this to challenge it's worth, but they are each flawed in their own way. Until the perfect Roe collection comes along, this is a fine purchase.
Tommy Smith, the great Scottish saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator, studied classical orchestration in the 1990s, and has played in plenty of challenging jazz/classical settings. But Modern Jacobite is his most ambitious journey yet, centred on an intricately woven three-movement symphonic work inspired by the Jacobite uprisings; it is bookended by a rapturous tenor-sax improvisation on Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, and by Chick Corea’s famous Children’s Songs interleaved with Smith’s own Bairn’s Songs as personal variations on the same theme. The Jacobite pieces embrace violent, cinematic soundscapes for slewing brass and thundering percussion; deep cello themes that segue into pulsating tenor-sax ruminations; Scottish folk dances that become pipe-toned tenor jigs.
It's easy to understand why Tommy Flanagan has been one of the most praised pianists over the '80s and '90s while listening to an excellent trio date such as this CD. With bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash, he features a number of songs with oceanic themes, including a tantalizing "How Deep Is the Ocean?," "I Cover the Waterfront," and his own snappy title track. Flanagan also delivers a thunderous take of "Relaxin' at Camarillo" and the smoldering, savory blues "C.C. Rider."