Because the Jazz Crusaders in the early '70s dropped the "Jazz" from their name and later in the decade veered much closer to R&B and pop music than they had earlier, it is easy to forget just how strong a jazz group they were in the 1960s. This CD reissues one of their rarer sessions, augmenting the original seven-song LP program (highlighted by "Blues Up Tight," "Doin' That Thing," and "Milestones") with previously unissued versions of "'Round Midnight" and John Coltrane's "Some Other Blues." The Jazz Crusaders (comprised of tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder, trombonist Wayne Henderson, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, and, during this period, bassist Leroy Vinnegar) are heard in prime form.
Some of Grant Green's hottest moments as a jazz-funk bandleader came on his live records of the era, which were filled with extended, smoking grooves and gritty ensemble interplay. Live at the Lighthouse makes a fine companion piece to the excellent Alive!, though there are some subtle differences which give the album its own distinct flavor. For starters, the average track length is even greater, with four of the six jams clocking in at over 12 minutes. That makes it easy to get lost in the grooves as the musicians ride and work them over.
Recorded in the venerable Irish veterans’ favorite Cape Cod venue circa August 2008, LIVE AT THE MELODY TENT is a boisterous, often moving distillation of the band’s Celtic folk-cum-pub rock legacy. The 14 songs were hand-selected by the group, leaving it no wonder that virtually every track, be it the ska-inspired hopefulness of “Will It Ever Stop Raining?” or romantic drive and handclap/sing-along chorus of “That’s What She Said Last Night,” enthusiastically encapsulates the group’s restless spirit. They may not be as debauched as the Pogues or as righteously stripped-down as Billy Bragg, but MELODY TENT is an awesome testament to their status as fierce songwriters and proud countrymen.
Wagner at The Met is the first authorized release of Richard Wagner's operatic masterpieces, including the complete Ring Cycle, captured live in historic broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera.