At age eighty, tenor saxophonist, composer and band leader Benny Golson is still going strong, and although he experienced a few lean years, is very much a force on the modern mainstream jazz scene in the years of the 2000s. He has revived the spirit of his original Jazztet, co-founded with the late trumpeter Art Farmer, on several occasions since the ensemble was originally founded in 1959. This edition features a strong front line of Golson, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, and trombonist Steve Davis, players from different generations who completely understand the hard and post-bop language. The rhythm section is even more delicious, with pianist Mike LeDonne, peerless bassist Buster Williams, and younger drummer Carl Allen working together in the best sense of that ideal.
Take equal measures of Gallagher and Kraftwerk, mix in a 15-year supply of blue body paint and shake with a double-shot of modern marketing savvy and you might have something akin to Blue Man Group. This ambitious second album by New York performance artists cum entrepreneurs Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink expands their central artistic contradiction–mainstreaming the alternative–with a propulsive cocktail of rhythm, irony, self-invented instrumentation, and bona fide song structures that feature turns from guest stars Dave Matthews (the music hall dirge "Sing Along") and Tracy Bonham ("Up to the Roof," and with Rob Swift, "Shadows Pt.2"). The conceit is vaguely reminiscent of the Tubes' tongue-in-cheek ode to '80s corporate rock, "The Completion Backwards Principle," right down to being so convincing the irony often melts away. Fans of their live performances will appreciate its wall-to-wall rhythmic thrust and quirky textures, while aficionados and newcomers alike should welcome its surprising, seductive melodies and mature songwriting.
Infusing traditional gospel music with Memphis soul, Detroit-based singer Rance Allen helped pave the way for the secularized gospel sound of the '80s and '90s. After signing with Stax in 1969, Allen and his group proceeded to bring their hip brand of gospel to the masses by scoring several chart hits and opening concerts for the likes of Isaac Hayes. This hits package covers the group's successful run in the '70s, spotlighting Allen's incredibly flexible and powerful voice (one listens to cuts like "Ain't No Need of Crying" and "Gonna Make It Alright" and it's easy to figure out where Prince picked up his misty falsetto from). The selections include Allen's biggest Stax hit, "I Got to Be Myself," the spiritually reconfigured cover "Just My Imagination (Just My Salvation)," and modern gospel pioneer James Cleveland's "That Will Be Enough for Me." Allen contributes a handful of slick and spirited groovers, like "I Give My All To You" and "I Belong to You," and even goes in for a little disco on another original, "Smile" (considering Allen's devout nature, it's hard to tell if the more commercial elements in the music came from him or hit-minded producers).
Guitarist Michael Schenker's solo work never equaled the consistently high songwriting standards of his UFO heyday, when vocalist Phil Mogg served as both a capable collaborator for the mad axeman's daunting talents, and stubborn editor for his raging egomania. (Of course Mogg had an even harder time steering UFO post-Schenker, but that's an entirely different review). But when left to his own devices, his bull-headed ways would result in equal amounts of brilliant and dismal moments. As such, this collection provides a great service by presenting only the very best MSG material available. These include major hits like "Armed and Ready," "Cry for the Nations," and "Attack of the Mad Axeman," as well as a generous helping from overlooked third album Assault Attack (the only one featuring journeyman vocalist Graham Bonnett), including the stunning "Desert Song." This is the place to start.
The Group released one album in 1978 and later evolved to the Pekka Pohjola Group.
Double digipak CD. The 2nd disc features an extended studio session with the Sibelius academy orchestra plus two studio outtakes from the original album.
Highly influenced by Weather Report and the jazz fusion scene of the 70s, The Group was set up after Pekka Pohjola and Vesa Aaltonen came back to Finland from Sweden. They both played in the Swedish prog/jazz rock band Made in Sweden. As The Group’s guitarist Seppo Tyni remembers, Aaltonen came back to Finland in early 1977 and Pohjola later in the summer…