Weighing in at 15 CDs, The Studio Albums 1969-1983 is a hefty box set but, at $85, it is relatively affordable considering that it contains everything Alice Cooper – both the band and the man – recorded at Straight and Warner. Whatever bonus material attached to CD reissues over the years has been stripped away – nothing from the 2001 deluxe edition of Billion Dollar Babies, then – and there are no new remasters of the albums, but this set isn't bare bones. The mini-LP replicas contain a few inserts carried over from the vinyl and, more importantly, those early Straight Records are present, which is good because they were out of print for a while. Not everything here is great – he did have a rough patch in the late '70s and early '80s – but it's all interesting, and it's especially nice to be able to get the entire catalog so easily and cheaply.
Features SHM-CD format and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. One of the most dynamic albums that Andrew Hill ever cut for Blue Note – a record of long tracks, played by a largeish group who seem perfectly suited to Hill's most creative musical ideas! There's an approach here that almost predates some of the more righteous soul jazz ensemble sides of the 70s – as Hill's piano leads a octet that features Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, John Gilmore on tenor and bass clarinet, Cecil McBee and Richard Davis on basses, Joe Chambers on drums, and Nedi Quamar and Renaud Simmons on percussion. The percussionists roll out with quite a bit of presence in the set – not so much as on some of the Art Blakey percussion sides for Blue Note, but more with a pronounced sense of "bottom" that you might not always hear from Hill – an earthy, sometimes organic way of riffing that then allows freer solo work from the horns and piano on the top!
One of rock's more elaborate, beguiling and strangely rewarding concept albums, this double-vinyl classic stars the ever-theatrical Peter Gabriel as Rael, a Puerto Rican street punk who descends into the New York underground to experience a series of surreal adventures. ("It seemed that prancing around in fairyland was rapidly becoming obsolete," Gabriel explained to his biographer.) Bassist Mike Rutherford, however, wanted to base the band's last album with Gabriel, who'd announced his intention to leave Genesis, on Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince.
A great Lee Morgan set – and one of his rarest! The album was recorded in 1967, but unissued until 1998, when Blue Note unveiled the material as part of its "standards" series that featured label players performing material not of their own composition. Unlike the other records in the series, though, this set by Morgan is not filled with snoozy evergreens, and instead features some excellent reworkings of 60's pop tracks and a few traditional numbers. The group's a septet, with instrumentation that hearkens to other Morgan sessions from the time – like Infinity or Sixth Sense – and players include Wayne Shorter, James Spaulding, and Herbie Hancock. Duke Pearson did the arrangements.