This 1998 CD reissues keyboardist Patrice Rushen's first two recordings as a leader except for one selection ("Puttered Bopcorn") from the first date that was left out due to lack of space. Twenty at the time of the earlier set, Rushen showed a great deal of potential for the future, potential that (at least in the jazz world) was unfortunately never realized. Rushen is heard on the Prelusion album heading a septet that includes tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson (the most memorable soloist), trumpeter Oscar Brashear, trombonist George Bohanon and Hadley Caliman on reeds; the music is essentially advanced hard bop with touches of fusion. The later date has a similar group (without Henderson) and with guest spots for flutist Hubert Laws and guitarist Lee Ritenour. The R&B-ish vocal by Josie James on "What's the Story" hints at where Rushen would be going in the future: straight to the pop market. So overall this CD, which should have served as a bright beginning for the young keyboardist, is practically the artistic high point of Patrice Rushen's erratic career.
Since The Essential Chet Atkins concentrates on his instrumental tracks – including hits like "Mr. Sandman" and "Yakety Axe" – it functions as the best single-disc retrospective of the guitarist. It is also one of the only collections that concisely demonstrates his subtlely dazzling virtuosity.
One of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, as well as a legendary musician and producer within country music. Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he recorded hundreds of solo records, Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville sound, a style of country music that owed nearly as much to pop as it did to honky tonks.
These two RCA LPs came out in '64 and '65 when Chet was at the height of his success with the label, scoring his biggest country hit (#4) with Yakety Axe . That classic joins 23 others by the late Nashville icon, including Freight Train; Winter Walkin'; Alone and Forsaken; Guitar Country ; his own versions of Johnny Cash's Understand Your Man and Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, and more!