Earl Brooks is a highly respected businessman and was recently named Portland's Man of the Year. He hides a terrible secret however: he is a serial killer known as the Thumbprint Killer. He has been attending AA meetings and has kept his addiction to killing under control for two years now but his alter ego, Marshall, has re-appeared and is pushing him to kill again. When he does kill a couple while they are making love, he is seen and photographed by someone who also has his own death and murder fetish. In a parallel story, the police detective investigating the murder is having problems of her own. She is going through a messy divorce and a violent criminal who had vowed revenge some years before has escaped from prison and is after her.
On this four-CD set are included the bulk of Nat King Cole's radio transcriptions of 1941 and 1944-45. Although the programming could be a little better (the complete sessions are not compiled strictly in chronological order), the music has a strong unity and is consistently enjoyable. Pianist-vocalist Cole and his trio (which also includes important contributions by guitarist Oscar Moore and either Johnny Miller or Wesley Prince on bass) are featured extensively both as a unit and as an accompanying group to singers Anita Boyer, Ida James, Anita O'Day and the Barrie Sisters on 33, 15, five and five songs respectively.
Richie Cole meets up with fellow altoist Hank Crawford on a spirited concert set. With guitarist Emily Remler, bassist Marshall Hawkins and drummer Victor Jones, Cole and Crawford romp on such numbers as "Confirmation," "Fantasy Blues," "Samba De Orpheus" and "Cherokee." This jam session date has its exciting moments and is easily recommended to bebop fans.
Plastic Wood is a huge departure from the jangle rock albums that Lloyd Cole usually creates. Purely instrumental and recorded alone in New York and London in 1999 and 2000, the album is a startlingly beautiful collection of 18 ambient electronic songs. Cole's gentle, pastoral melodies are everywhere, but they're remarkably subtle and delicate here. Indeed, this is no noisy, experimental Aphex Twin wannabe at work. This is Cole operating in the hushed tones of Brian Eno's acclaimed ambient albums. One could easily confuse Plastic Wood with the work of ISAN or another of the acclaimed artists on the Morr Music label…