Winner Takes All was originally released as a two-album set, which reflected how popular the Isley Brothers were during this period of time. It features some rather lengthy but entertaining pieces. Ronald Isley's silky tenor remains untarnished throughout the album. "I Wanna Be with You" made its claim on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at number one. "Winner Takes All" and "It's a Disco Night" followed in that order and only managed to reach numbers 38 and 27, respectively. Decent songs they are, but not as explosive as some of the Isley Brothers previously released up-tempo numbers. And as danceable as they, they come closer to good-listening songs. However, there are three solid ballads: "Let's Fall in Love," "How Lucky I Am" and "You're the Key to My Heart."
The first album in nearly a decade to include younger brothers Ernie and Marvin backing up brother Ronald, the album scored two more R&B hits with "Whatever Turns You On" and "Sensitive Lover". It would be the group's last studio recording for Warner Bros.
1975's The Heat Is On was the third album that the Isley Brothers recorded with their 3 + 3 lineup, and by that time, the lineup had really perfected its attractive soul/rock sound. The Isleys were providing great R&B long before keyboardist Chris Jasper, bassist Marvin Isley, and the distinctive guitarist Ernie Isley came on board in 1973; nonetheless, the newcomers added a lot to the group and helped it provide some of its best recordings. Marvin's basslines are as funky as it gets, and the Jimi Hendrix-influenced Ernie is a killer guitarist; he would have been perfect for Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, or Judas Priest if the Isley Brothers hadn't kept him busy in the 1970s.
Max Emanuel Cencic accurately describes himself as a mezzo-soprano rather than a counter tenor. His tone, while pure, is colorfully nuanced, nothing like the blanched purity that was once (but is thankfully no longer) stereotypical of counter tenors. A lifetime of singing the most advanced repertoire has given him a confident technique, exceptionally sure intonation, astonishing vocal power, and an effortless-sounding flexibility; at the age of six he sang the Queen of the Night's "Der Hölle Rache on Zagreb" television, and he went on to become a soloist with the Vienna Boys' Choir. On this album he tackles some of Handel's most virtuosic and demanding mezzo arias, most of them relatively unfamiliar. /quote]
Of all the so-called minimalists working today, John Adams is the only one with any good ideas left. Witness this delightful release. The key to Adams's creativity is that he isn't bound by theoretical constraints on what "minimalism" should be. Century Rolls (1995) is a commission by Emanuel Ax, and it was inspired by the composer's listening to a CD recording of an ancient player piano.