Mose Alliso R.I.P. Influential blues and jazz pianist Mose Allison, whose songs were covered by an array of rock veterans, died Tuesday at the age of 89 of natural causes. Although Mose Allison is perhaps best known for his enjoyably idiosyncratic vocal style, he is first and foremost a marvelous piano player with a unique style pitched somewhere between a New Orleans bordello and the rhythmic and harmonic experimentation of Thelonious Monk or Sun Ra. This well-chosen 1966 compilation (released after Allison had split for Atlantic Records) pulls together ten of his best instrumentals from four of his six Prestige albums, and it makes a strong case for Allison as one of the most inventive piano players and composers of his generation.
From Broadway With Love contains a dozen great classics from the Broadway show stage. This album features orchestrations which fall into three distinctive styles and as usual Nancy Wilson gives all of these songs her very own treatment. From the no holds barred big band version of 'Hello Dolly' to the swinging treatment of 'I've Got Your Number'. Then there's the rich string orchestra that accompanies her on 'I'll Only Miss Him When I Think Of Him' followed by a much smaller band on 'Makin' Whoopee' and 'This Dream'. Tender Loving Care is an album of love songs but not all sung or orchestrated in the form of slushy ballads. Some are pure romance and love but others really swing like 'Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You'. Billy May arranges and conducts on this album. Put together these two albums and you have Nancy Wilson at her very best!
This compilation has all of the music formerly on singer June Christy's two 1957 Capitol LPs, Fair and Warmer! and Gone for the Day, both of which have Pete Rugolo arrangements. The former set (which is actually programmed second) finds Christy joined by a 12-piece group of mostly West Coast all-stars. The backup players include trumpeter Don Fagerquist, trombonist Frank Rosolino, altoist Bud Shank, and Bob Cooper on tenor, but they are mostly restricted to short statements. Christy is in excellent form on such numbers as a definitive (but very brief) "I Want to Be Happy," "When Sunny Gets Blue," and "It's Always You." Three different groups are used on the Gone for the Day set, two of which have string sections, while the other uses five trombones.
Volume two of Collectables' Ultimate Christmas Album gathers more classic pop and rock holiday tunes, including the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick," Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus," and Diana Ross & the Supremes' "White Christmas." Most of this volume's best-known tracks are by traditional pop crooners, such as Dean Martin's "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," Bing Crosby's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," and Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas." However, less-familiar tracks like the Echelons' "A Christmas Long Ago (Jingle Jingle)," Augie Rios' "Donde Esta Santa Claus," and Barry Gordon's "Nuttin' for Christmas" prevent the collection from being too predictable. It's not exactly a straightforward holiday-hits compilation, but The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2 balances enough standards and obscure tunes to make it a unique collection.