John McLaughlin & Paco de Lucia: Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987 it's truly a shame that, all too often, artists with diverse careers become pigeon-holed, defined by the primary genre in which they first achieved notoriety. Take guitarist John McLaughlin, for instance. Ask most jazz fans about him and what will first come out of most of their mouths will include either the words "fusion," "jazz-rock" and/or Miles Davis, in any permutation/combination (not that there's anything wrong with that). Those a little further in the know might also be aware of his longstanding investigation into the nexus of eastern and western music with his Indo-collaboration, Shakti.
This expertly performed "Stabat Mater" compilation includes two important 16th-century works: the Eton Choirbook setting by John Browne, a sumptuous-if-not-solemn fantasia for six-part choir; and Palestrina's serene double-choir setting, performed one-voice-per-part with improvised embellishments–as Renaissance singers commonly did. Pärt's "Stabat Mater" for vocal trio and string trio (performed stunningly on ECM by the Hilliard Ensemble and, among others, Gidon Kremer) is performed here by three voices and viol sextet. The string playing on the ECM disc was, within the confines of Pärt's somewhat abstract style, very emotional. The viols can't replicate the violin family's intense singing tone and dynamic range; consequently, the expression of grief in the music is yet more abstracted. Technically, Andrew Parrott's singers are at least equal to the Hilliard Ensemble, possibly better. Not necessarily an ideal performance, but worth investigating.Matthew Westphal
This album was missed by nearly everyone. Released in 1990 it was Petra's phenomenal keyboardist's one and only solo venture. Although it does have Petra influences it has a sound all it's own due to the fact that Lawry uses practically all keyboards for the whole album.
A solo debut album by John Frusciante. This album was recorded between two time periods; the first half, Niandra Lades, was recorded before Frusciante left the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1992; during the recording of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The second half, Usually Just a T-Shirt, was recorded while the band was on tour in the months leading up to Frusciante's departure.
John Coltrane (1926-67) was the most relentlessly exploratory musician in jazz history. He was always searching, seeking to take his music further in what he quite consciously viewed as a spiritual quest. In terms of public recognition, this quest began relatively late. The tenor saxophonist, a native of North Carolina who later moved to Philadelphia, was 28 when he joined the Miles Davis quintet in 1955, after years of paying dues in the big band and combo of Dizzy Gillespie (where he played alto before switching to tenor) and as a supporting player behind saxophonists Johnny Hodges, Eddie "Cleanhead” Vinson, and Earl Bostic. Coltrane’s anguished tone and multi-noted, rhythmically complex solos with Davis quickly elevated him to the front ranks of jazz…