Violinist Svend Asmussen (who has had too few of his albums through the decades available in the U.S.) teams up with pianist John Lewis, bassist Jimmy Woode and drummer Sture Kalin on this 1962 session from Stockholm, Sweden. Most notable is the repertoire: six Lewis originals (including "Django") and Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman." Asmussen fits in well with Lewis and brings a solid sense of swing to the somewhat complex music.
This is one of pianist John Lewis' most rewarding albums outside of his work with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Three numbers (including a remake of "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West") showcase his piano in a quartet with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist George Duvivier, and drummer Connie Kay. A 15-and-a-half-minute rendition of "Body and Soul" has one of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves' finest solos, while "Afternoon in Paris" features a diverse cast with trumpeter Herb Pomeroy, Gunther Schuller on French horn, tenor man Benny Golson, baritonist Jimmy Giuffre, and guitarist Jim Hall; altoist Eric Dolphy cuts everyone.
A really cool pairing of two relatively obscure and always overlooked early- to mid-'60s LPs by Jerry Lee Lewis that, respectively, capture him as a country crooner (and quite a good one) and a high-energy country-rocker with a bluesy edge. The original albums never sold any significant numbers to speak of, with the result that the material will essentially be new to all but the most hardcore fans. None of it is bad and a large portion of it is not only good but impressive, showing some sides to Lewis' talent that weren't always obvious amid the rippling ivories of the Sun Records hits.
There have been many Huey Lewis & the News hits compilations released overseas, but 2006's simply named Greatest Hits is only the second U.S. comp, following Time Flies, which appeared a decade earlier. At a generous 21 tracks, Greatest Hits is not only five songs longer than Time Flies, but it's a better-chosen collection, too. It may be missing "Bad Is Bad," but it has a stronger selection of early songs, like the wonderful "Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do," plus a better selection of latter-day songs, including Huey's duet with Gwyneth Paltrow on Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'." That doesn't mean the disc is perfect, however – although this does have a stronger representation of their earlier material, it could use just a little bit more, and the non-chronological sequencing is a bit of a headache. That said, this has all the hits and no weak songs, making it the best Huey Lewis & the News compilation yet.