The first thing that hits you about Alive 2 is how terrific it sounds. Opening with "Among the Living," Charlie Benante's drums and the sludgy, churning guitars of Scott Ian and Dan Spitz peel out of the speakers at 4,000 decibels. It's like they're trying to make up for a decade lost. And maybe they are. Alive 2 chronicles a June 3, 2005 show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, and features Anthrax's classic lineup reunited for its 20th anniversary…
Say what you will about scanty biographical material and uncertain personal links, it nevertheless seems entirely probable that Bach wrote at least some of his sonatas and partitas for violin solo after his first wife's death in 1720. In this second volume of Hélène Schmitt recordings of the works, her performance of the monumental A minor Sonata No. 2 is so passionate, so rhapsodic, and so expressive that the spirit of loss and grief fills the music like inconsolable tears.
Like American comedian W.C. Fields, American composer Elliott Carter never believed in giving the listener an even break. In the three string quartets recorded here, Carter used all the tools at his command a virtuoso technique, an adroit intellect, and an unsurpassed ability to write ruthlessly independent counterpoint to challenge and confound the unsuspecting listener.
For followers who bemoan guitarist John Abercrombie's tendency to record rather adventurous albums with an often electronically treated tone, Witchcraft will be a delight. On this duo recording with bassist Don Thompson (who also plays piano on three tracks), the guitarists' sound is untreated, and the repertoire is standards. The two play well together, and there are some lovely moments on the record. The title track finds Abercrombie using the differing tonal qualities of his guitar's open strings to give the melody a unique interpretation.