Quintessential jazz singer whose reedy voice and laconic style made her a legend for the ages. The first popular jazz singer to move audiences with the intense, personal feeling of classic blues, Billie Holiday changed the art of American pop vocals forever. More than a half-century after her death, it's difficult to believe that prior to her emergence, jazz and pop singers were tied to the Tin Pan Alley tradition and rarely personalized their songs; only blues singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey actually gave the impression they had lived through what they were singing. Billie Holiday's highly stylized reading of this blues tradition revolutionized traditional pop…
As its album title suggests, Starship's compilation Greatest Hits (Ten Years and Change 1979-1991) covers not only the group's popular heyday, 1985-1991, but also the earlier era, 1979-1984, which was actually the latter days of Jefferson Starship, after the departures of co-lead singers Marty Balin and Grace Slick, with former Elvin Bishop Group singer Mickey Thomas replacing Balin, and Slick, eventually, returning. The history that is described by the collection is largely one of attrition, effectively traced by the performer credits listed in the booklet. In 1979, the group is a sextet consisting of Thomas, lead guitarist Craig Chaquico, rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner…
Easter Island was originally formed in 1973 by guitarist Mark Miceli. The music places emphasis on excellent mini-moog and Mellotron work as well as guitar, like most prog bands from the mid-'70s seemed to do. Their original and progressive music has its roots in the compositional techniques of King Crimson, Yes, and ELP.
Armed with just his "Feels So Good" quintet and occasionally a couple of brass players, Mangione's more grandiose ambitions are pretty much behind him on his final A&M release. The emphasis is almost entirely on spinning pretty tunes for his new mass audience without alienating or challenging it much. Not that this collection is completely soporific or lacking the jazz touch; "Pina Colada" revives things with some uptempo flights for Mangione's flugelhorn and Chris Vadala's tenor, and the title cut is an amiably jumping, if repetitive funk workout for the quintet. The major push, however, went to "Give It All You Got" – another upbeat, optimistic, good-times motivating tool, heard extensively at the 1980 Winter Olympics – and Chuck gives it to us again at a listless tempo with the title, "Give It All You Got, But Slowly." As things transpired, this would be his last halfway decent studio album for at least the next decade.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive-rock music.
"Moon And Mind" maybe in the jazz/fusion category but is not exactly typical of most other groups in the genre. Led by guitarist Ralph Towner, Oregon has had quite a career exploring their own unique and vibrant sound.