Russell Watson explores the full-blooded romantic potential of the operatic repertoire with this collection of some of the best-loved tenor arias of all time.
Remastered in 24-bit from the original master tapes. Part of our Keepnews Collection, which spotlights classic albums originally produced by the legendary and arguably the most respected of all jazz producers, Orrin Keepnews. George Russell is listed in the Encyclopedia of Jazz as "composer, piano, educator" and all of these are accurate descriptions of this dynamic musical revolutionary.
This is another fabulous album from Russell, with all the favourites and a bonus live recording from the Royal Albert Hall. Anyone who enjoys the pure class of a brilliant operatic voice, will not be disappointed, by this marvellous mix of tracks.
Leon Russell never quite hit all the right notes the way he did on his eponymous debut. He never again seemed as convincing in his grasp of Americana music and themes, never again seemed as individual, and never again did his limited, slurred bluesy voice seem as ingratiating…
Brenda Russell's commercial breakthrough with the Top Ten hit "Piano in the Dark" in 1988 may have hurt her career as much as it helped, since it set up sales expectations the jazz-pop vocalist was not prepared to meet, and five years later, when Soul Talkin' failed to find a big enough audience, she lost her major-label recording contract. Seven years on, Russell is back on a major label, albeit through Hidden Beach Recordings' manufacturing and distribution deal with Epic Records, a division of Sony Music. But she remains a refined artist unlikely to appeal to a mass audience.
It's a shame this and the earlier Classics collection split up the bandleader's prime 1930 recordings, but such is the way of a strictly chronological series. Those wanting just one disc that covers most of Russell's best work will want to pick up JSP's Savoy Shout disc, which includes 22 cuts from 1929-1930. But for collectors in need of all of the recordings Russell cut before Louis Armstrong practically swallowed up his band whole in 1934, the two Classics discs will certainly do the trick. And while this later disc pales a bit to the 1926-1930 collection, its first half does feature classic work from Russell's band and its spin-off combo, J.C. Higginbotham and His Six Hicks. Along with Higginbotham's own irrepressible trombone work, these sides also offer a wealth of solo treats from such band standouts as trumpeter Henry Allen and saxophonists Charlie Holmes and Albert Nicholas. The later 1931 and 1934 recordings might not match up to earlier classics like "Panama" and "Song of the Swanee," but they still include enough fine performances amongst the filler to keep the quality level up. A worthwhile disc, but one that's probably best suited for Russell completists.