John Cage’s innovative work and unorthodox ideas profoundly affected Western music during the latter half of the 20th century, and this second of two volumes (volume 1 can be heard on Naxos 8.559773) concludes Katrin Zenz’s survey of his complete works for flute. The earlier chromatic compositions include an astonishing variety of playing techniques and a bewildering rhythmic complexity, while the elements of chance in the later works result in music that is always undergoing kaleidoscopic processes at once arbitrary and intensely focussed in form and expression.
After Hours is a 1996 studio album for Novus Records by jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and his trio. Most of the album consists of old standards, and features guests like Randy Sandke and Harry Allen.
Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams have forged a remarkable partnership over the past 20 years, one that's evolved in recent years into a very practical balance of art and commerce. The Spielberg/Williams team followed the blockbuster Jurassic Park with the risk-taking Schindler's List, the bloated Jurassic sequel The Lost World with the moralistic Amistad. Williams admirably rises to the challenge again, underplaying the volatile emotions involved and utilizing African rhythmic and modal influences with surprising subtlety. The choral touches of the title and wordless aria of "Cinque's Theme" bring to mind similar stylistic flourishes by Morricone–and that's high praise.
The John Coltrane Quartet's mind expanding quality is displayed on a half-dozen trinkets with Coltrane's innovative dressing of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things," and the high-energy "Blue Trane," the glossiest. He shows a softness on "Naima," and links the jazz idiom with divine power on "Spiritual" for a musical baptismal that's excellent for impromptu meditation sessions. The six tracks, which include Billy Eckstine's much recorded "I Want to Talk About You," flows for more than 60 minutes, which is enough of 'Trane and his crews' therapeutic expressions to clear the cobwebs, tranquil nerves, and soothe the savage beast.
As the elder statesman of British blues, it is John Mayall's lot to be more renowned as a bandleader and mentor than as a performer in his own right. Throughout the '60s, his band, the Bluesbreakers, acted as a finishing school for the leading British blues-rock musicians of the era. Guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor joined his band in a remarkable succession in the mid-'60s, honing their chops with Mayall before going on to join Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, respectively. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (of Free), John Almond, and Jon Mark also played and recorded with Mayall for varying lengths of times in the '60s.
This is a wonderful, warm-hearted, and effortlessly virtuosic live recording by one of the finest living exponents of pre-bop small-ensemble jazz. With pianist Ray Kennedy and bassist Martin Pizzarelli (and on two songs joined by vocalist Grover Kemble), singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli runs through a generally lightweight but thoroughly charming set of standards, homages, funny stories, and the occasional original tune; the fast tunes are light and frothy, the ballads smooth and gentle, and even the moments that are less than utterly inspired work together with the album's highlights to create a very satisfying whole…