The album that made Butler a star. The sweeping ballads, catchy uptempo, dance-oriented hits, and multi-tracked overdubs and background vocalists helped make his music a staple on late '80s Urban Contemporary radio. There is little jazz influence and even less jazz content on this release, but Butler does display a strong, effective singing voice.
The first thing to strike the listener about these 2006 Avie recordings of Bach's Sonata for viola da gamba and harpsichord will be how loud they are. While neither instrument is noted for its power to project, the instruments are recorded so closely here as to be gargantuan in these recordings by Jonathan Manson and Trevor Pinnock. After adjusting the volume, the second thing to strike the listener will be how brilliantly played they are.
For those who believe in Original Sin, Predestination or, for that matter, Karma, here's a two disc set of the complete "Penitential Psalms" of Orlandus Lassus fabulously performed by Henry's Eight and marvelously recorded by Hyperion. Gloomy but glorious works that hope for the best while assuming for the worst, Lassus' setting of seven fuliginously serious but spiritually salubrious Psalms of David are sure to send shivers down the spine of anyone with a pessimistic cast of mind. The acapella performances of the all-male – two countertenors, three tenors and three basses – Henry's Eight is darkly hued, strongly rhythmic, deeply soulful, very expressive and absolutely true to the late Renaissance agony of Lassus's music. While not perhaps the first place to start with for Lassus in a melancholy mood – try "The Tears of Peter" for the peak of harmonic anguish – Henry's Eight's recording Penitential Psalms belongs in every Lassus collection, especially as preserved in Hyperion's intimate and evocative sound.
This is a perfectly reasonable recording of Bach's works for violin and orchestra and anyone who has not heard the works before will no doubt find them more than adequate. Violinist and leader Jonathan Rees is a fine player with a sweet tone and a warm style and he takes the strings of the Scottish Ensemble through thoroughly professional performances of the works. When joined by spry violinist Jane Murdoch in the Concerto for two violins and plangent oboist Nicholas Daniel in the Concerto for violin and oboe, Rees proves himself a graceful and considerate partner. Virgin's early-'90s sound is a bit thin on top but still clean and clear.(James Leonard)
The anthology (compiled by David Nathan with assistance from Amar Naik) also includes a number of key album cuts from Jonathan’s five Jive albums, notably ‘Love Hurts So Bad’, making its CD debut worldwide, quiet storm favourite ‘Love Songs, Candelight And You’, a stunning duet with gospel star Vanessa Bell Armstrong on ‘True Love Never Fails’ and as a bonus, a 1999 cover of Jr. Walker’s classic ‘What Does It Take (To Win Your Love For Me)’ with acclaimed Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer.