Doug Sahm once sang, "You just can't live in Texas if you don't have a lot of soul," and, as a proud son of the Lone Star state, he seemed bent on proving that every time he stepped in front of a microphone. Whether he was playing roots rock, garage punk, blues, country, norteño, or (as was often the case) something that mixed up several of the above-mentioned ingredients, Doug Sahm always sounded like Doug Sahm – a little wild, a little loose, but always good company, and a guy with a whole lot of soul who knew a lot of musicians upon whom the same praise could be bestowed. Pulling together a single disc compilation that would make sense of the length and breadth of the artist's recording career (which spanned five decades) would be just about impossible (the licensing hassles involved with the many labels involved would probably scotch such a project anyway), but this disc, which boasts 22 songs recorded over the course of eight years, is a pretty good starter for anyone wanting to get to know Sahm's music.
The explosive transformation of Miles Davis’ “second great Quintet” with Wayne Shorter (tenor sax), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums) is laid bare on this release. Culled from original state-owned television and radio sources in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, the program spans five northern European festival performances over the course of nine days in October-November 1967. The audio shows consist entirely of previously unreleased or previously only bootlegged material. This is a 3-CD + DVD package, with an 8-panel digipak with 28-page booklet.
John Cocuzzi is a versatile, talented multi-instrumentalist jazz musician who, with his quintet, stretches out for an entertaining 60 minutes-plus of solid, straight ahead jazz on this very good album. A Washington, D.C. native, Cocuzzi gained an appreciation of jazz at an early age listening to his record collection and to his father, who was a percussionist with the U.S. Marine Band. Initially studying piano and then drums after hearing Lionel Hampton, vibes were added to his arsenal of instruments. Swingin' and Burnin' revisits the small group swing of the '30s and '40s popularized by Benny Goodman, Hampton, Artie Shaw, and others. Cocuzzi adds his own flavor along with some artful arrangements to such warhorses from the past as "Slipped Disc," "Benny's Bugle," and "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." On the latter, Cocuzzi shows off his vocal skills along with a boogie woogie piano. "Broadway" epitomizes the adroit swinging of the quintet, with each member of the group getting a chance to show their wares during the seven minutes they devote to this Teddy McRae/Bill Bird melody.
This 37-track, two-disc set is the most comprehensive compilation of John Renbourn's recording career to date. In one sense, Renbourn can be defined as a traditional British folk guitarist, but within that category, he has managed a wide variety of different recording projects over 40 years. There are the solo guitar albums, of course, but then there are also duo albums with Bert Jansch and Stefan Grossman; Renbourn's major group affiliation with Pentangle; his own band projects, the John Renbourn Group and John Renbourn's Ship of Fools, and even prominent work as a sideman for other artists.
Fusing the talents of Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn, and the California Guitar Trio, you'd be wrong to assume that The Bridge Between is a boring album of guitar aerobics for guitar enthusiasts. This is a wonderful piece of work. Its most dubious attribute is to sometimes descend into Sky (the Anglo-Australian outfit formed by John Williams, Francis Monkman etc) territory in its medieval harpsichord delivery ("Passacaglia," "Contrapunctus"). However "Kanon Power" and standouts "Bicycling to Afghanistan" and "Blockhead" are fretboard knitted excellence. Unfortunately, the latter two are separated by a five-minute downbeat – "Blue" – and the set is spoiled by a near-13-minute endgame "Threnody for Souls in Torment," which would be better placed elsewhere. None the less, you can always hit the stop button after "Passacaglia" or better, stick "Afghan" and "Blockhead" on repeat!
The peerless Takacs Quartet recently nominated for a Gramophone award for their second disc of Brahms's string quartets, continue their exploration of the Romantic chamber music tradition with this disc of Schumann. The Piano Quintet is by far Schumann's most popular chamber work and one of the most beloved works in the genre. Schumann was the first romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet. Schumann studied the string quartets of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn and his quartet Op. 41 No. 3 demonstrates these influences. However, it contains many highly original strokes, particularly the casting of the scherzo as a set of variations. The Takacs Quartet are joined by Marc-Andre Hamelin in an invigorating partnership that has already been widely acclaimed on the concert platform.
Franck’s Piano Quintet and Debussy’s String Quartet make an apt and unusual coupling, each work its composer’s only, unsurpassable, contribution to the genre. Both receive authoritative performances from Marc-André Hamelin and the Takács Quartet.
For this very special release in The Book of Angels series, Zorn has brought together five of the most acclaimed musicians in modern jazz to perform nine of his most distinctive and lyrical compositions. Truly a jazz supergroup, these five master musicians explore Zorn's beautiful and exotic tunes with profound melodic and harmonic knowledge and a depth of feeling that is a joy to hear. One of the most breathtaking CDs in the entire Masada series—a touch of the sublime from the beautiful new Masada Quintet!