Ike Quebec's 1961-1962 comeback albums for Blue Note were all pretty rewarding, but Blue and Sentimental is his signature statement of the bunch, a superbly sensuous blend of lusty blues swagger and achingly romantic ballads.
Led by the songwriting and vocals of Jay Farrar, Son Volt was one of the most instrumental and influential bands in launching the alt.country movement of the 1990's. A movement that was the precursor to what is now widely referred to as Americana. The 10 songs on 'Notes Of Blue' are inspired by the spirit of the blues, but not the standard blues as most know it. The unique and haunting tunings of Mississippi Fred McDowell, Skip James and Nick Drake were all points of exploration for Farrar for the new collection. Farrar possesses one of the most distinctive voices in roots, rock, country or any genre. He exudes a soulful longing combined with a wise-beyond-his-years command that is as arresting and compelling as ever…
The opening tom hits and fuzzbox riffs that start Indigo Meadow give the indication that this is yet another turn on the Black Angels' merry-go-round of stoner rock and neo-psychedelia. However, the third song, "Don't Play with Guns," takes a decided turn with its big pop single hook, and the follow-ups "Holland" and "The Day" follow suit, as songs that are more carefully structured than the usual two-chord repetition that we've grown to expect. Not that there's anything wrong with the sound of bands like Spacemen 3 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but after several albums based on repetition, this is a pleasant, unexpected change for the Austinites.
At the forefront of the new wave coming from the other side of Atlantic, Blue Shift could be seen as a major revelation ! Without any doubt, "Not The Future I Ordered" is one of the most interesting albums of the year 1997. This band plays a flashy and creative Progressive rock from the other side of the world. Their sound is huge, both on the acoustic guitar parts and on the whole sound. The Yes influence (From the glorious early days to the Trevor Rabin era) is noticeable without being a nuisance. The stunning Led Zeppelin cover ("Immigrant Song") proves, if needed, that the American group has lots of other talents to share. The whole reminds of the way Spock's Beard recently realised a successful and modern synthesis of the Seventies…
Just prior to signing with RCA/Novus, John Pizzarelli recorded two sets for Chesky that featured him playing in the swing style that he would soon make quite popular. Although joined by all-stars (pianist Dave McKenna, bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Connie Kay, his father, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and flugelhornist Clark Terry) rather than his regular trio, Pizzarelli's likable vocals and relaxed guitar solos are not overshadowed. In fact, this is a delightful date, with memorable renditions of such songs as "I'm An Errand Boy for Rhythm," "Lady Be Good," "The Best Man," "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You" and "Candy." Easily recommended to John Pizzarelli fans.
In the late '30s and early '40s, pianist Teddy Wilson was a big deal in the land of jazz. He had many opportunities to perform as a sideman, and eventually got his breaks. These sessions showcase of variety of his efforts with big bands, large ensembles, small groups, and a singer named Billie Holiday. Though none of his own compositions are credited ("Big Apple" should be,) he certainly had a hand in the arrangements, and was given space to play quite a bit of piano. The Hep label has generously provided 23 selections with Wilson and bandmates including stalwarts Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Freddie Green, Red Norvo and Pee Wee Russell, as well as backing trombonist Benny Morton's All Stars. There are two takes of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Just a Mood" (Blue Mood,) "When You're Smiling," and "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" for contrast sake. The sound reproduction of these vintage performances is excellent, and this one can easily be recommended to both fan and novice.
If you thought that Chris Rea's reasonably priced 11 CD boxset called Blue Guitars, featuring over 130 songs, was a bit too much to take in at one time, then this two CD distillation might be more your style. Here, the best 22 tracks from the box are compiled on two CDs for your sampling pleasure. Includes 'Where the Blues Come From', 'The Soul of My Father's Shadow', 'Lucky Day', 'Who Killed Love' and more.