Styx's feisty, straightforward brand of album rock is represented best by "Blue Collar Man" from 1978's Pieces of Eight, an invigorating keyboard and guitar rush – hard and heavy, yet curved by Tommy Shaw's emphasized vocals. Reaching number 21, with the frolicking romp of "Renegade" edging in at number 16 only six months later, Pieces of Eight maintained their strength as a front-running FM radio group…
Weather Report's biggest-selling album is that ideal thing, a popular and artistic success – and for the same reasons. For one thing, Joe Zawinul revealed an unexpectedly potent commercial streak for the first time since his Cannonball Adderley days, contributing what has become a perennial hit, "Birdland." Indeed, "Birdland" is a remarkable bit of record-making, a unified, ever-developing piece of music that evokes, without in any way imitating, a joyous evening on 52nd St. with a big band. The other factor is the full emergence of Jaco Pastorius as a co-leader; his dancing, staccato bass lifting itself out of the bass range as a third melodic voice, completely dominating his own ingenious "Teen Town" (where he also plays drums!). By now, Zawinul has become WR's de facto commander in the studio; his colorful synthesizers dictate the textures, his conceptions are carefully planned, with little of the freewheeling improvisation of only five years before. Wayne Shorter's saxophones are now reticent, if always eloquent, beams of light in Zawinul's general scheme while Alex Acuña shifts ably over to the drums and Manolo Badrena handles the percussion.
On this, the second Spirit album, the group put all of the elements together that made them the legendary (and underrated) band that they were. Jazz, rock & roll, and even classical elements combined to create one of the cleanest, most tasteful syntheses of its day. The group had also improved measurably from their fine debut album, especially in the area of vocals. The album's hit single, "I Got a Line on You," boasts especially strong harmonies as well as one of the greatest rock riffs of the period. The first side of this record is a wonderful and seamless suite, and taken in its entirety, one of the greatest sides on Los Angeles rock. The CD reissue also boasts some excellent bonus tracks. "So Little to Say" is one of Jay Ferguson's finest compositions ever, and the jazz-inspired instrumentals such as "Fog" and "Space Chile" showcase pianist John Locke as one of the most inspired and lyrical players in the rock idiom to date. All in all, a classic album and a true landmark.
Sebastián Durón was, together with Antonio de Literes, the greatest Spanish composer of stage music of his time. He served as organist and choirmaster at various cathedrals (Seville, Cuenca, El Burgo de Osma, Plasencia) until in 1691 he was appointed master of the Royal Chapel of King Charles II in Madrid.