While Sven Helbig's Pocket Symphonies is presented by Deutsche Grammophon as a collection of lavishly produced songs in symphonic guise, the style has more in common with adult contemporary or easy listening categories than with classical music. Despite the appearance of Kristjan Järvi, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony, and the Fauré Quartet, who bring ample talent and commitment to the proceedings, the album actually consists of lush and occasionally lively instrumentals that no one would mistake for western symphonic music, except for the use of an orchestra.
On his first instrumental album in over a decade, German jazz trumpeter/flügelhornist and pop star Till Brönner offers his own tribute to one of his earliest inspirations: the sound of Creed Taylor's CTI label. Co-produced by the artist with keyboardist Roberto Di Gioia and Samon Kawamura, these 12 tunes employ a crack studio band as well as strings, and evoke memories of the label's arrangers Don Sebesky, David Matthews, and Bob James, but with distinctly modern charts. The mood is relaxed, open, and fluid, and creativity runs high. The production is warm yet crystalline; though attention is paid to detail, nothing feels constrained by nostalgia. These 12 cuts wed hip, soulful jazz-funk grooves to modern jazz, sometimes infused with a subtly cinematic panache. "Will of Nature" has a tight front-line horn vamp (Brönner and saxophonist Magnus Lindgren) that invokes hard bop but sticks closer to spacy soul-jazz – Lindgren even quotes "A Love Supreme" in the intro to his solo. Di Gioia's Rhodes makes room inside the mix for exploration, while staying deep in the pocket provided by Wolfgang Haffner's drum kit and Albert Johnson's double bass. "The Gate" opens with lush, impressionistic strings that hover and float in the intro, highlighted by Lindgren's flute. They introduce Brönner's smoky flügelhorn melody, followed by double bass, rim-shot snare, and cymbals. The strings vanish and, in a nice timbral contrast, the slippery head is led by Lindgren's bass clarinet and the horn.
In 1980 and 1981, many people in the music world suspected that Lionel Richie would soon be leaving the Commodores to pursue a solo career – and sure enough, he officially became a full-time solo artist in 1982. In the Pocket, released in 1981, turned out to be his final album with the group. Not surprisingly, Richie dominates the album, singing lead on everything from adult contemporary ballads like "Lucy" and "Oh No" (a number four pop/number five R&B smash) to the sophisticated funk of "Why You Wanna Try Me" and the Top Five R&B favorite "Lady (You Bring Me Up)." Walter Orange and Thomas McClary also contribute some lead vocals, but the album's best-known songs are the ones that feature Richie.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. The late, great Joe Zawinul is most fondly remembered for Weather Report and for his later leadership of one of the best world-jazz fusion bands, the Zawinul Syndicate. Money in the Pocket, however, represents the Zawinul story earlier on, in 1965, after he had been playing in Cannonball Adderley's band for four years.