When PolyGram refused to release his 1983 record Shook in either the U.S. or England, Iain Matthews became disillusioned and decided to put his career on hold indefinitely. Following a stint as an A&R man for both Island and Windham Hill Records, he returned in 1988 with an album dedicated solely to the songs of Jules Shear. Issued by Windham Hill, Walking a Changing Line was the label's first vocal release, though it still retained touches of the label's trademark new age sound throughout.
After five straight solo recordings with producer Mark Hallman at the helm – going back to 1988 – Iain Matthews decided to handle the production duties, along with guitarist Bradley Kopp, for 1999's Excerpts from Swine Lake. Whereas his last couple of recordings lived and died with his writing or vocals, here Matthews and Kopp inject the material with a vibrance that has been somewhat scarce in his work since 1990's Pure & Crooked. It also doesn't hurt that this is as consistent a collection of original music that he's put to record.
After a two-month tour in 1999, Dave and Tim closed their acoustic run on the evening of March 13 at the Berkeley Community Theater in Berkeley, CA. The duo’s time on the road leading up to this night shows as the performance is exceptional. From the first note of the “Granny” opener, to the encore of "Digging A Ditch”, "Lover Lay Down", and "Ants Marching,” there is not an ill note throughout. And yet, it’s not only DMB favorites that shine; but also Tim’s skilled playing of his complex original compositions, as well as fantastic covers of Daniel Lanois’ "For The Beauty of Wynona" and Lyle Lovett’s "If I Had A Boat", make this show a true listening pleasure. This intimate performance has been mixed from the original multitrack tapes.
Reissue with the latest 24-bit remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. Fast and funky fusion from David Matthews – building off the sound of his later Kudu recordings with a sweet electric groove! The album's got a pretty full approach overall – with Matthews on electric piano, and directing a large group of players that includes Mike Maineri, Michael Brecker, Jon Faddis, Shunzo Ohno, and Ronnie Cuber – and a number of tracks feature a vocal chorus that includes Ullanda McCullough and Yvonne Lewis. The overall style is slick, but not in a bad way – and Matthews more than meets the Japanese fusion sound head to head for this non-US release from the time!
Here is yet another live album by the Dave Matthews Band. This one is from his Central Park Concert in 2003. This one is three CDs, loaded with hits and near-misses, from one of the most successful stage bands in the business. The Matthews Band is tight, full of enough funk and sass to keep it interesting, and yet is able to convey real emotion to tens of thousands of people, as evidenced by their many live recordings. What sets this one apart is its presentation of one concert in its entirety, and its willingness to leave rough edges in. While the sound is pristine, and the performance reflects the band's well-rehearsed acumen, there are those spontaneous moments on this set that get left off of most band's live recordings – including Matthews' previous ones.
This version of Holst’s endearing masterpiece, “The Planets”, sounds very good in Naxos’ super audio 5.1 technology. I do not have the point one (subwoofer) hooked up in my house and assume, by listening to the recording in 5.0, that the timpani — which are already very powerful and forward placed — would be explosive if you listened in 5.1. The sound is very good otherwise, with wide ranging and natural orchestral body and timbre. It is not the best super audio sound I’ve heard but it is good and a big improvement over the stereo sound on the last version of “The Planets” I purchased, the one Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle released last year.