The sky is the limit when tenor saxophone virtuoso Doug Webb turns his attention toward the "Bright Side" on his seventh release for Posi-Tone. Everything swings steadily as Webb plays with remarkable technical precision and a manifest knowledge of his materials. His tone is robust and extraordinarily well-centered, his articulation sharp, and his command of the tenor saxophone complete. Nevertheless, he is more than a mere technician, for his artistry is also considerable and this album is a crowning achievement for an artist who is as substantial a musician as jazz has ever produced. Along with the able assistance of an all-star group of label mates – who are of course all leaders in their own right – including organist Brian Charette, guitarist Ed Cherry, drummer Steve Fidyk, and special guest trumpet sensation Joe Magnarelli, Webb has fashioned a shining diadem of melodic jewels across a wide spectrum of styles and sounds! Critical listeners and casual fanatics everywhere will shine with intense delight as Webb soars onward and upward to new heights with "Bright Side".
A warm welcome back for this 1977 recording of Handel’s most successful opera, which ran, in 1727, for an unprecedented 19 performances. Curtis and his team were visionary 20 years ago. Recitative is lively, declaimed rather than fully sung; vocal decorations sound spontaneous, period instruments are played with zest and polish – barely a sour note from the handful of strings; colours include a trio of oboes and bassoon and, accompanying Bowman in fine voice, a pair of horns for what Dr Burney described as ‘one of the best and most agreeable hunting songs that was ever composed’. Jacobs reflects the volatile title role, impassioned in his death-bed scene which opens the opera, virtuosic elsewhere, though his affected swoops become rather predictably mannered. Yakar and Gomez sing Alceste and Antigone, roles which Handel wrote for Faustina and Cuzzoni, whose jealous rivalry led them, on stage, to ‘call Bitch and Whore’ and ‘pull each other’s coiffs’! Here, Faustina could not more beautifully have ‘sung adagios with great passion and expression’ than Yakar, while Gomez surely matches Cuzzoni’s ability to ‘conceal every appearance of difficulty’ – contemporary descriptions of their outstanding powers. You may want to tweak tone controls to moderate the bright, remastered sound. (George Pratt BBC Music Magazine)