The Russian-British pianist Alexander Melnikov has recorded Shostakovich and a variety of Romantic chamber music with great success. But nothing quite prepares the listener for the controlled power in these performances of three Prokofiev piano sonatas. The Piano Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82, and Piano Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84, are among the most modernist works Prokofiev ever wrote. They appeared during World War II and are often thought, with some justification, to reflect that environment.
Billy Eckstine was looking back more than forward by 1960, and his second record for Roulette featured two remakes of familiar hits he'd enjoyed almost 20 years earlier. He also covered two average themes from forgottable movies, the first being the title song (from a Yul Brynner vehicle), the second being "Secret Love" (from a Doris Day film). It may read like a desultory date, and indeed it would have been if not for the presence of a solid jazz band and the surprisingly sympathetic arrangements of big-brass auteur Billy May.
Universal’s 2010 collection Icon 2 expands the simultaneously released 12-track Icon by another 12-track CD that covers the group’s '80s hits. Although this material isn’t quite as well regarded as the ‘70s hits that make up the first disc, this does make for a good overview of the band’s peak and includes such latter-day staples as “I Love It Loud,” “Lick It Up,” “Heaven’s on Fire,” “Crazy Crazy Nights,” and “God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II.”