The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology is an exhaustive, lovingly assembled double-disc retrospective of Graham's entire career, following his immediate post-Sly & the Family Stone recordings with Graham Central Station, through his luxurious solo quiet storm hits of the late '70s and early '80s, to his reunion with the Station in the '90s.
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.
Disc 1 is an incomplete Philadelphia concert, one month into the USA Pump Tour, taken from West wood One "Superstar Concert Series" broadcast May 1990. Disc 2 is the 10 songs an incomplete version of Central Park 1975 concert taken from King Biscuit Flour Hour FM Broadcast …
On her stunning sophomore album, Central Reservation, Beth Orton slips free of the electronic textures that colored her acclaimed 1996 debut, Trailer Park, stripping her music down to its raw essentials to produce a work of stark simplicity and rare poignancy. With the exception of a pair of Ben Watt-produced tracks ("Stars All Seem to Weep" and a remix of the title cut), Central Reservation rejects synthetic sounds and beats altogether in favor of an organic atmosphere somewhere between folk, jazz, and the blues; the focal point is instead Orton's evocatively soulful voice, which invests songs like "Sweetest Decline" and "Feel to Believe" with remarkable warmth and honesty. It's a risky move creatively as well as commercially – after all, the club culture was the first to champion Orton's talents – but it pays off handsomely; for all its brilliance, elements of Trailer Park already feel dated, but the new material possesses a timelessness that recalls the best of Nick Drake or Sandy Denny, with a haunting beauty to match.
Three of the five musicians on this quintet date (flügelhornist Art Farmer, altoist Frank Morgan, and pianist Lou Levy) had played on Central Avenue in Los Angeles of the late '40s. Not all of the eight songs that they perform with bassist Eric Von Essen and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath are from the era ("Blue Minor" and "Cool Struttin'" were written by Sonny Clark several years later), but the outing is very much in the bop style of the period. Their live set is highlighted by spirited versions of "Star Eyes," "Farmer's Market," "I Remember You," and "Donna Lee." This CD is filled with high-quality bebop that is easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans.
Near the end of 1965, harmonically advanced trumpeter/cornetist Thad Jones organized a big band with drummer Mel Lewis that from February 1966 onward played Monday nights at the Village Vanguard. During the next decade, the orchestra became famous and gave Jones an outlet for his writing. Central Park North, recorded and released in 1969, testifies that one could be a big band and progressive at the same time. Flügelhornist Jones and percussionist Lewis are joined by a large cast of players, including tenor Joe Farrell, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, and pianist Roland Hanna. The music runs the gauntlet from funky soul-jazz to more gentle traditional work, sometimes within the same piece…
An exuberant mid-'70s funk group, Graham Central Station made some fine singles for Warner Bros. Former Sly & the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham renamed Hot Chocolate (not the British group) Graham Central Station after he moved from producing the group to playing with it. The group included Graham, guitarist David Vega, keyboardists Robert Sam and Hershall Kennedy, percussionist Patrice Banks, and drummer Willie Sparks. They utilized the identical funk cum rock and soul formula of Sly, though in not quite as imaginative a fashion. Their debut single, Can You Handle It, reached number nine on the R&B charts, and they landed a number one record in 1975 with Your Love. They recorded as Graham Central Station from 1974 to 1977, then as Larry Graham & Graham Central Station in 1978, and during their final year were called Larry Graham with Graham Central Station.