For those who believe in Original Sin, Predestination or, for that matter, Karma, here's a two disc set of the complete "Penitential Psalms" of Orlandus Lassus fabulously performed by Henry's Eight and marvelously recorded by Hyperion. Gloomy but glorious works that hope for the best while assuming for the worst, Lassus' setting of seven fuliginously serious but spiritually salubrious Psalms of David are sure to send shivers down the spine of anyone with a pessimistic cast of mind. The acapella performances of the all-male – two countertenors, three tenors and three basses – Henry's Eight is darkly hued, strongly rhythmic, deeply soulful, very expressive and absolutely true to the late Renaissance agony of Lassus's music. While not perhaps the first place to start with for Lassus in a melancholy mood – try "The Tears of Peter" for the peak of harmonic anguish – Henry's Eight's recording Penitential Psalms belongs in every Lassus collection, especially as preserved in Hyperion's intimate and evocative sound.
"The Kissing Gate" is the first compilation album by U.K. singer-songwriter Sam Brown. This album includes tracks from first two solo albums of the singer - "Stop!" and "April Moon". Great things have been predicted for British vocalist and keyboardist Sam Brown. Her debut album, Stop!, released in 1987, reached the Top Four on the British music charts, sold more than two-and-a-half million copies, and included two hit singles, "Stop" and "This Feeling." Brown, however, has failed to match the album's success with her subsequent releases April Moon, 43 Minutes, The Kissing Game, and Box. The daughter of classical vocalist Vicki Brown, Brown began her musical career at the age of 12 when she sang background vocals on the Small Faces' album 78 in the Shade…
Although André Previn had not recorded a regular jazz album in 27 years at this point in time (discounting a pair of Itzhak Perlman sessions featuring Previn's compositions), the great majority of the performances on this trio set with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Ray Brown are first takes. Previn took time off from his busy schedule in the classical music world to return briefly to jazz, his first love. The results are often magical. Previn, Pass and Brown play together as if they had been touring as a group for years. The pianist is generous with solo space and Pass' solos are sometimes exhilarating. For Previn, it is as if the previous three decades did not occur for he plays in a style little changed from 1960, displaying an Oscar Peterson influence mixed in with touches of Lennie Tristano and Bill Evans.
Equally acclaimed as a pianist and composer, Michael Brown has been described as ‘one of the most refined of all pianist-composers’ (International Piano) and ‘one of the leading figures in the current renaissance of performer-composers’ (The New York Times). His unique artistry is reflected in his creative approach to programming that often interweaves the classics with contemporary works and his own compositions.