Väsen have been around for well over a decade, refining their sound and producing a series of delightful albums, first for their Swedish home market and then finding a global audience. Just how far they reach now is evident from the fact they recorded this live disc in Japan. The humor in their sound is more evident live, but the delightful interplay between nyckelharpa, fiddle, and guitar is apparent throughout, right from the opener, "Björkbergspolskan." The material largely draws from their last two discs, which is fine – those albums were two of the best of their lengthy career.
Seeking a U.S. breakthrough, A&M Records held Black's second album, Comedy, back from release until a re-recorded 1989 version of his U.K. hit "Wonderful Life" could be added as the leadoff track. There is also a remixed version of the U.K. hit "Sweetest Smile," which, like "Wonderful Life," previously appeared on Black's debut album, Wonderful Life. Also included were the more recent U.K. chart singles "The Big One" and "Now You're Gone." All of which means that, in its U.S. version at least, Comedy was almost more of a hits compilation than a formal second album. That, however, lent it a certain consistency, and in its newer songs, the album showed Black moving away from the cocktail jazz and doomy lyrics of his debut and toward a more eclectic sound, as well as lighter, more romantic sentiments.
Sublime early work from Stan Getz — a lyrical genius even at this early point in his career ! There's a subtle brilliance here that's undeniable — a tenor sound that draws from Lester Young and Ben Webster, but which pushes into fresh new territory for the 50s — lean, but still very soulful at the core — a blend that none of Stan's contemporaries could ever match this well ! The album features a group that includes a very young Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone, plus rhythm by Teddy Kotick, John Williams, and Frank Isola. Tracks are longish and easily swinging — and Getz's tone, as always, makes the whole thing come together like magic!
The Allman Brothers Band compilation album, released on the Japanese label Buena Suerte, is part of the Super Stars Best Collection series. Partially unofficial release.