From the opening tour de force reading of Coleman Hawkins' "Bean and the Boys" to the closing performance of Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Magnificent brilliantly illustrates Barry Harris' unique rapport with the bop piano tradition. Absolutely unlike the enervating, curatorial approach of the neo-con movement, Harris deals with the tradition as a continuum, perpetually rejuvenating and extending it. Along with the opening and closing tracks, the classics on this 1969 date include a caressing exploration of "These Foolish Things" and a dazzling treatment of "Ah-Leu-Cha."
Hold Your Fire is an album in the purest sense; infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, it gradually draws in the listener by slowly revealing its nuances and secrets. While the use of keyboards is still overwhelming at times, Geddy Lee employs lush textures which, when coupled with a greater rhythmic and melodic presence from guitarist Alex Lifeson, results in a far warmer sound than in recent efforts. Of course, drummer Neil Peart is as inventive and exciting as ever, while his lyrics focus on the various elements (earth, air, water, fire) for much of the album.
Like much of the band's '80s output, Power Windows finds Rush juggling their hard-rock heritage with new technology to mixed results. With Alex Lifeson choosing sparse, horn-like guitar bursts over actual crunch, Geddy Lee's synthesizers running rampant, and Neil Peart's crisp, clinical percussion and stark lyrical themes (evoking cold urban landscapes), the result just may be the trio's "coldest" album ever.
After an extensive search for a producer, Rush struck gold with Peter Henderson. The band shared production duties with him, and completed the album within a few months. The continuous use of synthesizers and keyboards that began on the previous album, SIGNALS, is prominent here. Although Alex Lifeson's guitar always plays a key role, it's obvious the group could not shy away from the advancing technology in rock music in 1984.
In the '80s, Jethro Tull was no longer the dominant force on the rock scene they had been throughout much of the previous decade, but the indomitable Ian Anderson continued to make ambitious records based on themes of ages past, even in an era of skinny ties and drum machines. BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST has a marked swords-and-sorcery motif; Anderson is depicted as a winged elfin creature on the cover. Despite such leanings, producer Paul Samwell-Smith–original bassist for the Yardbirds–gives the record a modern gloss, weaving the synthesizer playing of Peter-John Vettesse and the out-sized guitars of Tull stalwart Martin Barre through BROADSWORD's vaguely medieval-sounding romps.
Making the transition from the heavy-rocking '70s to the synthesizer-driven '80s, the power trio Rush embraced the new technology with open arms. After the 1981 smash album MOVING PICTURES, Rush decided to lead their cult of loyal fans down a slightly different musical route while continuing to maintain their high level of expertise. The result, SIGNALS, was a very unique album for the group and ushered in an era that focused their sound toward keyboard-centered orchestrations and tight, stylized arrangements.
This CD/DVD combination pack, in a jewel case, features the digitally remastered CD "A" and the bonus DVD "Slipstream", which features 60 minutes of classic, live footage from the 1980 concert in Los Angeles, along with 2+ music videos.
By the end of the 1970s, the golden age of progressive rock was over, and Jethro Tull, former rulers of the prog-rock roost, entered the '80s sporting a radical change in both personnel and sound. Some of the change was a result of circumstance–longtime piano player John Evans and keyboardist/arranger David Palmer departed after '79's STORMWATCH, and bassist John Glascock had recently died, leaving only Ian Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre. Anderson enlisted Dave Pegg, the rock-solid former Fairport Convention bass player; prog-rock veteran Eddie Jobson on electric violin and keyboards, and Mark Craney, the first of several Tull drummers in the '80s.
Rush's sophomore release FLY BY NIGHT has become a milestone in their recording career. Although such future releases as 2112, HEMISPHERES, PERMANENT WAVES, and MOVING PICTURES would be superior albums, FLY BY NIGHT signaled a change from Led Zep blues-rock to more original and challenging material. But most important of all, FLY BY NIGHT was drummer/lyricist Neil Peart's first recording with the band. Peart had replaced original member John Rutsey just in time for Rush's inaugural U.S. tour, and became an integral member by the time of FLY BY NIGHT's recording.
The opening chords of "Finding My Way" signal the beginning of a song, album, and career that would have a permanent place in rock history. The debut album from the Canadian progressive metal outfit features drummer John Rutsey who, although a talented drummer, would quit after this album to be replaced by Neal Peart. Peart contributed to the band's songwriting progression and use of time changes.
Although Jethro Tull was still in its heyday in 1976, Ian Anderson must have sensed that he could not remain a rock star forever. Anderson originally intended the linked songs on TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL to form the basis of a musical based on the life of an aging rocker not unlike himself. Anderson's alter ego on the record is Ray Lomax, whose tale is told in cartoon format in the album art. Not coincidentally, Lomax is a cartoon version of Anderson.