The dynamic sextet featured in two of Zorn's most recent and popular musical projects-The Dreamers and O'o-jump another level in Ipos, their most beautiful and powerful recording to date. Featuring ten new compositions from the lyrical Book of Angels, the music draws exotica, surf, world music, latin jazz, rock, film music and more into a seductive new musical world. Perfect for the early morning, late at night, at home or in the car, The Dreamers play Masada is truly a magical combination. Powerful new music performed by an all-star band of downtown masters.
As the elder statesman of British blues, it is John Mayall's lot to be more renowned as a bandleader and mentor than as a performer in his own right. Throughout the '60s, his band, the Bluesbreakers, acted as a finishing school for the leading British blues-rock musicians of the era. Guitarists Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor joined his band in a remarkable succession in the mid-'60s, honing their chops with Mayall before going on to join Cream, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones, respectively. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Andy Fraser (of Free), John Almond, and Jon Mark also played and recorded with Mayall for varying lengths of times in the '60s.
This four-disc box from London's JSP Records collects an astounding 100 songs recorded by John Lee Hooker in Detroit from the years 1948 to 1952, including his first two sides ever, the signature tunes "Boogie Chillen" and "Sally Mae." Most of the tracks here are done solo, with Hooker's ever-present foot-stomping, although a few feature other musicians on loose-limbed blues boogies. Since Hooker never significantly altered his style during his long career, these first recordings set the stage for all that came after, and he arguably never sounded fresher or better. Four discs worth of this throwback Mississippi bluesman will be severe overkill for casual listeners, but diehard Hooker fans will find this box set absolutely essential.
Beatles fans love to explain that the key to the successful partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney was their contrasting songwriting personalities – Lennon was the tongue in cheek sardonic wit, McCartney the earnest balladeer. On John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, a sharply conceived tribute which sets the duo's classics in a jazz trio with big-band arrangements, the singer/guitarist hits the mark more often when he's taking on the Lennon persona. He approaches "Cant' Buy Me Love," "When I'm 64," and "Get Back" with a playful wink, jumping off his speedy melody lines and the rising brass sections for extended improvisational tradeoffs with pianist Ray Kennedy, and adding colorful touches like scatting and even ad libbing his own lyrical verses based on the originals. Likewise, he attacks the all-instrumental "Eleanor Rigby" with a jumpy, swinging aggression. Pizzarelli, however, becomes overly schmaltzy in presenting ballads like "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Long and Winding Road" too seriously, with maudlin, straightforward arrangements that grind the party to a halt. The one exception is the more percussive "Oh Darling," where his intense vocal helps the tune rise above the hotel lounge mentality.
One of his finest '90s recordings, Chill Out balances the guitar-glitz of Carlos Santana's guest shot on the karmic title cut with a handful of profoundly deep Hooker solo performances. Among those are new versions of his standards "Tupelo" and "Annie Mae," and the soulful "If You've Never Been in Love," where expert slide-man Roy Rogers provides subtle accompaniment to Hooker's spontaneous storytelling. The band numbers that bookend the album are weak, relying on Hooker's strong vocal presence to overcome sketchy writing. Van Morrison, pianist Charles Brown, and M.G.'s leader Booker T. Jones also lend a hand. But Hooker doesn't need anybody's help to get to the passionate heart of his blues. One last note: Anton Corbijn's CD-booklet photographs of ol' Johnny Lee are terrific.
Get ready for a whole new approach to Masada music! Expressive and passionate, Basya Schecter, Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Malika Zarra and Sofia Rei Koutsovitis are four of the most creative vocalists around. Each the leader of a dynamic band of their own, they come together here in an intimate a cappella setting to interpret eleven songs from Zorn's remarkable Book of Angels. With lyrics in Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, French and Arabic drawn from Rumi, Fernando Pessoa, The Hebrew Bible and more, the Masada vocal project is perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful installments in the entire Angels series. Dynamic and evocative New Jewish Music from four powerful women vocalists!
John Wetton and Geoff Downes offer an acoustic DVD filmed for a broadcast special at TV studios during October 2005. Stripping bare a selection of their classic songs, John and Geoff demonstrate how they originally sounded around the piano, accompanied by acoustic guitar or acoustic bass. ELO's Hugh McDowell joins them on cello and the three virtuosos clearly enjoy the opportunity to relax while performing in front of the cameras. John and Geoff are subsequently interviewed by BBC stalwart, Big George. John and Geoff are clearly excited about their future plans for a 2nd Icon studio album and they talk candidly about becoming and being the major creative influences behind the world's biggest selling album of 1982. Asia was the last real "supergroup". At the time of recording this broadcast, they were keeping quiet about the plans for a 25th anniversary reunion of the founder members of Asia, including Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, which were publicized in February 2006.
Produced by Hooker's slide guitarist Roy Rogers–who knows what's right for him–this is Hooker's best 1990s effort. Rogers guides him through arrangements that recapture his past glories ("Boom Boom," with guest Jimmie Vaughan), sets him up for a giddy jam with the late Telecaster master Albert Collins ("Boogie at Russian Hill"), and teams him with Charlie Musselwhite for the guitar-voice-harmonica duet "Thought I Heard"–a performance as sad and eerie as disembodied moans in a Delta graveyard. There's also Hooker's first recorded performance on National steel guitar, the solo "Hittin' the Bottle Again". This album gets right to the heart of Hooker's music and stays there. A blues-lover's delight.