This album is quite unusual. Recorded shortly after Nat King Cole's death, pianist Oscar Peterson takes vocals on all but one of the dozen selections, sounding almost exactly like Cole. Peterson, who rarely ever sang, is very effective on the well-rounded program, whether being backed by a big band (arranged by Manny Albam) on half of the selections or re-creating both the spirit of the Nat King Cole Trio and his own group of the late '50s during a reunion with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown.
Covering the ‘60s through the ‘80s, Respect: The Very Best of Aretha Franklin features most of the queen’s biggest hits. This release from Warner Strategic Marketing includes the number one R&B singles “Chain of Fools,” “Share Your Love with Me,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Think” and, of course, “Respect.” Even for casual soul fans, most of these songs will be recognizable within the first few notes…
Respect/Livin’ It Up, a two-on-one release from Verve Select, brings together two classic albums from Jimmy Smith, the world’s premier jazz-soul organist. Smith became a star with Verve Records in the mid-1960s. He leaned on superb big band arrangements by Oliver Nelson, a change from his earlier, small-group recordings on Blue Note. With Respect in 1967, Smith did something that thrilled his fans: he returned to a small group setting in Rudy Van Gelder’s now-legendary studio with his old Blue Note guitarist Thornel Schwartz, as well as Eric Gale, bassists Ron Carter and Bob Bushnell, and drummers Grady Tate and Bernard Purdie.
The King of The New York City Blues returns with what's destined to be one of the most topical and important records of 2004. Twelve tracks of hard hitting, politically inspired songs that run from upholding our first amendment rights in the hard thumping shuffle "Un-American Blues," to protesting the plight of young people dying for the lust of oil and power in "Young Men." Highlights also include "The Top Ten Reasons Why I Can't Sleep At Night," and a high-velocity, hard rock version of the Carter Family classic "Keep On The Sunny Side of Life." In a recent interview Popa was asked, "Where is the outrage in America? Where is the anger over the violation of our rights as Americans and human beings?" Popa simply responded "It is here, and people are waiting for a rallying call, a way and a reason to stand up for their rights as Americans. A way to stand up against the current policies of those in power that do not take in account that America is built on the sweat of the working class."
A teacher and his students open up new worlds for one another in this urban drama inspired by a true story. Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) is a prize-winning ballroom dancer and instructor from Manhattan who volunteers his services to a high school in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the Bronx. Principal Augustine James (Alfre Woodard) in turn gives Dulaine a tough assignment – a detention class with some of the biggest troublemakers on campus. When the kids learn that Dulaine intends to teach them how to dance in the classic style, they're incredulous at best and dismissive at worst – until Dulaine demonstrates his moves for the class. While Dulaine's charges – including Rock (Rob Brown), LaRhette (Yaya DaCosta), Ramos (Dante Basco), Eddie (Marcus T. Paulk), and Sasha (Jenna Dewan) – respect his talent, they have their own way of dancing, and as they mix hip-hop moves with ballroom discipline, they create an exciting new style.