The Barr Brothers gave us a surprise outtakes EP with Alta Falls back in 2015, but the Montreal outfit are finally ready to deliver a proper full-length follow-up to 2014's Sleeping Operator. Titled Queens of the Breakers, the new LP is out October 13 via Secret City.
During the final part of their career, the Stanley Brothers did most of their recording for the King label, laying down almost 200 sides for the company between 1958 and 1965. All of those tracks are available in box set form should you want them, but the ordinary fan will be satisfied with more selective samplers such as this one, which has a couple dozen cuts originally released in 1961-1966. The Stanley Brothers were a consistent enough act that the songs picked for best-of comps are pretty much up to the taste of the compiler, but this does a fine job both in the quality and the variety of the material presented. In addition to plenty of originals, there are also interpretations of songs by A.P. Carter, Alton Delmore, and traditional items.
The music on this LP recalls the airy "Four Brothers" sound that tenor saxophonists Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Herbie Steward, and baritone saxophonist Serge Charloff, plied in Woody Herman's band of 1947. For this outing, Steward and Charloff exit, and four become five with the addition of tenor luminaries Al Cohn, Brew Moore, and Allen Eager. The set appropriately kicks off with Gerry Mulligan's "Five Brothers," a tune reminiscent of Jimmy Giuffre's original "Four Brothers" in its fluid and bouncy arrangement. Three other attractive and similarly disposed originals (one more by Mulligan and two by Cohn) complete the saxophone session from 1949, all featuring swinging statements by each soloist. A 1952 sextet date led by Sims and Cohn is also included, offering up another round of original and buoyantly swinging cuts, bolstered by lively contributions from trombonist Kai Winding and solid rhythmic support by pianist George Wallington, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Art Blakey. A fine release that nicely showcases the cool, proto-West Coast bop forged by both these soloists and Miles Davis.
Brothers in Arms brought the atmospheric, jazz-rock inclinations of Love Over Gold into a pop setting, resulting in a surprise international best-seller. Of course, the success of Brothers in Arms was helped considerably by the clever computer-animated video for "Money for Nothing," a sardonic attack on MTV…
The Neville Brothers made a bid for pop/rock stardom with this well-produced album for A&M, their first under a new pact with the label inked in the late '80s. It was certainly as solid as any they cut for A&M; the vocals were both nicely arranged and expertly performed, the arrangements were basically solid, and the selections were intelligently picked and sequenced. The album charted and remained there for many weeks, while the Nevilles toured and generated lots of interest. It didn't become a hit, but it did respectably and represents perhaps their finest overall pop LP.