Excellent Monk concert from his well-documented 1961 European Tour. The sound is very good and Monk is in very good form. The bonus tracks were recorded for TV in Bussum; April 1961. There is a low quality video copy of part of this that circulates among collectors, but it is nice to have it in a much more complete audio format as presented here. Huge thanks to the Dutch Archives for releasing this vintage Monk!
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A beautiful big band set from the great Art Blakey – but one that's got all the sharp focus of his small group sides by the Jazz Messengers! The lineup here is a great one – that very vibrant early 80s version of Blakey's group with Bobby Watson on alto sax, Bill Pierce on tenor, and James Williams on piano – augmented by Kevin Eubanks on guitar, Valerie Ponomarev on trumpet, and the Marsalis brothers rounding out the set with some extra horn work! The sound is strong and proud, and handled by Blakey with a tightness that's similar to his smaller group work of the time – but with a power that's simply incredible – especially when Watson's presence is made known on his tunes "Wheel Within A Wheel", "Linwood", and "Bit A Bittadose". Also features a take on Williams' "Minor Thesis".
Jazz pianist Iiro Rantala’s remarkable live album proves that barriers between musical genres needn’t exist. Electrifying performances of his own works, including the thrilling Freedom for prepared piano and orchestra, sit cheek-by-jowl with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. The latter is played with glorious swagger, Rantala’s own ingenious first-movement cadenza, by turns dream-like, witty, and charming, proving a brilliant foil to Mozart’s perfect artistry. The album is bookended with another genre-busting set: Bernstein’s overture to Candide, two of Rantala’s own pieces, again arranged for orchestra and piano, and a mesmerizing solo fantasy on John Lennon’s Imagine.