While 2002's Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble is the place to go for the complete picture, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Stevie Ray Vaughan works well as a nice single-disc introduction to the work of the influential blues guitarist. Perhaps a few more hits could have been included to make this more attractive to the curious buyer, but with a previously unreleased live version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and a track listing that dodges much of the 1995 Greatest Hits collection, this does offer an alternative for longtime fans.
Payne's Window offers further testament to unsung hero Cecil Payne's prowess on the baritone saxophone. Fronting a delightfully swinging sextet that includes pianist Harold Mabern and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, Payne delivers a wonderful mixed bag of originals and standards. Window boasts a nonchalant attitude that allows the music to swing effortlessly. On Payne's humorous "James," Mabern improvises on what seems to be "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as Payne, Alexander, and trombonist Steve Davis punch in with swaggering riffs. Payne's impeccable rhythms are still intact, as on the Latin-tinged "Spiritus Parkus" and "Southside Samba," while tunes like "Lover Man" and "That's It Blues" are imbued with bluesy mellowness. Payne's Window is a no-frills record that rewards with each listening.
In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion - from the dawn of religious belief to the 21st century - with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy.