Born from the ashes of the prog band Jet, whose sole album was 1972's Fede Speranza Carità, Matia Bazar formed in Genoa in 1975, with a line-up comprising Piero Cassano (keyboards), Aldo Stellita (bass), Carlo "Bimbo" Marrale (guitar), Giancarlo Golzi (drums) and singer Antonella Ruggiero. The very first releases – e.g. the singles "Stasera Che Sera", "Cavallo Bianco", "Per un'Ora d'Amore", "Solo Tu" and "Mister Mandarino" and the albums Matia Bazar (1976), Gran Bazar (1977) and the anthology L'Oro dei Matia Bazar – showcased the band's ability to build well-crafted and lush pop songs, made unique by the huge extension and versatility of Ruggiero's voice. In 1978 the song "… E Dirsi Ciao" (from Semplicità finished first at that year's edition of the Sanremo Music Festival. The live album Tournée and Il Tempo del Sole followed respectively in 1979 and 1980.
Mal Waldron is accompanied by a trio of Japanese players for this fine album, recorded in Japan in 1982. As the title suggests, it's a look back, celebrating one of Waldron's key influences, Thelonious Monk. "Blue Monk" is given a relaxed and regal treatment, as Waldron's bedrock chording supports the higher register melody played in tandem on piano and sax. The set as a whole has a bluesy feel to it, with "I Can't Get Started" gliding along as gracefully as a solitary ice skater in a light snowfall. Waldron's varied discography has found him recording for numerous labels, especially in the '70s and '80s, and this date didn't find a U.S. release until eight years after it was recorded; however, it's well worth adding to any Waldron collection.
With the successes of Vienna and its follow-up, Rage in Eden, Ultravox's position in the music scene was unassailable, further fortified by frontman Midge Ure's foray into solo-dom with the summer 1982 hit cover of the Walker Brothers' "No Regrets." The band's "Reap the Wild Wind" followed it up the U.K. chart that fall, a taster for the band's sixth album…
Chosen was a Christian Progressive Rock band working in the Phoenix, Arizona area in 1982 (also known as "The Dark Ages of Progressive Rock"). Their sole album, formerly only on cassette, is now available in digital form, along with bonus tracks from their Demo cassette.