Judas Maccabaeus (HWV 63) is an oratorio in three acts composed in 1746 by George Frideric Handel based on a libretto written by Thomas Morell. The oratorio was devised as a compliment to the victorious Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland upon his return from the Battle of Culloden (16 April 1746).
For some reason, the Jazz in Paris series has put together a collection of music featuring these three vocalists. Except for the fact that all three recorded in Paris, there appears to be little connection. The music is still excellent however. The first 8 tracks by Harold Nicholas show off his excellence in covering standards. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", with its last verse in French, is a highlight. June Richmond, accompanied by the Quincy Jones Orchestra, sings "I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues" through "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea". Excellent renditions all. The last two tracks, by Henry Bey and the Bey Sisters, are nice, but give only a small introduction to their music.
The poetry of Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud inspired composers Fauré, Debussy and Britten, and in turn spurred Grammy Award-nominated tenor Nicholas Phan to combine their works on his new album, 'Illuminations'.
Wayne Shorter has written a number of landmark jazz compositions that have found favor among fellow jazz musicians, but Mysterious Shorter marks a rare occasion when an entire CD is devoted to his music. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton heads a strong quintet, including saxophonist Bob Belden (who doubles on soprano and tenor saxes, like Shorter, and contributed all of the arrangements), organist Sam Yahel, guitarist John Hart, and drummer Billy Drummond. Since six of the eight songs are from Shorter's early Blue Note CDs prior to his move toward fusion, the substitution of Yahel's laid-back organ for the more striking sound of the piano softens the sound of Belden's charts, giving them a bit more of a mysterious flavor, especially in the brisk, playful setting of "Footprints." Payton is known for his powerful trumpet playing, but displays a quiet lyrical touch in "Teru."