Gilberto Gil's world tour in 1997 was a startling revelation for North American audiences who had not heard from him live in several years, if at all. Quanta Live was recorded in Rio not long before his appearance at the Hollywood Bowl – and unlike the latter concert, which was strongly rooted in the samba, this CD more fully reflects Gil's role as a pioneer of Brazil's cosmopolitan "tropicalismo" music movement.
In a career spanning four decades Steveland Judkins Morris has been many things: child star, funk hero, political chronicler, the saviour of Motown Records and depressingly, the instigator of the painfully schmaltzy R&B ballad. Thankfully, this exhaustive "Best Of…", timed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his first appearance as Little Stevie Wonder, focuses mainly on the 1966-1980 glory years and his transition from incendiary soul man to voice of the 70s.
Johnny Cash's fourth project with producer Rick Rubin continues on the same path as many of their previous releases: Cash's warm and rumbling baritone over minimal production and gentle duets with some surprising guests. One of the things that sets American IV: The Man Comes Around apart from the others is Cash's song selections. The success he experienced with his previous interpretations of contemporary songwriters (Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage," Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat") is applied to this album with varying degrees of success. His throaty reading of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" easily fits into his "Man in Black" persona…
The Dave Matthews Band may not have released the Lillywhite Sessions – the semi-legendary soul-searching album recorded in 2000 but abandoned in favor of the heavy-handed, laborious Glen Ballard-produced Everyday – but they couldn't escape its shadow. Every review, every article surrounding the release of Everyday mentioned it, often claiming it was better than the released project – an opinion the band seemed to support by playing many numbers from the widely bootlegged lost album on tour in 2001. Since they couldn't run away from the Lillywhite Sessions, they decided to embrace it, albeit on their own terms. They didn't just release the album, as is. They picked nine of the best songs from the sessions, reworked some of them a bit, tinkered with the lyrics, re-recorded the tunes with a different producer (Stephen Harris, a veteran of post-Brit-pop bands like the Bluetones, plus engineer on U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind), added two new songs, and came up with Busted Stuff, a polished commercial spin on music widely considered the darkest, most revealing work Matthews has yet created.