This career-spanning collection reimagines 12 classic Johnny Cash performances via new symphonic arrangements recorded at the fabled Abbey Road Studio 2 with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Performances range from archetypal Cash classics like “Man In Black” and “Ring Of Fire” to essential musical collaborations including “Girl From The North Country” (Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash), “The Loving Gift” (with June Carter Cash) and “Highwayman” (with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash).
Like Joe Henderson who released one beautiful CD after another in the past 10 years or so, Griffin plays here with gorgeous tone and overflowing musicality only getting better with age. I love the newer sax lions like James Carter, Joshua Redman, and Joe Lovano but Griffin, again like Joe Henderson, seems to be bringing out the qualities only possessed by those who came from 50s.
Over the course of five mesmerizing CDs, Unearthed shows us just how Johnny Cash's now-legendary handful of recordings for American Records came to be. Four discs feature previously unreleased tracks from the famed Rick Rubin-produced sessions. Through their inconsistencies and quirks (and, more often than not, brilliance), they shed light on how Cash's final records were shaped, edited, and produced. Here we get some creative pairings: Fiona Apple providing guest vocals on Cat Stevens' "Father & Son," and the late Joe Strummer duetting with Cash on Bob Marley's "Redemption Song."
After two solid albums on Motema, both of which earned Grammy nominations, singer and songwriter Gregory Porter makes his Blue Note debut with Liquid Spirit. A singer whose quicksilver vocal style refuses to be caged by either jazz, gospel, or R&B, his warm, inviting baritone utilizes them all when he wishes to. Using the musicians who appeared with him on 2012's Be Good – Yosuke Sato and Tivon Pennicott, saxophones; Chip Crawford, piano; Aaron James, bass, Emanuel Harrold, drums – Porter wrote or co-wrote 11 of these 14 songs. There is a dynamite reading of Billy Page's hard-grooving "The In Crowd" that highlights Porter's rhythmic phrasing. Though it's a soul tune at heart, he swings hard.