For this duet set from the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival, Bill Evans alternates between acoustic and electric pianos while Eddie Gómez offers alert support and some near-miraculous bass solos. The audience is attentive and appreciative - as they should be, for the communication between the two masterful players (on such songs as "Milano," "Django," "I Love You," and their encore, "The Summer Knows") is quite special.
Even as he is most closely associated with the music of Wagner and Beethoven, conductor Georg Solti enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the orchestral music of Johannes Brahms. Solti's own personal preferences in terms of Brahms, judging based on his performance history, were slanted toward the Haydn Variations, German Requiem, and the concerti, but in the late '70s he undertook a cycle of the symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Decca London that some expert listeners feel have never been bettered since.
Simply the Best is surrounded by some of the best situations a compilation can hope for. Tina Turner's work for Capitol past Private Dancer was spotty, she made a bunch of appearances on soundtracks and other artists' albums, and most of the tracks on Private Dancer are good enough to own twice. Almost half of Private Dancer shows up on Simply the Best, but you don't have to endure the way the original album spiraled down into slick fizzle. Instead you have to endure a misguided, pumped-up house remix of "Nutbush City Limits," but that's it. Everything else here is either top-notch or campy, certifiable fun. A duet with Rod Stewart on "It Takes Two" supplies the fun along with the new track, "I Want You Near Me" (Turner to lover: "You're so good with your hands/To help me with a hook or zip").
Great sound from DG + great playing from the Vienna Philharmonic under Claudio Abbado in these 1980s recordings. Abbado goes for leaner textures and faster tempos in some Allegros than Karajan/Berlin (DG) considered the benchmark standard by many listeners.
The series of Janacek's operas conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras for Decca has become one of the most exciting gramophone projects of the day, with each issue a major event. The new digital recording of the last opera he composed, From the House of the Dead, is no exception: indeed, for reasons that lie beyond the excellence of performance and recording, and also lie apart from the fact that here is the first version to appear for nearly eight years, this is an historic occasion, a significant contribution to musical knowledge.