The first five chronologically sequenced tracks of this compilation mirror the rise of the smooth-jazz radio phenomenon. "So Amazing," "Bermuda Nights," "In the Mood," "My, My, My," and "Anniversary" are all still staples of the format. Released between 1987 and 1990, all (except the second one) are covers of popular R&B tunes, and they still sound fresh. These songs alone make this an excellent collection for smooth-jazz fans. Starting with his fifth album, Live at Birdland West, the exciting tenor saxophonist became a little more adventurous, often completely crossing that broad line that separates smooth jazz from contemporary electric jazz. Two duets–one with Lee Ritenour, "G & Lee," and "Boss of Nova," with Joe Sample–are two examples of his playing that sets Albright apart from most saxophonists who are tagged with the smooth-jazz label. Serious Albright fans may not appreciate the absence of his popular duets with his frequent partner, vocalist Will Downing, but that aside, this is a worthy summation of Albright's successful tenure at Atlantic Records.
The set includes 17th and 18th century arias and songs from England by Purcell, Handel and Green, French art-songs by Debussy and Fauré, as well as canciones by Spanish composers including Enrique Granados and Joaquín Turina.
Pianist & composer Gerald Clayton explores the impact and abstraction of time on his ravishing 2nd Blue Note album Bells On Sand, which features contributions from mentor Charles Lloyd on saxophone, father John Clayton on bass, longtime friend and peer Justin Brown on drums, and new collaborator MARO on vocals. “Each musician on the record represents a different aspect of the axis of time and its shifting sands,” says Clayton. “My father and Charles Lloyd, who has been a mentor figure to me, reflect new permutations of my past, and the lineage of elders who have shaped my development; Justin Brown, being my contemporary and musical brother, represents my present; and MARO represents the future—she is part of the next generation, and points to a brand new collaboration.” The music includes new originals, pieces by Catalan composer Federico Mompou and Gerald’s uncle Jeff Clayton, as well as two stunning solo piano versions of the standard “My Ideal.”