Some have likened Herbert von Karajan's "chamber-music approach" to Wagner's Ring cycle in terms of his scaling down or deconstructing the heroic roles. This approach has less to do with dynamics per se than it does with von Karajan's masterful balancing of voices and instruments. He achieves revelations of horizontal clarity, allowing no contrapuntal strand to emerge with an unwanted accent or a miscalibrated dynamic. The texts are unusually pinpointed and distinct, although the singers don't convey the experience and dimension of Sir Georg Solti's cast on London. There are exceptions.
For those who like a little mysticism and classical influence in their smooth jazz, Japanese-born composer and keyboardist Keiko Matsui has long been the ticket. She was Billboard's number one Independent Contemporary Jazz Artist in 1997 and is the top New Adult Contemporary female instrumentalist of her time. In the early days (she's up to 14 albums now), Matsui did it with a mix of thunderous film score-like sweeps, elegant and jazzy piano command, and a guest sax solo here and there to score some radio hits. On The Ring, she continues her recent trend of all those same elements and gorgeous melodies without concern for pop airplay considerations.
The second solo album from the former Nazareth frontman is a good follow up to his first. Filled with great songs and sung with power and passion, this album is a must have for any McCafferty fan. This gritty vocalist gained early experience as a member of the Shadettes, a mid-60s beat group based in Dunfermline, Scotland. By 1968, the act had evolved into Nazareth, which grew from provincial origins into a leading international attraction. McCafferty’s throaty rasp was an integral part of the unit’s best-known hits, notably ‘Broken Down Angel’ and ‘This Flight Tonight’ (both 1973), but he undertook a concurrent solo project in 1975. Dan McCafferty comprised several of the artist’s favourite songs, including ‘Out Of Time’, which broached the UK Top 50 as a single. The singer then resumed his commitment to the parent group, but re-embarked on an independent career in 1987 with Into The Ring.