This is one of the most comprehensive of any of the test CD's. It can be used for anything from aligning tape head azimuth to speaker frequency range, testing noise levels of either your cd player or amplifier/receiver, etc…
Kazumi Watanabe has for the past 20 years been one of the top guitarists in fusion, a rock-oriented player whose furious power does not mask a creative imagination. Watanabe studied guitar at Tokyo's Yamaha Music School and he was a recording artist while still a teenager. In 1979, he formed the group Kylyn and, in 1983, he put together the Mobo band. Several of his recordings have been made available by Gramavision and they show that he ranks up with Al DiMeola (when he is electrified) and Scott Henderson among the pacesetters in the idiom.
A key figure in the development of jazz's new direction in the late '60s and '70s (thanks in large part to his contributions to Miles Davis' pioneering fusion work), Chick Corea has since become one of the most influential musicians of the genre. The tracks on EARLY DAYS were recorded in 1969. Around the same time, the Davis Quintet was recording the epochal IN A SILENT WAY and BITCHES BREW. The material here, featuring sidemen Woody Shaw, Jack De Johnette, and Bennie Maupin, explores similarly abstract rhythmic excursions that favor texture and atmosphere over conventional song structure.
On his third Denon release Berg ventures into a few jazz standards while maintaining a strong hold on his fusion roots. Jim Beard is featured on keyboards.
Bob Berg's third release as a leader (released on a Japanese Denon CD) was his first fairly commercial date. Doubling on tenor and soprano but not sounding too distinctive on either, Berg performs eight funky group originals with a sextet also including keyboardist Don Grolnick, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Will Lee, drummer Peter Erskine and Robby Kilgore on additional keyboards; altoist David Sanborn drops by to add some heat to "Kalimba." The R&B-ish music is very much of the period and sounds a bit dated now, but has its moments of interest due to the high musicianship of the players.
Pianist Eliane Elias' second of two Denon CDs recorded before she hooked up with Blue Note is a lesser-known but worthy session. Elias is mostly featured in a trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette performing originals, a pair of Charles Mingus compositions ("Peggy's Blue Skylight" and "East Coastin'"), "Beautiful Love," "When You Wish Upon a Star" and Bud Powell's "Hallucinations." Elias was quickly developing into a strong modern mainstream pianist.
Arthur Stewart "Art" Farmer (August 21, 1928 – October 4, 1999) was an American jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He also played flumpet, a trumpet–flugelhorn combination specially designed for him. He and his identical twin brother, double bassist Addison Farmer, started playing professionally while in high school. Art gained greater attention after the release of a recording of his composition "Farmer's Market" in 1952. He subsequently moved from Los Angeles to New York, where he performed and recorded with musicians such as Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, and Gigi Gryce and became known principally as a bebop player.
Ryuichi Sakamoto's first solo album appeared before he formed Yellow Magic Orchestra in late 1978, after the young keyboardist had earned his M.A. in music from Tokyo University. Six long instrumentals make up this CD, but apart from a taste for Asian-sounding synth lines, they hint at very little of what was to come in YMO. "Thousand Knives" is a long disco-lite jazzy workout with a very un-synthesized guitar solo by Kazumi Watanabe (who would later join YMO on tour and have his solo album produced by Sakamoto)…
To most listeners, Jeff Berlin is utterly unknown as a musician and composer; to progressive rock enthusiasts, however, Berlin is a god, ranked alongside Jaco Pastorious and Victor Wooten as one of the most exciting virtuoso bassists ever. Crossroads compiles his first two albums, Pump It! and Champion, into a single-disc "greatest hits" of sorts, although neither album had much impact beyond jazz-rock circles.