Two of singer Chris Connor's finest Atlantic albums are reissued in full on this single CD. The laid-back yet coolly emotional jazz singer is heard backed by top-notch rhythm sections (with either Ralph Sharon or Stan Free being the pianist/arranger) and occasional horns (trumpeter Joe Wilder, flutist Sam Most, tenors Al Cohn and Lucky Thompson, flutist Bobby Jaspar and Al Epstein on English horn and bass clarinet) adding some short solos. Connor (then around 30) was in her prime, and her renditions of such songs as "Poor Little Rich Girl," "Lonely Town," "I'm Shooting High," "Moonlight in Vermont," and even "Johnny One Note" are memorable and sometimes haunting.
On Universal Mother, Sinéad O'Connor tells us more about herself than we probably should know. It's record making as therapy, the byproduct of feelings still only half worked out, a bundle of self-revelations left suspended, twisting in the wind. It wobbles between being an awful record and a remarkable one, and maybe that's why it works: It swings so wildly that it never sinks into that deathly muddy middle ground.
Sinéad O'Connor's debut, The Lion and the Cobra, was a sensation upon its 1987 release, and it remains a distinctive record, finding a major talent striving to achieve her own voice. Like many debuts, it's entirely possible to hear her influences, from Peter Gabriel to Prince and contemporary rap, but what's striking about the record is how she synthesizes these into her own sound – an eerie, expansive sound heavy on atmosphere and tortured passion. If the album occasionally sinks into its own atmospheric murk a little too often, she pulls everything back into focus with songs as bracing as the hard-rocking "Mandinka" or the sexy hip-hop of "I Want Your (Hands on Me)." Still, those ethereal soundscapes are every bit as enticing as the direct material, since "Troy," "Jackie," and "Jerusalem" are compelling because of their hushed, quiet intensity. It's not a perfect album, since it can succumb to uneven pacing, but it's a thoroughly impressive debut – and it's all the more impressive when you realize she only topped it with its immediate successor, before losing all focus.
On the surface, Believe It! is standard-issue bar-band blues-rock, but it is distinguished by Joanna Connor's passion for the music. Connor believes in the music so much, it can't help but appear in the grooves every once in a while. In particular, her guitar playing is noteworthy – it's tough, greasy, and powerful. Believe It! suffers from a lack of memorable songs – she's still trying to develop a distinctive songwriting voice – but Connor's strong performances carry the album through any weak moments.
Mark O'Connor's second CD with his Hot Swing Trio is more than just a salute to the late, legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli; it firmly establishes as him as a bona fide jazz violin virtuoso, thanks to being distributed by a major label this time around. The capable guitarist Frank Vignola plays gypsy swing à la Django Reinhardt without sounding like a clone; bassist Jon Burr, who spent a decade as a member of Grappelli's rhythm section in his last years, provides a perfect match for his two bandmates. Each member of the trio contributed originals to the session. O'Connor's "In Full Swing" is absolutely breathtaking, while it is fun imagining how Grappelli and Reinhardt might have interpreted his enticing "Stephane and Django"…
When veteran blueswoman Joanna Connor issued the Joe Bonamassa-produced 4801 South Indiana Avenue in 2021, it introduced her gritty, wildly adventurous guitar pyrotechnics to a new generation of blues lovers. On its follow-up, Best of Me, on Mike Zito's Gulf Coast Records label, Connor had complete control in the studio, and she delivers a multi-dimensional portrait of her work. Cut in Chicago with her road band and a cast of top-shelf guests including the Grooveline Horns and alternating support guitarists Zito, Bonamassa, Josh Smith, and Gary Hoey, the album was co-produced by Connor and her bassist/songwriting partner Shaun Gotti Calloway, and her drummer Jason "J Roc" Edwards.
This album has been a fantastic adventure, inspired by the amazing visual images by cameraman David Hannan and the magical underwater world of coral reefs.
Aqua Zone is Tony O'Connor's musical score and DVD celebrating our undersea life. Aqua Zone sets a wonderful atmosphere, featuring orchestral pieces, gentle moody harp, acoustic guitar and world of magical sounds.
This CD is the soundtrack from the DVD of the same title.