This is a particularly intriguing and enjoyable release. Arthur Blythe, who has always had a piercing, passionate, and fairly accessible sound on alto, is joined by Bob Stewart on tuba, Gust Tsilis (doubling on marimba and vibes), three hand drummers (Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Josh Jones, and David Frazier), and occasionally his producer, Chico Freeman, on bass clarinet and percussion. The instrumentation varies from cut to cut, with several duets (including one in which the bass clarinet and tuba blend perfectly together), opportunities for Blythe to play with just the percussionists, and rather unusual versions of Thelonious Monk's "We See" and Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count." Whether it be hints at New Orleans parade rhythms, Afro-Cuban jazz, older styles of jazz, or freer explorations, this is a fascinating set that is well worth several listens.
Mosaic Records, known for its historic compilations of Blue Note recordings in either box sets or the Mosaic Select series, introduces its Contemporary line with this reissue of Earl Klugh's 1985 recording. At the least, it is a curious anomaly to all the label's other packages. At best, fans of Klugh will be happy to revisit tunes they may have only owned on vinyl. It's primarily the same syrupy orchestrations by Don Sebesky, the same lugubrious after-hours tempos, and Klugh's laid-back, mostly acoustic guitar framing movie themes, ballads, and an occasional standard. The solo acoustic takes of the swing evergreen "Ain't Misbehavin'" and an always bluesy "See See Rider" are still the standout cuts, flute beautifully leads and identifies the wondrous, poignant "Nature Boy" and "A Certain Smile," while oboe fronts the "Theme from Picnic."
Cole Porter was one of a handful of American musical colossi. He had the genius to conjure up improbable rhyming lyrics to catchy melodies delivering not only a single song but as often or not a whole conundrum of numbers collected within the sphere of a show. This collection of 40 songs exemplifies the talent of Cole Porter and is a testament (tribute) to his longevity in musical history. Wit, humour, sophistication, rhythmic and key changes are small change to his ability.Who else could win a challenge to produce 'Miss Otis Regrets' after questioned whether he could write lyrics from the next words he heard? The cast of star celebrities in this collection say it all. Sinatra, Bennett,Crosby, Ella, Billie,Nat,Marlene, Judy to name a few. Also, the bigger bands of not so long ago, Nat Gonella, Jack Hylton, Geraldo. These need preservation orders and what better than endorse the master composer Mr Cole Porter? Add this to your collection.
This Collector's Edition presents a challenge to reviewers. There's so much of it. I could never do it any sort of justice if I approached this as if reviewing a smaller set. This, after all, comprises 37 CDs. As it is all I have been able to do is to sample, reminisce about known recordings and write around the subject. With this caveat stated, let's make a start.
There are three principal strands of Britten recordings. These are broadly tied into and defined by record companies, artists and eras. First we have Britten recording Britten for Decca.