The days when we had to wait a whole year for a new Van Morrison disc seem so far in the rearview mirror as to be ancient history. The singer-songwriter, and lately master interpreter, has been cranking out product at an alarming rate. His new 40th release is his second in 2018. It comes after two others in 2017 which makes this the most productive the 73-year-old Morrison has ever been. They are long, too, over an hour each, providing bang for the buck.
The Prophet Speaks is Van Morrison's 40th studio album released via Caroline International. Van takes on a series of unarguable classics by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke (among others) and makes them unmistakably his own. Alongside these reinterpretations, The Prophet Speaks features six phenomenal new Van Morrison compositions.
Equal parts blue-eyed soul shouter and wild-eyed poet-sorcerer, Van Morrison is among popular music's true innovators, a restless seeker whose incantatory vocals and alchemical fusion of R&B, jazz, blues, and Celtic folk produced perhaps the most spiritually transcendent body of work in the rock & roll canon…
48 years after he first made a major impression on a Dizzy Gillespie recording date, vibraphonist Milt Jackson proves that he was still at the top of his form on this CD. The straight-ahead date finds his quartet (with pianist Cedar Walton, bassist John Clayton and drummer Billy Higgins) welcoming guests Joshua Redman (whose tenor is on six of the dozen selections) and singer Joe Williams, who helps out on three songs. Redman easily fits into the role that other tenors such as Teddy Edwards and Jimmy Heath have had with Jackson, taking concise solos while allowing the great vibist to be the lead in most of the ensembles. Joe Williams is fine during his three spots, but it is the apparently ageless Milt Jackson who is the main star during this enjoyable set.
The Authorized Bang Collection is a triple-disc compilation album by Van Morrison containing every track that Morrison recorded for Bang Records with producer Bert Berns with the full blessing and participation of Morrison. It was released on April 28, 2017 by Legacy Recordings on the Bang label. The first disc, subtitled The Original Masters, contains 17 tracks including every track from Morrison's debut album Blowin' Your Mind!. The second disc, subtitled Bang Sessions & Rarities, contains alternate takes from the Bang sessions. The third disc contains tracks officially issued for the first time, subtitled Contractual Obligation Session. These short songs were recorded by Morrison to fulfill his contractual obligations to Bang. Because Bert's widow Ilene Berns called those tracks 'nonsense,' they remained in the vaults, bootlegs notwithstanding, until this collection was compiled.