Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
The revolution was recorded: in 1969 Bitches Brew sent a shiver through a country already quaking. It was a recording whose very sound, production methods, album-cover art, and two-LP length all signaled that jazz could never be the same. Over three days anger, confusion, and exhilaration had reigned in the studio, and the sonic themes, scraps, grooves, and sheer will and emotion that resulted were percolated and edited into an astonishingly organic work. This Miles Davis wasn't merely presenting a simple hybrid like jazz-rock, but a new way of thinking about improvisation and the studio. And with this two-CD reissue (actually, this set is a reissue of the original set plus one track, perfect for the fan who's not so overwhelmed as to need the four-CD Complete Bitches Brew box), the murk of the original recording is lifted. The instruments newly defined and brightened, the dark energy of the original comes through as if it were all fresh. Joe Zawinul and Bennie Maupin's roles in the mix have been especially clarified. With a bonus track of "Feio"--a Wayne Shorter composition recorded five months later that serves both as a warm-down for Bitches Brew and a promise of Weather Report to come--this is crucial listening. --John F. Szwed
Loreena McKennitt drew her inspiration for this album from 15th century Spain, where the cultures of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam coexisted uneasily, tied together by a common tradition of religious mysticism. McKennitt reflects the multi-culturalism in arrangements that mix the half-tone intervals and familiar instruments of the Aryan north with the quarter-tone intervals and dumbeg, oud, and tamboura of the Semitic south. The results are often intoxicating, even if the composer consistently prefers slow-moving tempos. There's a tension and density to this music that safely removes it from the new- age category. McKennitt's attempts to evoke medieval mysticism in her lyrics are less successful. She fares best when she draws her texts from other sources: Prospero's closing speech from Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Yeats's "The Two Trees," "The Dark Night of the Soul" by the medieval Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross, and the traditional narrative ballad, "The Bonny Swans." One these numbers, the shadowy, mesmerizing atmospheres conjured up by McKennitt's music are enhanced by the words rather than spoiled by them. Loreena McKennitt drew her inspiration for this album from 15th century Spain, where the cultures of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam coexisted uneasily, tied together by a common tradition of religious mysticism. McKennitt reflects the multi-culturalism in arrangements that mix the half-tone intervals and familiar instruments of the Aryan north with the quarter-tone intervals and dumbeg, oud, and tamboura of the Semitic south. The results are often intoxicating, even if the composer consistently prefers slow-moving tempos. There's a tension and density to this music that safely removes it from the new- age category. McKennitt's attempts to evoke medieval mysticism in her lyrics are less successful. She fares best when she draws her texts from other sources: Prospero's closing speech from Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Yeats's "The Two Trees," "The Dark Night of the Soul" by the medieval ...
The album that started it all-it hit #4 in 1969 and stayed on the charts for 108 weeks! Includes the Top 10 single Evil Ways ; their first charting single, Jingo , and the rest of the original album. The CD-only bonus tracks, recorded live at Woodstock, are Soul Sacrifice; Savor , and Fried Neckbones . By the time Santana arrived on the San Francisco scene in 1968, the Grateful Dead's freeform antics were already legendary. But Santana was a jam band of another order--fueled by Latin rhythms, blues, bebop, and straight-ahead rock. Having set the audience at the 1969 Woodstock festival on its collective ear, the band did the same for the nation with its self-titled debut, released later that summer. Songs such as "Evil Ways," "Jingo," and "Soul Sacrifice" contain extraordinary ensemble playing, powered by percolating congas and timbales and topped by the grippingly human cry of Carlos Santana's guitar. The 1998 reissue of the album contains three bonus tracks recorded live at Woodstock: "Savor," "Soul Sacrifice," and "Fried Neckbones." --Daniel Durchholz
Blow by Blow served as a new creative peak for Beck and is, to date, his most commercially successful release. Offering a one-two punch of ingenious production and imaginative soloing, the wonderfully unpredictable guitar genius meshes stinging jazz-rock with string arrangements and energetic rhythm for You Know What I Mean; Constipated Duck; Air Blower; Scatterbrain ; Stevie Wonder's Cause We've Ended as Lovers; Thelonius; Freeway Jam; Diamond Dust , and a clever arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's She's a Woman .
The Way Up represents, in the words of guitarist Pat Metheny himself, "our most ambitious undertaking ever as a group"-a single, brilliant 68-minute piece composed by Metheny and his collaborator of 28 years, Lyle Mays. Metheny has likened the creation of The Way Up to making a film, and in some respects, the album feels like a vividly rendered journey, its moods shifting like scenes glimpsed from a fast-moving vehicle. For nearly 30 years, guitarist Pat Metheny and his longtime musical cohort, pianist/keyboardist Lyle Mays, have covered an incredible amount of diverse material. On their debut recording for this label, they and their international group--bassist Steve Rodby, Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, Vietnamese trumpeter Coung Vu, and the Swiss-born harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret--distill that diversity into a continuous 68-minute opus. The challenge here lies in sustaining the melodic narrative thread while keeping the sound of surprise. Thanks to Mays's evocative pianisms and Metheny's array of acoustic, electric, and synthesized guitars, the group pulls it off. For Metheny fans this disc contains elements of his most acclaimed recordings, from the straight-ahead swing of Question and Answer and the folk-fusion of Offramp, to the Afro-Latin tinges of We Live Here, the atonally adventurous Zero Tolerance for Silence, and the Asian impressionism of Secret Story. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
Manufacturer: Word Entertainment
Brand: HANDEL'S MESSIAH-SOULFUL CE
A virtual Who's Who of contemporary African-American music interprets Handel's 250-year-old oratorio. The roster includes Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Patti Austin, Boys Choir of Harlem, Andrea Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis, Phylicia Rashad, Vanessa WIlliams, Stevie Wonder and the Yellowjackets.No Track Information AvailableMedia Type: CDArtist: HANDEL'S MESSIAH-SOULFUL CETitle: HANDEL'S MESSIAH-SOULFUL CELEBStreet Release Date: 08/15/1995
Manufacturer: Sony Legacy
The great guitar trio's classic original recording has been remastered.No Track Information AvailableMedia Type: CDArtist: MCLAUGHLIN/DIMEOLA/DELUCIATitle: FRIDAY NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCOStreet Release Date: 09/23/1997
After his short-lived Blind Faith project, Steve Winwood re-formed Traffic with Wood and Capaldi and released this 1970 classic. But what's really special about this reissue are the unreleased tracks: the songs I Just Want You to Know and Sittin' Here Thinkin' of My Love , and Glad and Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring recorded live at the Fillmore East in November 1970! Traffic's third studio album is also its third best, ranking below the band's superb second record (1968's Traffic) and its psychedelic debut (1968's Mr. Fantasy). The depth of those albums came from having two superior songwriters, Steve Winwood and Dave Mason; by John Barleycorn, Winwood was leading a trio that included Chris Wood on horns and Jim Capaldi on drums. Winwood now supplied guitar as well as keyboards, and songs such as "Glad" and "Freedom Rider" reflected the trio's fondness for instrumental jams. But the 1970 album is remembered most for the title tune, a traditional folk song blessed with one of the finest vocals of Winwood's long career. --John Milward
Speaking Of Now is the most momentous album in years from the most honored ensemble in contemporary jazz, the Pat Metheny Group. With a new lineup, including a horn player for the first time and two vocalists, "as has happened at a few other junctures in the band's story," says Metheny, "there is this sense of the possibilities feeling totally unlimited." With Speaking Of Now, the Pat Metheny Group takes a significant step into tomorrow. Throughout its 25-year history, the Pat Metheny Group has consistently had the power to reinvent itself, developing an ever-broader musical vision. Speaking of Now reflects substantial changes since the band was last assembled. The core remains intact, with Lyle Mays, Metheny's composing partner since the beginning, still contributing keyboards and some eloquent acoustic piano. Bassist Steve Rodby is here as well, but there are some new additions. Mexican-born drummer Antonio Sanchez is a creative fountain of rhythm, while Richard Bona, from Cameroon, has joined the band on vocals and percussion. There's an unearthly serenity in Bona's high-pitched vocals and they've clearly shaped some of the composing here. Trumpeter Cuong Vu's presence marks the first time a horn player has been a member of PMG, and his laconic, airy trumpet is a perfect complement to Metheny's guitar. The Group has always had the ability to fuse elements from different cultures into a graceful and floating whole, but this version sets new standards for sheer sonic beauty, like the welling orchestral breadth that underscores Bona's voice on "You." Highlights seem to abound, but the guitar solos on "Proof" and "A Place in the World" testify to Metheny's inspiration. --Stuart Broomer