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A Buck Clayton Jam Session – How Hi The Fi
The Buck Clayton LP How Hi The Fi was the first issue in 1954 from the famous Buck Clayton jam sessions. It was recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studios, which was one of the greatest recording sites in the world (the studio has since been abandoned, which must be one of the most stupid decisions executed by the corporate record industry), with a sound that's still instantly recognizable. These Buck Clayton jam sessions were among the first large scale projects to utilize the potential of the new LP technology.
A M – Future Sons & Daughters
A lot of musicians pay lip service to having a plethora of far-flung musical influences, but then you listen to their music and it sounds like they've done their best to avoid them at any cost. Citing artists as diverse as Jorge Ben, Brian Wilson, Sergio Mendes, and Curtis Mayfield, AM's first UK album - "Future Sons & Daughters" - truly delivers on the sum of its parts. At times sounding like Jim James of My Morning Jacket singing his way through Beck's lost album between "Mutations" and "Midnite Vultures", the record brings together the best of musical worlds, rippling through classic roots sounds: AM pop and rock, steamy soul and R&B, Brazilian tropicalia, British Invasion, and ‘60s Bay Area psychedelia.
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ABBA – The Album
"The Album" was simply an incredibly popular release, yielding two British number one singles in "The Name of the Game" and "Take a Chance on Me". The opening number dominated by synthesizers and soaring larger-than-life vocal flourishes, is followed by the more lyrical Take a Chance on Me, with its luminous a cappella opening. The whole album is like that, effortlessly straddling hard rock, pop/rock, dance-rock, and progressive rock - though the hits turned to stand out in highest relief, there are superb album tracks here.
Abbey Lincoln – Straight Ahead
This is one of Abbey Lincoln's greatest recordings. It is a testament to the credibility of her very honest music (and her talents) that Lincoln's sidemen on this date include the immortal tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins who takes a memorable solo on "Blue Monk"), Eric Dolphy on flute and alto, trumpeter Booker Little (whose melancholy tone is very important in the ensembles), pianist Mal Waldron , and drummer Max Roach. Highpoints include "When Malindy Sings," "Blue Monk," Billie Holiday’s "Left Alone," and "African Lady."
Al Cohn : The Jazz Workshop : Four Brass One Tenor
As a soloist, Al Cohn was not such an inspired tenor sax player as his colleague Zoot Sims. But he was a superb arranger, an unprofitable yet highly important function when it comes to such workshops. And though Manny Albam also played the baritone sax, his real instrument was the pen. He arranged not only jazz, but also film music and musicals. His arrangements were multi-facetted and tailormade to suit the accomplishments of the individual instrumentalists.
Alan Parsons – Turn Of A Friendly Card
The album The Turn Of A Friendly Card includes two of Parsons’ very best songs: "Time," with its beautiful harmonies, and the gently swinging "Games People Play" which opens with Empire fanfares. That the instrumental tracks are find favor with almost all rock fans is hardly surprising because the music more often than not emulates the driving sound of Brit Rock rather than bombastic "sonic souffles" (Rolling Stone). But be that as it may, the title certainly holds its promise. The sales figures for this album clearly show that this "friendly card" has definitely turned up trumps for Alan Parsons.
Albeniz – Suite Espanola
The Suite espanola, written by the piano virtuoso and composer Isaac Albeniz, is one of the most outstanding works in the history of Spanish music. Albeniz invites the listener to join him on a musical journey through eight great Spanish cities, each steeped in tradition, investing each scene with local colouring as an homage.
Alejandro Almenares – Casa De Trova Cuba 50’s
If you’re a fan of the Buena Vista Social Club, this guy’s gonna make them seem like a bunch of posers. Composer, vocalist and tres guitarist, Alejandro Almenares delivers the real thing from Cuba here on this set. This double vinyl set contains the same songs (although in different order); the difference is that the first features his rich and full voice, while the second features his material as (mostly) instrumentals. Flutes, percussion, violin, soprano sax, guitars and intermittent vocal choruses accompany Almenares on the gentle and fragrant instrumental takes of “No Critiques Al Nene” and “La Nina Que Yo Ame”, while vocalists Tony Rodon, Eva Grinan, Jose Cabrera and Ismael Borges deliver tales of passion on “Mujercita “Linda”, A Tu Retrato”, “Te Vi Y Te Contemple” and “De Lo Que Quiero Saber” respectively. The simplicity of the old world charms are on abundant display here. No gimmicks, no frills, just earnest notes and, like the best of cooks, letting the simple ingredients do all the work in creating the flavor that makes your mouth water. Essential listening! "Casa de Trova – Cuba 50’s" - various soloists and bands
Alison Krauss & Union Station – So Long So Wrong
As usual, it is Alison’s beautiful vocals that give it that "high, lonesome sound." There are 13 vocal songs and one instrumental on this two-record set. Krauss is the lead vocalist on eight of the songs and Union Station members share the other lead vocals. The virtuoso musicians comprising the group are Barry Bales (acoustic bass), Ron Block (banjo, guitar), Adam Steffey (mandolin), and Dan Tyminski (guitar). Of course Krauss started her career as a violinist (fiddler to the bluegrass world) and she doesn’t leave that instrument out either.
Ann Peebles : Straight From The Heart
Ann Peebles’ climb up the career ladder was rather more conventional than spectacular in the tough, rough days of rhythm and blues. She was first discovered when she appeared in Memphis nightclubs, was given a break by the big-band leader Gene 'Bowlegs' Miller, and landed her first top hit with the celebrated song "I Can’t Stand The Rain". Towards the end of the Seventies she made a well-timed retreat just before the outbreak of the highly commercialised disco wave, only to return many years later with a revival of her old songs.
Anne Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival 1972 45rpm Box Set
Hands down one of the greatest festival recordings ever! Out of circulation for nearly twenty years, this great two-record set from 1973 was made available once again by Classic Records. It’s a document of an incredible three days (Sept. 8-10, 1972) of powerful music, attended by more than 15,000 fans at Otis Spann Memorial Field in Ann Arbor Michigan. Hopefully, future re-examination of the Ann Arbor Festival 1972 will yield full sets by each of the participants, including those not represented on this LP, such as Miles Davis, Pharaoh Sanders, and Lightin’ Slim! Classic Records approached this obscure and rare release with the idea that it deserved the best sonic treatment ever. As such, the decision was made by Michael Hobson, founder of Classic Records, to cut the original two record set at 45 rpm** and issue it as 8 single sided 180g LP's.