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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.
A Perfect Circle – Mer De Noms
Mer de Noms (French for "sea of names") is the debut album by American rock band A Perfect Circle. It was certified platinum by the RIAA on October 31, 2000. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 4, making it the highest ever Billboard 200 debut for a rock band's first album. It sold over 188,000 copies in the first week, and stayed on the charts for 51 consecutive weeks. The album peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums on October 4, 2003, three years after the album's release. Mer de Noms has since been released on vinyl record format.
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."
Adrian Sherwood – Never Trust A Hippy NTAH
It's a mystery, really, why a music biz legend like Adrian Sherwood hasn't released a solo album until now. Okay, the man has been rather busy over the last twenty years or so, producing and/or remixing some of the most innovative recordings under his own moniker or that of his On-U Sound label Never Trust A Hippy reflects the way its maker sees the multifarious Real World.
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
Alex Chilton – Like Flies On Sherbert
Like Flies on Sherbert is the first solo album to be released by the American pop-rock musician Alex Chilton. He had previously recorded a collection of songs in 1969 and 1970, ultimately titled 1970, but this was not released until 1996. As the AMG review states - it's nothing like Big Star instead reflecting Alex's newfound interest in Rockabilly, Country and R&B. Possibly a hangover from him playing as a member of the Panther Burns. This one and Live in London are essential stopping points for anyone interested in seeing where Alex went next after the breakup of Big Star. There is genius in the grooves. No other album by a major artist sounded like this - then or now.
Alice in Chains – MTV Unplugged
The band perform songs from both Facelift and Dirt albums as well as their critically acclaimed E.P. Jar Of Flies, creating new and exciting arrangements for their heavier songs while reinventing others. The tension and excitement in the audience is palpable throughout the entire show, and it makes this a fantastic record of the greatness of Alice In Chains.