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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.
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 – Iberia Turina – Danzas Fantasticas
As in numerous other works by Spanish composers, Isaac Albeniz's aim in his Iberia Suite was to portray the landscape and express the zest for life which is so abundant in southern countries. Infused with folk music elements, the suite is introduced by the dance like Evocacion which vividly evokes a picture of Iberia. The lush, extravagant harmonies and the stark contrasts of the dynamics in particular - from the softest pianissimo to the extreme fortissimo - certainly whet one's appetite. Don't worry - Spain has a lot to offer!
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.
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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.
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.
Annie Ross Sings A Song With Mulligan!
Annie has been singing wondrously well, with strong swing, peppery bite, archness and potent feeling since 1950 when first I heard her in Paris. But, until Richard Bock made the dead right decision to record la Ross with Gerry Mulligan, Annie's perambulating orchard has been almost shut except to those peripatetic addicts who got hooked on Ross in the jazz backyards of Paris, London and New York.