After some 400 years, it is time to reverse the title of the world's greatest love story and to consider the plot from a fresh angle. Which is exactly what distinguished Swedish choreographer Mats Ek has done. By beginning the account from Juliet's perspective and focusing on her actions and emotions, not only are things turned upside down but it also marks a return to the source of one of the most famous plays in world literature. Juliet & Romeo is Mats Ek's first narrative ballet since 1997, and the music comprises a collection of excerpts from Tchaikovsky's well-known compositions selected by the choreographer.
Quite an unusual album from Grant Green – a record that's quite different than his earlier records for Blue Note, but still pretty darn great overall! Grant's working here in a large group – Kudu style – with arrangements by David Matthews, but a sound that's still pretty lean overall! There's a fair bit of great players in the lineup – including Jon Faddis on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, and Joe Farrell on tenor – and the horns soar out nicely to set the scene over some tightly stepping backings – all served up with plenty of room for Grant to solo spaciously on guitar! The title track – "The Main Attraction" – is nearly 20 minutes long – and the other two tracks, "Creature" and "Future Feature", both approach the 10 minute mark themselves!
This was one of Mtume's '80s "sophisti-funk" projects, with a mix of socially conscious lyrics, love songs, and uptempo cuts, plus collective vocals and sparing production and arrangements. The title cut was a huge R&B hit, peaking at number two and even generating some crossover pop action. Mtume got two other R&B smashes, one in the Top 20, and the album proved one of his best. A former jazz percussionist, Mtume moved into urban contemporary and funk in the late '70s and became one of the more successful producers and performers in both styles during the '80s. The son of the great jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath, Mtume was a conga player and percussionist who recorded and toured with Miles Davis and was featured on albums by the Heath Brothers, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and Freddie Hubbard.
Berenice is one of those slightly problematic operas which seem to work better in the theatre where the gender of the characters is (usually) more obvious. Here we have a pair of low voices, one singing a man and one a woman, and a pair of high voices similarly paired. Curtis has chosen a beautifully balanced cast. But it is one where the voices are not highly distinctive so that you sometimes have to concentrate to tell whether Berenice or Alessandro is singing, or Selene or Arsace. If you listen to the opera with the libretto these sort of problems disappear.
The band were still going strong on this album, which is in a quite similar vein as "Godbluff". The opening track "Pilgrims" is typical for VDGG of this period. Melodious and excellent progressive rock. Most of the title-track is the band from their most quiet side, but it features a part in the middle with the typical VDGG heavy-ness. And the organ of Hugh Banton sounds very powerful as always. "La Rossa" is a more cheerful and rocking track, but still very progressive and complex. "My Room" shows Hammill from his most lyric side, while the closing number "Childlike Faith in Childhood's End" probably is the most ambitious track on the album.
The complete works of Beethoven on 85 CDs plus a supplement particularly outstanding recordings of the past on 15 CDs!
Including the 32 legendary piano sonatas, played by the eccentric talent of the century Friedrich Gulda