The two enticingly swinging sessions brought together here find pianist Paul Smith in typically well-crafted form, with “The Big Men” a joyously engaging date in which he is heard performing solo or in a trio. Much skill, considerable feeling, and unceasingly ebullient energy transform this album into a thoroughly listenable program of modern jazz, throughout which his lines show strong classical influence and clear indication of his imposing compositional talent (Theme for Theda). The playing of the trio is crisp and knowing, and there are moments of brilliant musicianship by Smith with the fine support of Vinnegar and Levey, two swingers who keep the pulse vibrant.
It may be rash to claim that the French pianist Monique Haas (1909-1987) never made a bad recording, but you won't find one among her complete DG sessions. Dating from the late 1940s up to 1965, the recordings have been transferred from scratch, and they sound remarkably well for their respective vintages. The repertoire is diverse and unhackneyed, ranging from Mozart piano duets (with Heinz Schröter) and K. 449 and K. 488 concertos, rare Haydn gems (the E-flat Arietta with Variations and the Fantasia in C major), and the Stravinsky Capriccio, to Hindemith's Concert Music for piano, brass and harps (with the composer conducting), and a substantial sonata by Marcel Mihalovici (the pianist's husband) featuring violinist Max Rostal.
‘Morricone 60’ is the first album of Ennio Morricone’s greatest hits conducted, recorded and curated by Morricone himself – and aims to create a legacy for his fans to enjoy. It sees the celebrated Maestro performing some of his greatest film music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to his recent Academy Award-winning score for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (released earlier this year on Decca). The album marks Ennio Morricone’s 60th anniversary as a composer and conductor and features brand new recordings with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, with whom he’s collaborated on major international movie scores.