No fan of classic funk (or of the "rare groove" school of dance music) will be able to look at this album without starting to drool – the period-piece cover art; the Jimmy Walker hats and bell-bottoms; and the presence of such magic names as Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Bobby Byrd and Clyde Stubblefield (not to mention the insanely funky bassist Bootsie Collins who is better known as a charter member of Parliament/Funkadelic but is also a J.B.'s alumnus) – all of it will lead the perceptive groovehound to anticipate an hour or so of irresistibly booty-shaking funk. And that's exactly what you get: no frills, no synthesizers, basically no acknowledgement of change in the pop music world. From the greasy "Do the Doo" to the CD bonus track, "Mistakes and All," which ends the program, Bring the Funk on Down delivers almost nothing but hardcore, horn-heavy old-school funk (with a couple of brief and uninspiring excursions into ballad territory another James Brown tradition). Highlights include the slowly simmering title track and the archetypal "Born to Groove" but the album is really pretty consistent. The only downside is the absence of Maceo Parker who plays only on the final track. Highly recommended.
This two-CD set is actually part of an ambitious undertaking: ESS.A.Y Recordings recorded these sonatas in two different versions, this one featuring Ms. Tenenbaum on a modern violin and accompanied by a modern piano played by Richard Kapp; the other recording (reviewed below) features Ms. Tenenbaum playing an older violin and accompanied by a harpsichord played by Gerald Ranck.
It appears that Eric Clapton had more Robert Johnson in his blood than he thought – or perhaps it was planned this way…
B.J. Thomas has performed during four decades, sold more than 70 million records, won 5 Grammy Awards and scored 15 Top40 Pop/Rock Hits. But all this success was achieved in the country/pop genre. At the middle of the eighties, AOR rule the charts, and he was seduced by TV soundtracks guru STEVE DORFF to record the main theme for the soap opera 'Growing Pains'. The single (a duet with Jennifer Warnes) was a hit, and B.J. understood that was the direction to take. "Midnight Minute" is the only Adult Contemporary / WestCoast / AOR album recorded by Thomas.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar".
Verve 60th Anniversary Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. This is one of the more obscure J.J. Johnson LPs. On six of the ten songs, the great trombonist is joined by four others, while the remaining four tracks (the main reasons to search for this album) feature him in a quartet with pianist Hank Jones, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Walter Perkins. Johnson's writing on the larger group pieces lifts the material, which is all taken from Broadway shows, while his playing on the quartet tracks is up to his usual level. Some of the songs are now forgotten, but "My Favorite Things," "Make Someone Happy" and "Put on a Happy Face" are exceptions. This album has some good music, but it will be very difficult to find.
Since the additional movements of the Roman Catholic Mass (Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Credo) that appear in his B minor Mass were excluded, Bach's four missa breves (short masses) are essentially two-movement Lutheran works. Naturally, Bach being Bach, he subdivided the expansive Gloria into five shorter movements; set the texts as arias, duets, and choruses; and used an orchestra ensemble including strings, flutes, oboes, trumpets, and organ as a powerful and colorful accompaniment. But at the heart of all four works is the austere faith of Martin Luther, and the German reformer's strength, severity, and occasional sentimentality is at the spiritual core of Bach's sacred music.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest, hardest albums that trombonist JJ Johnson ever cut for Columbia – a session we'd rank right up there with his amazing JJ Inc record, and like that one a really cooking hardbop record that maybe even rivals the best on Blue Note and Prestige at the time! As with that gem, the strength here is really the group – not just tremendous trombone from JJ, but great work from Nat Adderley on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, Cedar Walton on piano, Spanky DeBrest on bass, and Albert Heath on drums – all working with a soaring, soulful energy that's a lot more hardbop heavy than you might expect from JJ Johnson on some of his other projects for the label.
Miles Davis' concert of February 12, 1964, was originally divided into two LPs, with all of the ballads put on My Funny Valentine. These five lengthy tracks (which include "All of You," "Stella by Starlight," "All Blues," "I Thought About You," and the title cut) put the emphasis on the lyricism of Davis, along with some strong statements from tenor saxophonist George Coleman and freer moments from the young rhythm section of pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams.