Sony has packaged this album like a 1980s disc of music to snog by, but the saxophonist Amy Dickson’s new release is an intriguing and entirely serious collection of recent works by Australian composers, works she did much to create. The title work, premiered by Dickson in 2012, is a late score by Peter Sculthorpe. The first movement is sun drenched and full of yearning, the saxophone soaring over a teeming orchestra; the second is a more unsettled expression of homesickness. Ross Edwards’s concerto entitled the Full Moon Dances – recorded, unlike the rest, live in concert – is elegantly scored and evocative, especially in the opening Mantra, in which the saxophone interweaves with the orchestral soloists, and in the pulsing, almost Stravinsky-esque First Ritual Dance. But it is Brett Dean’s 2007 flute concerto The Siduri Dances, here arranged for saxophone, which offers the most wide-ranging demonstration of Dickson’s mastery with its note-bending, buzzing effects and hectic rhythms.
The Neville Brothers made a bid for pop/rock stardom with this well-produced album for A&M, their first under a new pact with the label inked in the late '80s. It was certainly as solid as any they cut for A&M; the vocals were both nicely arranged and expertly performed, the arrangements were basically solid, and the selections were intelligently picked and sequenced. The album charted and remained there for many weeks, while the Nevilles toured and generated lots of interest. It didn't become a hit, but it did respectably and represents perhaps their finest overall pop LP.