Released as a double LP on Chisa/Blue Thumb in 1972, Hugh Masekela's Home Is Where the Music Is marked an accessible but sharp detour from his more pop-oriented jazz records of the '60s. Masekela was chasing a different groove altogether. He was looking to create a very different kind of fusion, one that involved the rhythms and melodies of his native South Africa, and included the more spiritual, soul-driven explorations occurring in American music at the time on labels like Strata East, Tribe, and Black Jazz as well as those laid down by Gato Barbieri on Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman imprint. The South African and American quintet he assembled for the date is smoking. It includes the mighty saxophonist Dudu Pakwana and drummer Makaya Ntshoko, both South African exiles; they were paired with American pianist Larry Willis and bassist Eddie Gomez, creating a wonderfully balanced, groove-oriented ensemble.
Two years after the first installment comes Buck 'Em!: The Music of Buck Owens, Vol. 2, a double-disc set chronicling the eight years when Buck Owens was a crossover superstar thanks to his prominent role as a co-host of Hee Haw. Buck started to slide into a rut toward the end of this run – a process accelerated by the tragic death of his right-hand man Don Rich in 1974, a loss from which Owens never fully recovered – but producer Patrick Milligan slyly disguises this trend by nestling deep cuts, live tracks, and outtakes among the best of his hits, thereby painting a portrait of Buck Owens as a musician nearly as adventurous as he was during the purple patch of the '50s and early '60s.
Omnivore's 2013 double-disc set Buck Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967) provides an interesting spin on Buck Owens: through a collection of mono singles, live tracks, alternate takes, early 45s, and other rarities, it tells an alternate history of Buck's prime years. If there's a hit on this 50-track collection, it's almost always in a version that's slightly different than what usually shows up on a standard greatest-hits. "Second Fiddle," "Love's Gonna Live Here," "I Don't Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)," "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," and "Before You Go" are all in mono, there's an early version of "Ain't It Amazing Gracie," and "Act Naturally" is live, so they're familiar enough to not feel jarring and they do provide the core of a collection that winds up wandering into some pretty interesting territory.
An album the majority of whose contents consists of harp arrangements of music by Philip Glass might seem a bit arcane for a major label, but it seems that Sony knows what it is doing here. The Glass Effect double album is one of those releases that succeed on two different levels, an explicit one and one that, although not mentioned, is perhaps even more important. The former level here is the one denoted by the title, as Meijer picks up the rather neglected theme of Philip Glass' influence by offering, on disc two, a group of works by younger composers who follow Glass in varying degrees but who, it's safe to say, wouldn't have the styles they do without Glass having gone before. Much of the album consists of arrangements by Meijer herself, and these include, at the end, a remix of music from Koyaanisqatsi that's delightful and would be spoiled by description. But there's also solo harp music: sample the Suite for Harp by progressive rock musician Bryce Dessner, who certainly seems to have absorbed Glass' style far enough to make it his own.