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Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Miles Davis - Live at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival format:    16-bit CD performance:    7 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Monterey Jazz Festival Records reviewer:    Scott Yanow In early 1963 Miles Davis was at one of the crossroads of his musical life. The trumpeter had led a classic quintet during 1955-56 comprised of tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. By 1958 the group was a super sextet with the addition of Cannonball Adderley on alto, with Bill Evans succeeding Garland. In 1960 the group was a quintet again with Coltrane and a magnificently swinging rhythm section comprised of Chambers, pianist Wynton Kelly and drummer Jimmy Cobb. But after Coltrane’s departure later that year, the innovations seemed to stop. For two years Davis had the same rhythm section with different saxophonists (most notably Hank Mobley) but seemed to be coasting. His repertoire stayed the same and though he ...
Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
M.I.A - Kala format:    16-bit CD performance:    8 sound:    8 released:    2007 label:    Interscope reviewer:    Matt Fink Though it’s only natural that artists would encounter a certain amount of trouble in seeing their creative vision through to its completion, the list of albums that have succeeded not in spite of but because of creative difficulties lends credence to the idea that a measure of discomfort is needed to fuel great art. From the Beatles growing so tired of each other that The White Album grew into a perfectly sprawling amalgam of four men who couldn’t stand to be in the same studio to Neil Young drunkenly slurring his way through his grief on Tonight’s the Night, some of the greatest albums in the rock canon where driven by circumstances that took them far away from their original design. Barred from entering the United States to work with a series ...
Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Maria Schneider - Sky Blue format:    16-bit CD performance:    9 sound:    8 released:    2007 label:    ArtistShare reviewer:    Scott Yanow Maria Schneider has for the past decade been considered one of the most inventive and brilliant arrangers and composers in jazz. While some of her earlier pieces are quite forbidding, there is always a great deal of humanity that is felt in her writing, as she transforms memories and events into music. During the past few years, Schneider’s writing has become a bit more accessible and melodic while still having the potential to go in any direction that occurs to her. While Gil Evans and Bob Brookmeyer were early inspirations, she has been a true original from the start, with Bill Holman being her only close competition among jazz-based writers of current times. The musicians who play in the 17-piece Maria Schneider Orchestra have to not only be superb readers and improvisers (virtually all ...
Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by K L Poore  | 
Joni Mitchell - Shine format:    16-bit CD performance:    9 sound:    9 released:    2007 label:    Hear Music reviewer:    K L Poore Sometime, long ago, Joni Mitchell transcended any status she may have enjoyed as a pop music icon and became simply one of the most important artists of our lifetime. Those who adhere to this proposition usually say it took place when she teamed with Charles Mingus for the songs that eventually became Mingus (the album), but I believe it happened with Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. For me it seemed as if, with that release, she opened herself up like a painter, versus a musician, and began covering a broad canvas with words, sounds and a clear understanding of the human condition. From that point on there was no way for any critic, or fan for that matter, to judge her work within the traditional music biz standards of hits, flops and ...
Monday, 01 October 2007 |  Written by John Sutton-Smith  | 
Johnny Cash + various artists - The Best of the Johnny Cash Show format:    Dolby Digital 5.1 DVDs (2) performance:    8 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Sony Legacy reviewer:    John Sutton-Smith The legend of Johnny Cash continues as the plethora of collections and box sets depicting and defining the country icon’s catalogue in every possible permutation has a new and essential addition in The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show. The two-DVD set contains 66 of the literally hundreds of performances on the 58 episodes of Cash’s musical variety show that ran for two seasons, from June 1969 to March of 1971. A single-disc CD audio version of the compilation’s soundtrack will also be available. The Johnny Cash Show exposed the American TV audience to a daring and varied array of musical talent, in a warm family setting, that was rarely seen on any other program, then or since. The often eclectic performers were handpicked by Cash, and ...
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