|[Untranslated] / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||3:38|
|Winter in Hollywood / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||4:27|
|[Untranslated] / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||4:13|
|[Untranslated] / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||3:51|
|Happy Hour / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||2:10|
|Nightlight / Anie Fann||Anie Fann||3:36|
Unlike Vladimir Horowitz, who generally only ever recorded for RCA Victor or Columbia, pianist Shura Cherkassky, sometimes called "The Last of the Great Piano Romantics" in his later years, left a grab bag legacy of recordings ranging from his 78 rpm 1929 HMVs to his final Nimbus Records releases and live recitals, recorded by UK Decca, in the 1980s and '90s. This First Hand Remasters issue, Shura Cherkassky: The Complete HMV Stereo Recordings, collects a specific part of that legacy into a single package. It is not appropriate to refer to it as a reissue as these recordings date between 1956 and 1958 and though made entirely in stereo, the stereo LP itself did not make its bow until the very end of that timeline; even afterward, EMI observed a policy of issuing most of its recordings in mono only. So very little of this material appeared on stereo even on LPs, and very little of it has appeared on CD. From the standpoint of a package, this First Hand Remasters release is everything it should be; the two-disc set is fully documented and comes with good writing and a decent-sized book, which is tempered nevertheless by practical economics. It's overall run time of just under two hours may strike some as a little stingy, but that naturally is dictated by the material itself. The recordings, taken from the first generation stereo masters in the EMI vaults, are excellent though very occasionally some flutter is audible.The program is very wide ranging and reflects Cherkassky's interests, running from Chopin at one end to George Gershwin and some selections from Abram Chasins' rarely recorded music at the other. About the only issue with this recording might be a subjective one; despite the "Last of the Great Piano Romantics" tag, Cherkassky's playing here is always very clean, straightforward, and well-balanced and he never goes out on a limb in terms of expression. The annotators conclude that this period represents Cherkassky's best work, and it may, but those familiar with his late recordings will note that there are far more instances of risk-taking in that body of work than here. Nevertheless, Cherkassky's fan base will definitely take interest in this, as it provides so much elusive material on this pianist in better sound than ever before, not to mention being generally well done and well worth its value.
The Easy Riders Jazz Band started recording its distinctive interpretations of classic New Orleans jazz back in 1962. The group recorded fairly regularly between that year and 1966, and then went on hiatus for more than 25 years before again appearing on record, still with its original Jazz Crusade label. The Easy Riders continue to be headed by trombonist Big Bill Bissonnette and original pianist Bill Sinclair is also hanging in. Sammy Rimington, who came on board in 1964, is still wailing away with his exuberant New Orleans-style clarinet. In addition to the new members, this album has a guest: trumpeter and vocalist Gregg Stafford. New members and guests notwithstanding, the band hasn't changed its inventive, enthusiastic response to the music and the way it's played, both of which are so unique to the Crescent City sound.The play list primarily consists of familiar pieces from the traditional jazz repertoire, with a couple of non-traditional jazz ringers thrown in like "Caldonia" and "What a Wonderful World." These two tunes feature Stafford's gravelly voice, so perhaps they were on the agenda to accommodate him. In addition to these, the program is filled with other gems.
The fortuitous selection of the Kid Ory arrangement of "Aunt Hagar's Blues" makes this one of the preeminent tracks on the CD.
Among other things, it has some well-placed shouts by Paul Boehmke. Kid Ory's "Savoy Blues," one of the classic tunes that has attracted clarinet players over the years, is a fine vehicle for Rimington. He gets help from Stafford, but it's mainly his show.
The highly syncopated "Climax Rag" is something one would be sure to hear in a Bourbon Street bar during the street's heyday as the wellhead of jazz. But the album really comes together in W.C. Handy's "Yellow Dog Blues," where the group is in ensemble (or as close to ensemble as traditional jazz ever gets) for more than 6 minutes; as individual performers, they let it all hang out for a rousing version of one of the favorite tunes of this jazz genre.It's good to have this group back in the studio once more, even though the Easy Riders have to go to Connecticut to record New Orleans music.
Akin to work by Schneider's countrymen in Mouse on Mars, Moist is another interesting application of abstract, twisted electronics to what is (surprisingly) quite a straight-ahead rhythm section. Though the production isn't nearly as frenetic as the celebrated MoM sound, Dirk Dresselhaus turns that potential curse into a blessing by concentrating on just a few effects for each track and investigating their sonic possibilities.
After a self-released cassette that alluded to songwriter/producer Richard Rebarber's visionary musical talents, his Floating Opera project returned in late 1996 with this full-length album for -ismist Recordings. Not that much has changed for Rebarber in those years; he's still a craftsman focused on near orchestral pop/rock that is slightly challenging and always poetic. Yet here he enlists Lori Allison (Millions) and Heidi Ore (Mercy Rule) to handle the vocal duties, a choice that propels his songs into ethereal territory -- these are two exceptionally talented vocalists with an absolutely heavenly grasp of the material's literate lyrics. In addition to these stunning vocals, the somewhat subdued ensemble musicianship complements perfectly, serving as an inspired foundation for the two ladies to sing over. Not too accessible, even if it is genius songwriting, this album should impress anyone looking for sophisticated pop music with a near orchestral sense of instrumentation (for an example, look to the inventive cover of Hüsker Dü's "Makes No Sense at All").
If Rebarber was a New York or Los Angeles resident rather than a Nebraskan, there's a good chance you'd be much more familiar with his name than you are now. Furthermore, due to the infrequency of the Floating Opera releases, this album takes on a much greater value in retrospect.