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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

Read "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition" reviewed by Doug Collette

Anyone (and everyone?) will be in turns delighted and surprised upon immersion in the Super Deluxe 50th Anniversary Edition of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The dual sensations commence immediately upon slipping the EMI Studios Abbey Road replica tape box, slightly larger than a foot square, from its slipcover adorned with the famous cover photo rendered in 3D, continues with the discovery of the character cutouts the likes of which were enclosed in the album upon its ...


Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers Deluxe Edition

Read "Sticky Fingers Deluxe Edition" reviewed by Doug Collette

In combination with the 2015 'Zip Code' tour, on which the band played the album in its entirety more than once, the reissue of the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones Records, 1971) is a valiant and fully-justified effort to restore the significance of the album, the importance of which has suffered over time in comparison to its followup, Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones Records, 1972). And the initiative may be altogether legitimate, despite the fact that, ...


Ultimate Sinatra: A Very Good Compilation

Read "Ultimate Sinatra: A Very Good Compilation" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

On December 12, 1915, Francis Albert Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. This single birth in this sleepy borough was the first tremor in a musical earthquake that changed the cultural landscape all around the world, forever. On April 21, 2015, in celebration of Frank Sinatra's centennial year, Capitol/UMe released the first career retrospective that surveys the complete recording history of “The Chairman of the Board." Drawn from his recordings for Columbia (1943-'52), Capitol (1953-'62; 1993-'94) and ...


The Band: Rock of Ages

Read "The Band: Rock of Ages" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

I'd rather die happy than not die at all... The BandEven its name is an enigma--The Band: a collection of four Canadians and one Arkansan, born to back up another Arkansan, Ronnie Hawkins, as “Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks," then Bob Dylan and then to exist as their own entity--The Band. Five disparate and different individuals who united for a decade, helping define it musically by producing music so much part of the North American collective ...


Louis Prima: Jump Jive and Wail: The Essential Louis Prima

Read "Jump Jive and Wail: The Essential Louis Prima" reviewed by David Rickert

It's likely that Louis Prima would have faded into obscurity if not for the Gap ad that featured young, khaki-wearing twenty-somethings swing dancing to “Jump, Jive, and Wail. That ad appeared at the height of the nineties swing revival and brought the song back into circulation, appearing on several swing compilations designed to make a quick buck. Now that the craze is over, Prima still isn't held in as high esteem as Frank Sinatra or even Dean Martin, yet his ...


Keely Smith: The Essential Capitol Collection

Read "The Essential Capitol Collection" reviewed by David Rickert

With the overabundance of female vocalists making records in the fifties, it's not much of a surprise that Keely Smith has become lost in the shuffle today. If known at all, it's probably for her records with Louis Prima and not for her work as a solo artist. This is a shame, for Smith was a more than capable singer who, paired with the right material and terrific arrangements, could turn out splendid recordings.

This collection of Capitol ...


Dave Koz: At the Movies

Read "At the Movies" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

There's nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a movie theatre, settling into your seat as the lights go down and, for the next two hours, being transported into a different reality than the normal world we inhabit. Saxophonist Dave Koz understands the thrill of discovery in the dark, and At The Movies is all about the great music of great movies.To write Koz off as just another smooth jazz superstar minimizes the passion he brings to ...


Stan Kenton: Sophisticated Approach

Read "Sophisticated Approach" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Sophisticated Approach is a reissue of eighteen iconic ballad arrangements by Stan Kenton, originally recorded in 1961 with his unique and controversial four-piece mellophonium horn section. The ballroom circuit was the life-blood of the Kenton Mellophonium Orchestra in the late '50s and early '60s, and this album, arranged by Lennie Niehaus, was intended as an addition to the dance library, which was to contain plenty of up-tempo tunes. After recording two beautiful slow pieces, however, the producers pushed for an ...


Lou Rawls: The Best of Lou Rawls: The Capitol Jazz & Blues Sessions

Read "The Best of Lou Rawls: The Capitol Jazz & Blues Sessions" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

This twenty-song anthology delivers the definitive overview of Lou Rawls' vocal accomplishments before his late-1970s run with Gamble & Huff for Philly International records popped him into the mainstream.

Like so many other blues-influenced pop singers, Rawls begins right from The Source, the family church, through the opening “Motherless Child, from The Soul Stirring Gospel Sound of the Pilgrim Travelers Featuring Lou Rawls (1962). Lovingly rendered with the Les McCann piano trio for Rawls' first record as a ...


Julian "Cannonball" Adderley: Why Am I Treated So Bad!

Read "Why Am I Treated So Bad!" reviewed by Chris May

By the time Why Am I Treated So Bad! was recorded over three sessions in March and July 1967, Cannonball Adderley's joyous soul jazz had begun to develop a rictus. Things could still get greasy, but the music was starting to get formulaic around the edges. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!, recorded by the same lineup in 1966, is arguably the last Adderley album to slow-cook righteously from start to finish. At its best, this recording is almost as good, but there ...


Stan Kenton: Sophisticated Approach

Read "Sophisticated Approach" reviewed by Chris May

The Donald Rumsfeld of American big band jazz in the 1940s and 1950s, Stan Kenton didn't so much embrace his audiences as shock-n-awe them into submission with relentless carpet bombing. Kenton's monstrous orchestras--the most overblown being the 43-piece Innovations In Modern Music outfit of the early 1950s--specialised in heavy-footed, portentous, screaming brass performances which left zero space for light and shade, spontaneous improvisation or loose rhythmic swing. True to its era, Kenton's music was something from which to duck and ...


Serge Chaloff: Boston Blow-Up!

Read "Boston Blow-Up!" reviewed by Chris May

Baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff lived a short, often ugly and painful life. A hard-line, nodding off, ankle-scratching junkie with bad personal hygiene problems, he died horribly at the age of 34. Yet he was a master of his cumbersome instrument and capable of creating music of extraordinary beauty.

Boston Blow-Up!, made in 1955 as part of bandleader Stan Kenton's “Kenton Presents" series, is one of Chaloff's finest recordings. In some ways it's better even than the iconic Blue Serge, made ...