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ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hank Crawford: Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing

Read "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Saxophonist Hank Crawford will forever be linked to his one-time employer, the great Ray Charles, in the minds of R&B lovers, but soul-fusion fans are likely to remember him for a string of albums he recorded on the Kudu label in the 1970s. Crawford and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine proved to be the two pillars of ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Esther Phillips: Performance

Read "Performance" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

The decades-long battle with drug addiction, which ultimately led to her untimely demise, contributed to vocalist Esther Phillips' status as a tragic second-tier figure in the larger annals of popular music history, but her music itself was often a triumph of soul-stirring ecstasy. By the time Phillips arrived at CTI's sister label, Kudu Records, her early ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

CTI Celebrates Kudu Legacy: Lonnie Smith, Johnny Hammond, Hank Crawford, Esther Phillips

Read "CTI Celebrates Kudu Legacy:  Lonnie Smith, Johnny Hammond, Hank Crawford, Esther Phillips" reviewed by Chris May

CTI Masterworks' 40th anniversary reissue program has, until now, focused on producer Creed Taylor's primary label. Two multi-disc sets and 24 single discs have made available on CD cherished CTI LPs by artists such as trumpeters Chet Baker and Freddie Hubbard, saxophonists Paul Desmond and Stanley Turrentine, guitarists George Benson and Kenny Burrell, vibraphonist Milt Jackson ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Weston: Blue Moses

Read "Blue Moses" reviewed by Eugene Holley, Jr.

Brooklyn-born, six-foot-seven octogenarian pianist/composer Randy Weston has literally been a larger-than-life jazz force for six decades: his percussive pianism was forged from a distinguished keyboard continuum, ranging from Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk to John Lewis; his “Little Niles" and “Hi-Fly" are well-worn jazz standards; and the pianist may well be the greatest exponent of the ...

Stanley Turrentine: Don't Mess With Mister T.

Read "Don't Mess With Mister T." reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

When the CTI label originally released tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine's Don't Mess With Mister T. in 1973, it managed to bring music to the public that served as a sign of the times, while also helping to define the times. The soul within Turrentine's horn had been at the center of his earlier successes for the ...

George Benson: Body Talk

Read "Body Talk" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

With a title like Body Talk, and a lead-off track called “Dance," George Benson--a guitar-god-on-the-rise when this album originally hit shelves in 1973--makes it clear that this music is all about feeling the groove. While a good number of Benson projects on CTI benefited from Don Sebesky's arrangements, the guitarist needed a funkier feeling for this ...

Freddie Hubbard: Straight Life

Read "Straight Life" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

On the surface, Freddie Hubbard's Straight Life doesn't seem like a record that should have ever found much success on the CTI label. This record lacks any grandiose arrangements or classical-jazz crossovers, two of the three tracks are far too long to garner much airplay, and those same two tracks--"Straight Life" and “Mr. Clean"--are far rawer ...

Hubert Laws: In The Beginning

Read "Hubert Laws: In The Beginning" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Hubert Laws

In The Beginning

CTI Masterworks

2011 (1974)

The release of a double album during the LP-era could be a double-edged sword. This format provided a platform for artists to elaborate on their ideas and serve a hefty portion of music to their fans and potential followers, but a ...

Chet Baker: She Was Too Good To Me

Read "She Was Too Good To Me" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Newly reminted in 2010's CTI Masterworks series, She Was Too Good To Me was originally Chet Baker's 1974 “comeback album," his first recording since a well-publicized mugging by junkie acquaintances (hardly “friends") that relieved the singer and trumpet player of his money, dope and most of his teeth. “Believe me," Baker once observed, “when a trumpet ...

Don Sebesky: Giant Box

Read "Giant Box" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

It's a bit bizarre to find an album called Giant Box in a small cardboard case, or as a download lacking physical form, but times change. When Don Sebesky's grand musical statement on CTI hit the marketplace in 1973, it came in a classical-type record box, befitting the stature of the music.

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