Like American comedian W.C. Fields, American composer Elliott Carter never believed in giving the listener an even break. In the three string quartets recorded here, Carter used all the tools at his command a virtuoso technique, an adroit intellect, and an unsurpassed ability to write ruthlessly independent counterpoint to challenge and confound the unsuspecting listener.
Virile, colourful performances … sharply responsive to the music's robust earthiness and gleeful unpredictability. On 3 December 1781 Joseph Haydn dictated to his secretary a round robin letter inviting subscriptions to a new set of string quartets. The new Quartets, now know as Opus 33, were dedicated to the Russian Grand Duke Pavel Petrowich (1754-1801), hence their collective nickname. Opus 33 was a great success for Haydn. It was rapidly taken up and re-published in other European capitals, by Hummel in Berlin, by Schmitt in Amsterdam, by Napier and Forster in London, by Guera in Lyons, and by Le Menu and Boyer and then by Sieber in Paris.
The Salomon's beautiful playing of these important masterpieces make this set indispensable. When Haydn completed his Opus 20 String Quartets in 1772 he was in his fortieth year and was on the brink of international fame. Since 1761 he had been in the service of the Esterházy family at their castle in Eisenstadt, east of Vienna, or, after the mid-1760s, mainly at the palace of Eszterháza, over the present-day border with Hungary on the other side of the Neusiedlersee.
Recorded in 1970 but not released until 1996, Live At the "It Club" shows the Three Sounds pulling out funky, gritty rhythms out of their basic bluesy hard-bop sound. The group's funky influences are most noticeable in the rhythm section of drummer Carl Burnette and bassist Henry Franklin, who had been playing with Harris for only a short time when this set was recorded. The rhythm section pushes Harris, making the music loose and swinging – the groove matters more than anything on the album. Occasionally, the energy of the Three Sounds lags, but Live at the "It Club" is an enjoyable piece of grooving soul-jazz.
If you lived in the UK during the 1970s and 1980s, then you’re almost certainly familiar with the band Hot Chocolate, who were rarely off the UK Singles chart during the former decade and were still making regular appearances in the early part of the latter decade. These days, Hot Chocolate’s career in the US has been simplified by the media to such a degree that you’d be hard pressed to realize that “You Sexy Thing” wasn’t their only big hit. That’s why we’ve taken a look back at BOX SELECTION, a collection of the band’s eight albums on RAK Records, and shined a spotlight on some of the songs that you might’ve forgotten.