Her mountainous stature matching the sheer soulful power of her massive vocal talent, Big Maybelle was one of the premier R&B chanteuses of the 1950s. Her deep, gravelly voice was as singular as her recorded output for Okeh and Savoy, which ranged from down-in-the-alley blues to pop-slanted ballads. In 1967, she even covered ? & the Mysterians' "96 Tears" (it was her final chart appearance). Alleged drug addiction leveled the mighty belter at the premature age of 47, but Maybelle packed a lot of living into her shortened lifespan.
They say that reincarnation is making a comeback. If that is so, it has never been more true than in the new CD by the Onesko, Bogert and Ceo Project – aptly called 'Big Electric Cream Jam.' These three blues-rock virtuosos channel the feeling, emotional content, and musical virtuosity of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker, respectively, and, believe it or not, take the music up a notch. Most of all, they capture the live excitement and power of the original trio and do it justice – no mean feat! Overall, the inspired playing on this CD makes one not only appreciate Cream on a deeper level, but establishes Onesko, Bogert and Ceo, three veteran players in their own right, in a category of their own whose musical chops show the wisdom of their years, with a debt, no doubt, to the original trio…
Jumping With the Big Swing Bands collects various swing-era tracks by such popular dance band leaders as Louis Prima, Jimmie Lunceford, and Harry James. Included here are such rare cuts as Lunceford's "Sit Back and Ree-Lax" and "Shut Out."
One of the finest European jazz pianists of all time, Martial Solal (a unique stylist) has never received as much recognition in the U.S. as he deserves. Born in Algiers to French parents, Solal has been based in Paris since the late '40s. Although a modernist, he was flexible enough to record an album with Sidney Bechet in 1957 and make other records with Django Reinhardt, Don Byas, and Lucky Thompson. Solal has been primarily heard with his own trios through the years although he has recorded several notable albums with Lee Konitz.
This wonderful three-disc set brings together everything Willie Mae Thornton recorded for the folk music label in the mid-'70s. It's comprised of her two released albums from 1975, Jail and Sassy Mama, and a complete unreleased album, Big Mama Swings. Thornton was still in good voice on these sessions and while not as powerful as her Peacock sides, the production is solid and these recordings make an excellent addition to her scant discography.