Given the critical and commercial success of 1 and their rebirth as the "Crusaders," the band decided to follow up the previous LP's double length with another one! There are 13 tunes here, all extrapolating the band's previously held notions of soul-jazz and hard bop as they emerged into the new funky '70s. Textures were a little different this time out as keyboardist Joe Sample expanded his palette to include not only the Fender Rhodes but also his first (subtle) forays into synthesizer, while Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder keep the crisp horn charts popping throughout. Stix Hooper was, at the time, the best soul-jazz drummer in the business with the possible exception of Idris Muhammad.
A tasteful and intelligent modern blues band, the Hollywood Flames came together in 1975 on the West Coast as the Hollywood Fats Band, led by guitar phenom Michael "Hollywood Fats" Mann, and featuring what was arguably the best traditional blues line-up this side of 1954. "Soul Sanctuary" was welcomed with unanimous praise by blues fans around the world, as blues with both a history and a future. A great album in the west coast and Chicago style blues and a must have if you like guitar players like Ronnie Earl, Dave Specter, Alex Schultz and Steve Freund. Featured special guest artist is Kim Wilson on harmonica. The Hollywood Blue Flames literally burn their way through a set of fresh originals sprinkled with well-chosen covers.
In the late '30s and early '40s, pianist Teddy Wilson was a big deal in the land of jazz. He had many opportunities to perform as a sideman, and eventually got his breaks. These sessions showcase of variety of his efforts with big bands, large ensembles, small groups, and a singer named Billie Holiday. Though none of his own compositions are credited ("Big Apple" should be,) he certainly had a hand in the arrangements, and was given space to play quite a bit of piano. The Hep label has generously provided 23 selections with Wilson and bandmates including stalwarts Hot Lips Page, Lester Young, Freddie Green, Red Norvo and Pee Wee Russell, as well as backing trombonist Benny Morton's All Stars. There are two takes of "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Just a Mood" (Blue Mood,) "When You're Smiling," and "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me" for contrast sake. The sound reproduction of these vintage performances is excellent, and this one can easily be recommended to both fan and novice.
First released on vinyl on their own Blue Beat label back in 1984, the Blue Beat Party album is the definitive 'Aussie' ska album, with Strange Tenants giving their fans what they wanted - up tempo songs to skank to. Full of classic ska tracks, exhibiting their brilliant song-writing and musicianship, the Blue Beat Party album has become an iconic album in the history of Australian ska. Now in digital form, the world has a chance to share the power ska sound that is Strange Tenants.