In this live 1973 performance from Japan, Scotto is parthnered by one of the great tenors of our time, José Carreras, then at the start of his international career. The distinguished baritone Sesto Bruscantini is a formidable Germont who sings an exceptionally moving rendition of the famous aria "Di Provenza il mar".
Kenny Barron could easily go unidentified if some of the selections on this LP were played for a listener during a "blindfold test" – he sounds quite unrecognizable on the three numbers on which he plays electric piano. Barron, who is joined by electric bassist Bob Cranshaw, drummer Freddie Waits, and the colorful percussion of both Richard Landrum and Warren Smith on his five originals and one by Waits, utilizes electricity with intelligence and creativity. His songs are moody and complex yet somewhat accessible and this underrated set would certainly surprise some of his current fans. Barron is the main soloist on every selection while Landrum and Smith's versatile colors add a lot to the unusual session's value.
A really special record from a really special group – one of two sublime 70s gems from Azteca – a wicked blend of jazz, funk, Latin, and soul – all put together by a young Coke Escovedo! Coke's ostensibly the leader of the group, but there's also a richly collaborative feel going on – a style that brings together jazz players like Tom Harrell on trumpet, Mel Martin on saxes, George Muribus on Fender Rhodes, and Flip Nunez on organ – and Latin players like Victor Pantoja on congas, Coke Escovedo on timbales, and Pete Escovedo on added percussion. In fact, the set's a key early example of the strength of the Escovedo family – and like their best later efforts, the set really stretches out and pushes the boundaries of conventional genres. There's also some great guest work from Lenny White on drums, Mike Nock on keyboards, and Neal Schon on guitars – and vocals are by a range of singers who really keep things fresh.