It's hard to call The Globe Sessions a stumble, but its stripped-down, straightforwardness paled in comparison to the dark pop-culture kaleidoscope of Sheryl Crow's eponymous second album. That's why C'mon, C'mon, Crow's long-delayed fourth album, is such a delight – it's the sunny flip side of that masterpiece, a skillful synthesis of classic rock and modern sensibilities that's pretty irresistible. Crow has turned into the professional she always acted she was – she not only crafts songs impeccably, she knows how to record them, filling the record with interesting sonic details, whether it's the Steve Miller-styled "woo hoo"s on "Steve McQueen" or subtle Mellotrons on "Over You."
After its successes in the field of German Baroque religious music, here VOX LUMINIS proposes the first complete recording of the motets by Johann Sebastian Bach's ancestors. These motets, most of which are written for double choir, blend the old tradition inherited from the polyphony of the Renaissance with expressive work inspired by the fashions of the madrigal. The chorale melodies that are quite frequently associated with these motets contribute this colour typical of the Lutheran liturgical repertoire.
After decades of recording for RCA Victor, Atkins switched labels; this 1985 effort is a summit meeting of sorts with young guitar hotshots like Larry Carlton, George Benson, Mark Knopfler, Steve Lukather, and Earl Klugh, plus session A-teamers like Boots Randolph, Larrie Londin, David Hungate, Mark O'Connor and others. Atkins' tone is, as usual, faultless, and his playing superb. If the "meetings" don't always come off, it's usually due to the overzealousness of the other guitar players (Lukather's over-the-top style screams '80s big hair, for instance), not Chet, whose playing always exercises the utmost in restraint in every situation. All in all, a good modern-day Chet Atkins album, but not the place to start a collection.
For his second set as a leader, the focus is almost entirely on tenor saxophonist Ralph Moor, who switches to soprano on two of the six numbers. Accompanied by pianist David Kikoski, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart, Moore performs group originals, Wayne Shorter's "Black Diamond" and Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco." Displaying a tone on tenor similar to John Coltrane's, Moore's note choices are more original than his sound. A solid modern mainstream set.
A consummate artist whose approach to the cello was directed toward breathing life into the music, Paul Tortelier earned the respect and affection of countless colleagues. An enduring friendship with Pablo Casals found him playing, in the words of a French critic, Apollo to Casals' Jupiter. Like Casals, Tortelier emphasized using but one finger at a time on the string to allow free vibration. Fantasy and emotional freedom marked his performances and attracted numerous young players.
A&M's 1977 collection The Best of Joan Baez doesn't chronicle her most influential work, but that doesn't mean it's not without merit. Far from it, actually. This is a concise recapping of her poppier recordings for A&M, which include such classic Baez moments as her original "Diamonds and Rust" and a definitive reading of Robbie Robertson's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." The rest of the album splits the difference between covers (including Stevie Wonder's lovely "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate") and originals, providing an entertaining, enlightening encapsulation of her '70s recordings.
Together with the Requiem, Mozart's C minor mass is one of the brilliant composer's great unfinished sacred works. The work combines monumental power, solemn spirituality and moving solo passages. This recording under the baton of Baroque and Classical expert Raymond Leppard has great expressive depth, and offers a truly legendary vocal ensemble featuring stars like Kiri Te Kanawa and Ileana Cotrubas.