The Fugees translated an intriguing blend of jazz-rap, R&B, and reggae into huge success during the mid-'90s, when the trio's sophomore album The Score hit number one on the pop charts and sold over five million copies. The trio formed in the late '80s in the New Jersey area, where Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Michel ("Pras") attended a local high school and began working together. Michel's cousin Wyclef Jean ("Clef") joined the group (then called the Tranzlator Crew), and the trio signed to Ruffhouse/Columbia in 1993. After renaming themselves the Fugees (a term of derision, short for refugees, which was usually used to describe Haitian immigrants). Though the group's debut album, Blunted on Reality, was quite solid, it reflected a prevailing gangsta stance that may have been forced by the record label. Presents the Carnival No matter how pigeonholed the Fugees may have sounded on their debut, the group had obviously asserted their control by the time of their second album, The Score. With just as much intelligence as their jazz-rap forebears, the trio also worked with surprisingly straight-ahead R&B on the soulful "Killing Me Softly With His Song," sung by Lauryn Hill. Elsewhere, Clef and Pras sampled doo wop and covered Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," giving the record familiarity for the commercial mainstream, but keeping it real with insightful commentary on their urban surroundings. The Score became one of the surprise hits of 1996, reaching number one on the pop charts and making the Fugees one of the most visible rap groups around the world.
In a 2007 interview entitled "Who Norah Adores," Norah Jones, asked to name her three favorite artists, cited violinist Jenny Scheinman, who among her numerous high-profile credits, appears on Jones' multi-platinum, Grammy-winning, groundbreaking Come Away With Me. Jenny has been the Rising Star violinist in Down Beat's International Critics Poll for several years. She has appeared and recorded with artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams and Bill Frisell, Wilco's Nels Cline and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Her residencies at Brooklyn, NY's Barbes with a rotating cast of some of the greatest players in jazz, rock, and country/folk/bluegrass are becoming the stuff of legend.
Dr. Lonnie Smith brings an album with SHM-CD format. On Evolution, Dr. Lonnie Smith returns to the Blue Note Records label with a unique project that enhances his legacy as one of the premier masters of modern music. With three new Smith originals (“For Heaven’s Sake”, “African Suite” and “Talk About This”) and exciting new arrangements of tunes such as Monk’s “Straight No Chaser”, “Play It Back” and “Afrodesia,” The Good Doctor and his cast offer plenty of surprises and invention along with a serious groove.
Cast's All Change serves as the perfect antidote to the inner rage fueling much American alternative rock – it would be hard to imagine a more gloriously upbeat backbeat of a guitar pop record, one that appeals to the eternal adolescent in each of us. The group's pedigree derives from good stock, founder John Power having served time with another fine Mersey combo the La's. But Cast transcends the hackneyed expectations of its environment, structure, and genetics through sheer, relentless quality of songcraft and performance. No sooner has one wide-eyed, hook-infested injection stormed the synapses demanding total capitulation than another of equal potency lines up to take its place. Cast vocals recall Small Faces-era Steve Marriott fused, in places, to Suede's Brett Anderson. There's a soft-psych feel to several tracks (try "Sandstorm") that calls to mind "Pictures of Matchstick Men"-era Status Quo; Cast has clearly assimilated several volumes of Bam Caruso's Rubble and A.I.P.'s Electric Sugarcube Flashbacks series, without sacrificing its power-Mod backbone.
Based on real life events, Calendar Girls the Musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth is the story of a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary. The production received fantastic five star reviews in London’s West End & the Original Cast Recording is now being released by Decca Records, just in time for Mother’s Day. The album features the 18 tracks featured in the musical as well as versions of three tracks, featuring Gary Barlow.
The Tibetan Freedom Concert was the largest rock charity event of 1997, a two-day event held in June that featured many of the biggest names in rock and rap. Appropriately, it was filmed and recorded with the intention of being released later in the year as a charity record. The triple-disc set, The Tibetan Freedom Concert, is the extraordinary document of that weekend, containing one performance apiece from the 36 artists who appeared at the concert.
The Alan Parsons Project is a "project" of acclaimed English producer Alan Parsons, best known for his works as an engineer with with names such as the Beatles (Abbey Road, the Get Back roofttop concert) and Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon, Atom Heart Mother). Along with songwriter Eric Woolfson, Parsons created a series of 10 (and counting) albums of progressive rock, employing a rotating cast of session musicians to do most of the performing (Parsons does play keyboard and sings on some tracks.). He creates the concept, writes some of the music and hires the artists, while Woolfson writes the lyrics, some of the music and sings on many tracks.
36 tracks are collected on this expansive compilation album from these prog rockers, which is a neat way to review their impressive career.
"Pictures of a City" seems meant to pick up where "20th Century Schizoid Man" left off, with it's furious ensemble passages, knotty Fripp guitar leads and Greg Lake's authoritative vocal. "Cadence and Cascade" helps fill out the ballad quotient with a beautiful, wispy vocal from transitional singer Gordon Haskell. A valuable note of humor is interjected into the proceedings via the jokey, off-handedly jazzy "Cat Food." Keith Tippet's piano and Mel Collins' sax–both soon to play larger roles–were introduced on POSEIDON as well.