This is another release in EMI’s highly successful 50 BEST series. This 3CD set contains 50 tracks from the finest EMI recordings of the famous Wiener Philharmoniker, know in English as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, under some of the world’s greatest conductors including Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Rudolf Kempe, André Cluytens, Riccardo Muti and many others.
It is a fitting title: a high quality stylish collection featuring tracks taken from Paul’s albums of the last 15 years of his solo career. These 15 years have seen a constant artistic high, with each subsequent album release being heralded as ‘his best yet’. There are few artists with as many incarnations as Paul who can claim to have achieved such an ongoing renaissance, keeping each of their album releases sounding fresh and showered with plaudits.
This four-CD, 100-song set is the best representative body of work ever assembled (or ever likely to be assembled) of the R&B and soul releases from Henry "Juggy Murray" Jones' Sue Records. The range of sounds runs the gamut from ex-Drifter Bobby Hendricks' first hit for the company ("Itchy Twitchy Feeling") in 1959, through the string of hits by Ike & Tina Turner, to the company's last hits some seven years later. Not only is every chart single that the label ever had represented, but so are club hits from the mid-'60s and solo sides by uniquely New York-associated figures. The contents of the box are almost ideal, along with their arrangement – in contrast some other box sets, this one follows strict release order, which is a great way to follow the history of the label (though not ideal for anyone, apart from owners of multi-disc players, who simply wants to hear the label's best-known tracks in one sitting).
The Strypes don't say much in interviews, but one thing they articulate quite clearly is that they couldn't care less what anyone no longer a teenager thinks of them. Call them derivative – which they are, in a third-hand way, a rehash of the nostalgic 1970s pub-rock rehash of 1950s/60s R&B – and they will shrug and say rock'n'roll was ever thus. They're right, of course, but if anyone is going to choose to listen to their albums over Bo Diddley's they're going to have to learn something fundamental about R&B fast.
If the notion persists that Nigel Kennedy is the enfant terrible of classical music – too rebellious or facile to be taken seriously – then perhaps it is time to reconsider his categorization. Kennedy's varied interests certainly take him beyond the boundaries of the typical classical performer, and his performance style may be too flamboyant to suit some listeners' tastes. But East Meets East is far from shocking, if understood as an exploration of Eastern European music, presented in a fusion of popular styles without pandering to the classical audience with crossover concessions. Fans of world music and open-minded listeners of any stripe may find something to appreciate here. Appearing with the Polish folk band Kroke and surrounded by several guest artists of international reputation, Kennedy shows that his involvement with this ethnic music is honest, if not always inspired.