Almost everyone is familiar with Carl Orff's Carmina burana - this extremely popular work belongs to classical music programs all over the world. The work appears twice on this compilation: one version was conducted by Eugen Jochum, who devoted a great deal of his attention to Orff's music. The composer himself considered Jochum's interpretations to have set the standard for performances.
What unites these 26 tracks? They're all black vocal group sides from 1960-1970, originally released on the Galaxy, Fantasy, 4-J, Riverside, and Specialty labels. That might be a fragile thread to tie a compilation around, but basically it's a way for Fantasy, which now distributes Specialty, to round up a bunch of doo wop, R&B, and soul rarities that it has license to. It's an agreeable though not great listen, illustrating in a modest way the transitional links between doo wop and soul music.
The second in a series of five CD packages that reissue all of Fats Waller's Victor recordings with his Rhythm, this two-CD set traces the pianist/composer/ vocalist/personality's career during a nine-month period. Among the sidemen are trumpeter Herman Autrey and either Rudy Powell or Gene Sedric on reeds; highlights include the hit version of "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," a rambunctious "There'll Be Some Changes Made," "Truckin '," "Got a Bran' New Suit" and four performances from a big-band session. All of the Waller Victor recordings are full of joy and infectious swing.
This two-CD set has the first 42 recordings of Fats Waller with his Rhythm. The brilliant stride pianist/vocalist/ composer/personality became very popular due to these 1934-35 recordings which feature either Herman Autrey or Bill Coleman on trumpet, Gene Sedric, Ben Whitted, Mezz Mezzrow or Rudy Powell on reeds, guitarist Al Casey and a rhythm section. All of Waller's Victor recordings have been reissued on CD and this two-fer (which includes such memorable numbers as "A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid," "Serenade for a Wealthy Widow," "How Can You Face Me," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Believe It, Beloved," "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Oh Suzannah Dust Off That Old Pianna" and "You've Been Taking Lessons in Love") is a perfect place to start.
"Don't think too much, people" is the spoken word snippet that begins the title track of Amelia White's newest album, Rhythm of the Rain. It's a flippant warning, a half-joke, a sideways call-to-arms that announces a casual subversion threading through these rollicking 9 songs from the opening explosion of Summer sunshine, through the heat of lust and addiction, landing with a glance at politics and fate while the window is still wide open, warm breeze blowing in the late afternoon. Amelia White asks us to not take it all so seriously and, at the same time, shows us how critical it all is: love, fate, death, grief, politics, which isn't surprising considering White made this record in the four days between her Mother's funeral and her own wedding. Rhythm of the Rain digs deep. Her well worn smokey pipes deliver a rawness you'd expect from mining that liminal space between grief and joy.