Sunny and improvisational, Boney James's SHINE–his 10th studio outing–finds the lite urban jazz sax maven in top form. By emphasizing the R&B side of his recipe and inviting friends like Faith Evans and the easy-listening jazz legend George Benson, James scores his most accessible album yet and crosses over to the R&B and Pop Charts in the process. The album includes a cover of Chuck Mangione's "Soft."
James Bright is a recording artist and producer from the North West of England. He works predominantly with the genres of electronica, downbeat and chillout, but also turns his hand to deep house and balearic. He has seen many releases over the years most recently of which are released under his own name, James Bright. His work has found interest, and general release on popular labels including React (the infamous Cafe Del Mar album series), Hed Kandi and Quango.
The Belgian early music group Vox Luminis has made several wonderful recordings of lesser-known Baroque repertory. They cultivate a distinctive sound with ten or 15 singers (here there are ten) and a small instrumental group, diverging completely from the general Italianate-operatic trend toward brisk tempos, sharp accents, and dramatic conceptions. Here they take on two very familiar works and meet the challenge of creating unique interpretations. Even in the splendid Bach Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 (sample one of the big choruses, perhaps "Fecit potentiam"), they are smooth and even delicate. The sound is all the more impressive in that leader Lionel Meunier does not really conduct; he sings in the choir itself. Yet the carefully burnished sound is extremely coherent. The effect is to deliver a personal aspect even to these highly public works. In this kind of reading there is the necessity for the performers to deliver text intelligibility and for the instrumentalists to deliver balance, and all succeed nicely, as do Alpha Classics' engineers, working in a pair of churches (Belgian for the Handel, Dutch for the Bach). This is a beautifully rendered representation of standard repertory that draws you into entirely new ways of looking at the music.
Say you start a group called the Society for New Music, commission composer-stars-in-the-making and do it for thirty years straight, you might expect your scrapbooks to be quite interesting. What you might not realize is that your efforts now constitute a major segment of the backbone of contemporary American concert music and you have premiered a boatload of chamber works by composers who have gone on to distinguished careers. Such is the case with Syracuse’s Society for New Music founded by Neva Pilgrim, who opened their treasure chest of commissioned works from 1972 – 2002 and has put them together as the 5-CD set entitled “American Masters for the 21st Century.”
As the title suggests, this is the definitive edition of Etta James' Tell Mama long-player. For this single-disc release the original album is augmented with five previously unissued tracks – documented during James' four Muscle Shoals sessions circa '67-'68. The question of why a rural Alabama town became a conduit for some of the most memorable and instantly identifiable grooves may still be up for debate. The evidence exists in droves and Tell Mama could certainly be considered exhibit A. These sessions feature the same impact that would redirect several first ladies of soul. Notable among them are Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis, Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and to somewhat lesser acclaim, Jackie DeShannon's Jackie. Tell Mama showcases some of the unique and admittedly darker qualities of what might best be described as R&B noir. "I'd Rather Go Blind," "Steal Away," "I'm Gonna Take What He's Got" all exemplify the essence of the blues – making the best of a bad situation.