Still trying to recover from the effects of a devastating 1995 stroke, Les McCann relaxed and put out a playful jazz/funk album with a cast of dozens that in some ways harkens back to some of his Atlantic sides from the 1970s. Unlike his other post-stroke albums, he doesn't play any keyboards here, leaving them in the hands of Ricky Peterson, with an emphasis on the Hammond B3. Rather, McCann is content just to sing and rap – again, a throwback and fallback to records made a quarter-century before. At 66, McCann sounds considerably different – older and a little shakier on the ballads, but still sly and willing. The grooves are OK in a minimally updated '70s funk manner, but the material, coming from a variety of sources, is rather ordinary as a whole.
Originally written in 2003, DG will be releasing a new edition to celebrate its 15th anniversary with brand new artwork and bonus content, such as new arrangements, remixes, as well as a completely unreleased new track.
This Max Roach date is an unusual set. The outing featured the drummer's all-star sextet (which consisted of trumpeter Richard Williams, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trombonist Julian Priester, pianist Mal Waldron, and bassist Art Davis) joined by a vocal choir conducted by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and orchestrated by Roach (who contributed all six originals). Unlike most other collaborations, the choir was not overly gospel-oriented and was utilized as a sort of jazz ensemble. Each of the horn players has a feature or two and singer Abbey Lincoln stars on "Lonesome Lover."
Max Pommer, sometimes called one of the few remaining "Old World" conductors, first drew attention for his interpretations of the works of J.S. Bach and other Baroque composers. But since the 1980s he has explored a much broader range of repertory, taking in compositions by contemporary Finnish composers Einojuhani Rautavaara and Kalevi Aho, as well as more traditional fare by Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Debussy, and even Weill. Pommer, more than most first – rank conductors, has devoted much of his career to teaching, as well as to conducting university ensembles