Jason Eckardt steps forward with this Mode release as a fearless young proponent of modernism in all its complexity, a shining alternative to the prevalent eclecticism of our time. His Ensemble 21, formed in 1993, deserves acclaim as well, a unit seemingly out of step with the American musical landscape, and not surprisingly pursuing collaborations with Boulez's IRCAM and other European composers and musicians.
With record sales of over 250 million, he was a giant star of the pre-rock ‘n’ roll era. Though his influence proved less durable than his record sales, Frankie Laine was one of the most popular vocalists of the 1950s, swinging jazz standards as well as half a dozen Western movie themes of the time with his manly baritone. Laine's enduring popularity was illustrated in June 2011, when a TV-advertised compilation called Hits reached No. 16 on the British chart. The accomplishment was achieved nearly 60 years after his debut on the UK chart, 64 years after his first major U.S. hit and four years after his death.
When half of a band's original lineup packs up and leaves, it's a pretty big deal, at least to the group and their fans. Left Lane Cruiser were populated by just two guys for their first ten years – Frederick "Joe" Evans IV on guitar and vocals, and Brenn Beck on drums – and after Beck quit the group in 2014, Alive Naturalsound decided to mark the end of an era with Beck in Black, a collection of material from the duo's years with Beck behind the drums. Left Lane Cruiser are very good at what they do, but they have only so many moves in their repertoire, and Beck in Black covers them all – heavy-hitting blues-rock with lots of gnarly slide guitar, Brontosaurus stomp rhythms, and lyrics about women, whiskey, weed, and dangerous good times of all stripes.