One of our favorite all-time records, and a real lost album on Blue Note! Eddie Gale leads this group of righteous singers and musicians through five fantastic tracks of soulful chanting and hard jazz playing that never goes too far out, but always threatens to break free of its own chains – soaring to the skies on wings of freedom and spirituality! Gale's trumpet rings hard and loud, and the vocal arrangements never verge on sentimentality, but manage to convey a ton of soul with an incredibly righteous approach that's never been duplicated again! Imagine Donald Byrd's vocal group albums recorded for Strata East – or a hipper version of Billy Harper's Capra Black – and you've only got part of the picture! Titles include "The Rain", "Fulton Street", "The Coming Of Gwilu", and "A Walk With Thee".
This will be quite a discovery for those who know the music of Bedrich Smetana only through his grand and nationalistic cycle of tone-poems, Ma Vlast, even if they are yet familiar with his more painfully intimate string quartets or his folkloristic operas. For Smetana, like most composers, needed to eat; and to do so he was happy to make his own contribution towards satisfying the seemingly insatiable appetite of the bourgeois 19th-century public for piano music that they could perform at home. Music of no great difficulty but boundless charm, these miniatures are now seldom heard and even less often recorded, and this is a shame, for works such as the Op.3 Characteristic Pieces show how the pianistic extroversion of Brahms and Liszt (who was a great admirer and supporter of the young Smetana, giving him valuable introductions to publishers) could be adapted to a domestic context, and with the particular inflection of Czech and Bohemian character, derived not only from simple and song-like melodies but also irregularly stressed dance-rhythms that the young Italian pianist Roberto Plano relishes to the full on this welcome new survey.
Agent blå — that’s Swedish for Agent blue — are a mostly teenage Gothenburg quintet from the same exciting scene that gave us Makthaverskan, Westkust, School ’94, and the Sun Days. (What a time to be alive in Gothenburg!) Makthaverskan’s Gustav Data had a hand in recording their debut album Agent blue, and it brims with a similar enthusiasm, each catchy indie-pop song revved up and shrouded in dark intensity. The album sounds like the work of young music nerds who are still in the breathless discovery phase and are channeling all these classic post-punk and shoegaze records into inspired new music of their own. You’ll want to pay special attention to “Rote Learning,” with its impassioned refrain “Tell me what the f*ck we’re doing!”
Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin' Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, originally from Mississippi. With a booming voice and looming physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. Musician and critic Cub Koda noted, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits." Producer Sam Phillips recalled, "When I heard Howlin' Wolf, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies'". Several of his songs, including "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Back Door Man", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful", have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 51 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."