Resonance Records goes out of its way again to unearth yet another significant chapter in jazz history, and once again, it's one that relatively few fans have ever heard. This performance of Jaco Pastorius' Word of Mouth Big Band was captured during George Wein's Kool Jazz Festival at Avery Fisher Hall. It was broadcast on NPR's Jazz Alive program, but this double disc contains the entire performance, with more than 40 minutes of additional music.
The Singles Collection, Volume 3 is a limited edition CD series compilation box set by the English rock band Queen, the third of four sets. The box set contains remastered versions of the next thirteen top-40 charting singles released by Queen that appear subsequent to those in Queen: The Singles Collection Volume 2. The set marks the first time that Blurred Vision and the single mix of Pain Is So Close To Pleasure have been made available on CD.
Sanctuary's mammoth triple-disc Pentangle overview poses a bit of a dilemma. First of all, it's called Pentangling, which is already the name of a 1973 compilation, and secondly, while not deliberately misleading, it focuses more attention on the solo careers of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch than it does on the entity that supplies the collection's title. Despite these petty gripes, Pentangling is filled to the brim with some of the finest recordings the British folk movement had to offer, and hearing the group as a whole, followed by an entire disc – one apiece – of two of the genre's most gifted guitarists, is rewarding in more ways than one: both men, as well as the band, released material well into the 21st century, but Pentangling focuses only on their treasured late-'60s/early-'70s output. Listeners looking for a more comprehensive take on Pentangle would be better off with Castle's excellent Light Flight: The Anthology, and Renbourn and Jansch both have lovingly packaged retrospectives that fare better than the ones offered here, but as far as entry points go, Pentangling does more than skim the surface.
An attractive and intelligently annotated set, devoted to Fauré’s chamber music with piano; the sole drawback concerns generally astringent sound quality in these 1969/70 recordings. Pianist Jean Hubeau features in all but one of these performances. An uncommonly perceptive, adroit, and lucidly compelling artist, his readings of the large-scale piano quintets, Opp. 89 and 115, are superb. He is partnered by the Quatuor Via Nova, who contribute their own serenely idiomatic account of Fauré’s three-movement string quartet, Op. 121. Hubeau’s impressively understated pianism adds distinction to refined performances of the piano quartets, Opp. 15 and 45, and the particularly fine D minor Trio, Op. 120.
The Epic is saxophonist Kamasi Washington's aptly titled, triple-length, 172-minute debut album for Brainfeeder. He is a veteran of L.A.'s music scene and has played with Gerald Wilson, Harvey Mason, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar (his horn is prominently featured on To Pimp a Butterfly), to name but a few. Most of his bandmates have played together since high school, and it shows. There are two drummers (including Ronald Bruner), two bassists (including Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner on electric), two keyboardists, trumpet, trombone, and vocals (Patrice Quinn). In various settings, they are supported by a string orchestra and full choir conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Washington composed 13 of these 17 tunes; he also meticulously arranged and produced them. At just over six to nearly 15 minutes, the jams leave room for engaged improvisation. The Epic is based on a concept, though it's unnecessary to grasp in order to enjoy. The music reflects many inspirations – John Coltrane, Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Arkestra, Azar Lawrence's Prestige period, Donald Byrd's and Eddie Gale's jazz and choir explorations, Pharoah Sanders' pan global experiments, Afro-Latin jazz, spiritual soul, and DJ culture.