Sixteen songs by the soft rock duo, cut between March of 1976 and early 1980, that sum up most of their best work. It's unfortunate that the producers couldn't have salvaged one or two cuts from their A&M years, just to delineate the development of their sound, but limited to 16 songs that might not have been possible. This is a handy volume, with excellent sound and ample annotation and session information, which tells the listener a lot about the duo that is often overlooked.
The album newly remastered from the original master tapes. John Coltrane assembles a 20-piece band for these three songs. There's McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, Elvin Jones, and 16 others. It's heavy on brass, per the title, there are five french horns, for example. There are notable players like Eric Dolphy, Booker Little, Freddie Hubbard, and Julian Priester in the band, but the solos are by Coltrane, Tyner, or Jones. The orchestration was done by Coltrane, Tyner, and Dolphy. The liner notes say Dolphy did a lot of it, later it came out Tyner did more (though Dolphy was no longer around to argue the point). It's not really a big band in the Duke Ellington style, but with all of the horns, it's certainly a big band.
Helen Merrill's first American record since 1968 (she had spent much time in Japan) is mostly a duet set with pianist John Lewis; three songs also have flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Connie Kay. The emphasis is on ballads, with all of the nine songs (other than the pianist's "The Singer") being quite well-known. The obvious empathy between Merrill and Lewis is well displayed on such numbers as "Django" (which has rarely been sung), "Angel Eyes," "Alone Together" and "Mad About the Boy." An introspective set full of subtle creativity.
There are many, many good things about Andrew Parrott and the Taverner Consort and Players' Bach performances – their luminous colors, complete clarity, utter lucidity, and structural integrity – that there is an uneasy feeling in criticizing them for their occasional flaws. When Parrott's Bach is good, it is as great as any that has been recorded in the past 20 years. It's as great as Leonhardt's, Koopman's, or Herreweghe's, and far better than Gardiner's, Harnoncourt's, or Rilling's. And Parrott's Bach is so great in the great pieces – so great in the overwhelming dramatic intensity of the close of his Saint John Passion and so great in the mystery, agony, and ecstasy of the central choral triptych in his Mass in B minor – that his performances seem very, very great indeed.(James Leonard)
Essence, released in 1962, allows space for improvising around the charts provided by vibraphonist Gary McFarland. Arranged by Lewis, it featuring an array of jazz greats including Eric Dolphy, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Jimmy Giuffre, and Jim Hall.
John Demarkis is a multi instrumental/songwriter/producer from the Boston area who has played and performed with many bands and artist over his 40+ years in the music industry. Major musical influences in his life have been the Beatles, Yes, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Crowded House and Steely Dan among others in the many genres. Musical heroes are Chris Squire, Steve Howe & Paul McCartney.