Gentle Giant was reduced to a quintet on In a Glass House with the departure of elder brother Phil Shulman, but its sound is unchanged, and the group may actually be tighter without the presence of his saxophones…
This glorious, ferocious recording is one of the pinnacles of the music created by the South African expatriates who settled in England in the '60s and melded with the free jazz community therein. Leader and alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and trumpeter Mongezi Feza were twin fountainheads of this movement and are in rare form here, both instrumentally and as composers. The pieces here are largely riff-based, but what incredibly infectious and funky riffs these are. South African music emphasized the importance of various thematic materials by how often it was repeated in a song, and these guys iterate the melodies with a vengeance.
Original released by Auvidis France in 1986. This reissue released by Auvidis-Naïve in 2000 (ES 9956). Couperin places himself between the Italian and French musical styles of his day to create something rather greater than either. For the most part early works, these sonatas with dance suites combine the style of Lully and Louis XIV's court with Corelli's brilliance: the result is a Grand Tour of the high Baroque, given, s'il vous plait, with a French accent. Savall's rendition, true to form, is dark, elegant, and supple. He assigns the trio-sonata texture to differing combinations of violins, oboes, and traversi, all with a large and inspired continuo group. Performers: Monica Huggett, Chiara Banchini, Ton Koopman, Hopkinson Smith, Stephen Preston, Ku Ebbinge &c. Highly recommended.
Electric Light Orchestra's third album showed a marked advancement, with a fuller, more cohesive sound from the band as a whole and major improvements in Jeff Lynne's singing and songwriting. This is where the band took on its familiar sound, Lynne's voice suddenly showing an attractive expressiveness reminiscent of John Lennon in his early solo years, and also sporting a convincing white British soulful quality that was utterly lacking earlier. The group also plugged the holes that made its work seem so close to being ragged on those earlier records. "Showdown" and "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" (the latter featuring Marc Bolan on double lead guitar with Lynne) became AM radio fixtures while "Daybreaker" became a concert opener for the group and, along with "In the Hall of the Mountain King," kept the group's FM/art rock credentials in order.