Originally released in 1988, this album marked one of the truly successful world fusion creations, which Rhythm Magazine said symbolizes "the birth of a new era in music". It's a direct, transcendent exchange between six acclaimed musicians from diverse cultures, including L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Daniel Ponce, Aiyb Dieng and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. This CD is a true American melting pot of deeply tangled roots, merging East and West to create a new music soundscape. At it's core, there's Indian music, and somewhere underneath lies flashes of the slow rustic lope of American country music.
Originally recorded in 1957, these sessions turned out to be the last the legendary Big Bill Broonzy would record; only a little over a year later, he succumbed to lung cancer. This collection consists not of fan or producer favorites, but Broonzy favorites, and includes a variety of blues, folk, and devotional music. Though he was instrumental to the development of the blues and the Chicago sound, much of the material on this three-disc set reaches back to the music that the blues came from, with a lot of drop-in help from Broonzy's friends, of which there were many. That makes these recordings not only recordings, but documentation, a testament to a bluesman who was at once musician and historian.
The band has a core rhythm section, but features a revolving combination of all-star guest front men and women. These recordings feature the talents of Gary Brooker, Georgie Fame, Albert Lee, Andy Fairweather Low, Chris Rea, Beverley Skeete, Mick Taylor and George Harrison (amongst his last recordings) on an intriguing and varied selection of covers and originals.
This LP has the debut of drummer Marty Morell with Bill Evans and bassist Eddie Gomez, and this particular trio would retain the same personnel for six productive years. Actually, this is a quartet set with guest flutist Jeremy Steig, whose playing recalls Herbie Mann's recording (Nirvana) with Evans back in the early '60s. Both flutists were always open to the influences of pop and rock, although in both of their collaborations with Evans, the music is very much on the pianist's turf. With the exception of Evans' "Time Out for Chris" and the "Spartacus Love Theme," the songs performed on this date would fit securely in the Miles Davis repertoire of the late '50s. Steig is in particularly fine form on the program which includes tunes such as "Straight No Chaser," "Autumn Leaves," and "So What."