This CD combines together two unrelated solo piano sets. The nine performances by Thelonious Monk are a bit familiar since these renditions (which are highlighted by "'Round Midnight," "Well You Needn't," "We See" and "Hackensack") had been previously reissued by GNP/Crescendo and Mosaic. However the 13 selections (including three alternate takes) by Joe Turner (no relation to singer Big Joe Turner) are much rarer. Turner, a talented American stride pianist who spent most of his life living in France, had only recorded ten songs as a leader prior to this 1952 session and is in top form for such numbers as "Hallelujah," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," "Wedding Boogie" and three versions of "Tea for Two." This CD is easily recommended to jazz piano collectors who do not already have the Monk selections.
Album release from The Soft Machine featuring footage of the band's concert in Paris in 1977. Originally released in 1978. Features cardboard sleeve and remastering. Includes a Japanese obi and a description. On the band's first live album, 1978's Alive & Well: Recorded in Paris, Soft Machine's personnel changes continue, with Steve Cooke replacing Roy Babbington on bass, and violinist Ric Saunders joining since the 1976 studio album Softs, as guitarist John Etheridge, keyboardist Karl Jenkins, and drummer John Marshall remain in place. (Since this is the group's first album not to feature any participation from an original member of Soft Machine, a name change might have been ethically, if not commercially, advisable.) Like Softs, Alive & Well is largely a vehicle for the compositions of Jenkins, who wrote nine of 11 tracks.
Those who are fans of both Lalo Schifrin and Astor Piazzolla should be delighted by this reissue of important early works. The tunes here were originally on separate albums by their respective artists and have been long out of print until the issue of this BMG compilation. The first eight songs are by Lalo Schifrin and they show the listener both his piano virtuosity and his already strong skills as an arranger. I recognize many of these songs having heard them done by other artists in my father's record collection. Though the "tropical" sound may seem dated and quaint to modern ears, several listens will show you just how far advanced Schifrin was for his time.