She's no stranger to the towering highs and lows of the heart, and Etta James's soaring, gospel-tinged pipes match up well with the rigors of unabashed bliss. Happily, the good people at Chess Records recognize this, and they have thoughtfully collected some of the best examples into one tidy record. Kicking off with her classic treatment of "At Last," the collection moves through the lilting strings of "My Dearest Darling" on into the expressive tones of "I Want to Be Loved (But Only by You)" with grace and emotional candor. James can be simultaneously tender and deeply honest and her ability to express the desperate joy that is the soul of love remains one of life's marvelous pleasures. –Matthew Cooke
Digitally remastered two-fer containing a pair of Chess Records albums from the Blues great: 1966's Muddy, Brass And The Blues and 1973's Can't Get No Grindin'. Muddy, Brass And The Blues was a massive undertaking in direction which a couple of years later John Mayall.
Jazz has always had a soft spot for pop music. Icons like trumpeter Louis Armstrong blessed the masses with his positivity and raspy voice in 1967's "What a Wonderful World" and saxophonist John Coltrane transformed Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1960 musical smash "My Favorite Things" into a swinging affair. Fast forward to 2014 as singer, songwriter and producer Jose James continues the practice with a fine rendition of 1972's "Simply Beautiful" by the one-time prince of R&B, vocalist Al Green.