Of all of organist Jimmy Smith's big-band albums recorded for Verve, this is one of the most imaginative ones. Oliver Nelson arranged a variety of themes from Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf into a swinging suite featuring the great organist Jimmy Smith. Although there is no verbal narrative on this LP, Nelson's liner notes tell the story (which can actually be followed through the music) and Smith pays respect to the original melodies while making strong statements of his own. A classic of its kind.
Award-winning composer Jimmy López was recently hailed by The Chicago Sun-Times as, ''one of the most interesting young composers working anywhere today.'' On this exciting release from harmonia mundi, Miguel Harth-Bedoya leads the Norwegian Radio Orchestra in América Salvaje, Synesthésie, Perú Negro and Lord of the Air - a 2012 cello concerto featuring Jesús Castro-Balbi. All four orchestral works included here are being commercially released for the first time.
Over at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Jersey during the '90s, it was just like 1969 with soul-jazz sessions bursting forth at a more leisurely yet no less insistent clip. This could only mean that Hank Crawford and co-billed leader Jimmy McGriff were at it again, playing off the Bernard Purdie shuffle on the first two tracks, and cruising through ballads, blues, and cover tunes with the assurance of those who had the genre in their bloodstream. A high point is Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," as Crawford has the soul and restraint to make a fresh case for a slightly over-recorded contemporary tune.
This soundtrack to the popular 1982 animated film based on the acclaimed children's book by Peter Beagle was scored by songwriter/composer Jimmy Webb ("Wichita Lineman," "MacArthur Park") and features performances from the soft rock duo America. The score itself, an appropriately somber and sentimental blend of fairy tale motifs and dark, Wagnerian cues, reflects the story's achingly beautiful tale of a unicorn who attempts to overthrow a maniacal king determined to rid the world of the magical creatures, while the songs are far more creative, daring, and eloquent than all of the cookie-cutter balladry that would eventually replace their type in future animated films. Like Watership Down, The Hobbit, and even Robert Altman's live action, Harry Nilsson-scored Popeye, this hard to find soundtrack is a gem from another age.