After several years of R&B success but no crossover hits, vocalist Freddie Jackson left Capitol for RCA late in 1993. His RCA debut has several excellent performances, but unfortunately, there's no single standout cut. There are brilliantly sung numbers, ("Come Home II U," "I Love," "My Family") but there's no track that can stand alongside "Rock Me Tonight," "Nice And Slow" or any of a half-dozen other past Jackson hits. Jackson merits pop attention more than many others with a much larger profile.
Fans of complex German space progressive rock fans will groove with this release. "Here It Is" combines the keyboard workout of ELP with the atmosphere of Grobschnitt and Genesis. This is a purely instrumental album featuring a five-piece lineup of dual keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums. The music has intricate layers combined with sharp soloing.
Johnny Smith is an exquisite jazz guitarist known mostly to fellow musicians and serious jazz fans. This beautifully packaged and expertly annotated eight-CD limited-edition boxed set from Mosaic includes his complete small-group recordings for Roost, most of which have languished out of print for decades. Smith's unique voicings on his instrument set him apart from other players, yet he maintains a lush, crystal-clear tone no matter the tempo or setting.
Hungarian Jazz/Fusion band Djabe and Steve Hackett collaborated on various occasions and have released a couple of albums together, such as Summer Storms And Rocking Rivers (iTunes Link) and the more recent Life Is A Journey. On 15th February, Djabe released yet another interesting live CD/DVD digipak: It Is Never The Same Twice. It contains two recordings: The CD was recorded at Ady House of Culture in Miskolc (8th June 2017), while the DVD was recorded in Budapest, Jazz Club, 3rd June 2017. Both recording feature Djabe and guest musicians Gulli Briem and Steve Hackett.
Louis Smith had a brilliant debut on this Blue Note album, his first of two before becoming a full-time teacher. The opener (Duke Pearson's "Tribute to Brownie") was a perfect piece for Smith to interpret, since his style was heavily influenced by Clifford Brown (who had died the previous year). He is also in excellent form on four of his basic originals and takes a particularly memorable solo on a haunting rendition of "Stardust." Altoist Cannonball Adderley (who used the pseudonym of "Buckshot La Funke" on this set, a name later used by Branford Marsalis), Duke Jordan or Tommy Flanagan on piano, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor make for a potent supporting cast, but the focus is mostly on the criminally obscure Louis Smith. After cutting his second Blue Note set and switching to teaching, Smith would not record again as a leader until 1978…