The King's Singers have been around for a long time, singing OVPP polyphony, including from the Renassance, and hearing Palestrina done by this ensemble showcases the counterpoint to great advantage. The acoustic is not reverberant which also emphasizes the clear texture. The program includes twelve motets taken from Canticum Canticorum, the much-recorded 1584 collection of texts from the Hebrew Bible (29 motets, altogether adding up to half of the total book), complemented by the four seasonal Marian antiphons sung at the end of the Office every day.
Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as "I'm an Errand Girl for Rhythm," "Frim Fram Sauce," and "Hit That Jive Jack." Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber "I'm Through With Love" and "If I Had You." Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of "Hit That Jive Jack," although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall's vocal on "If I Had You," and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.
Released to celebrate his 50th birthday, King of Pop is Michael Jackson's third major compilation in just five years, following 2003's million-selling Number Ones and 2005's The Essential Collection. With a track listing chosen by fans via the GMTV and The Sun websites, it could, and should, have been the ideal opportunity to showcase his lesser-known singles and standout album tracks…
Tapestry is the second album by American singer-songwriter Carole King, released in 1971 on Ode Records and produced by Lou Adler. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. In the United States, it has been certified Diamond with more than 10 million copies sold. It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year. The lead single from the album — "It's Too Late"/"I Feel the Earth Move" — spent five weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts. In 2003, Tapestry was ranked number 36 on Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Capitol Records took This Is Sinatra!, a compilation album, into the Top Ten in early 1957, which probably prompted the label to assemble a similar collection, This Is Nat "King" Cole, later in the year. Consisting of tracks not previously issued on a Cole LP, the disc contains seven recent Billboard singles chart entries among its 12 selections – "Too Young to Go Steady" (which reached number 21), "Forgive My Heart" (13), "Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You" (72), "To the Ends of the Earth" (25), "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life" (57), "Someone You Love" (13), and "Never Let Me Go" (79) – while an eighth song, "That's All," was the B-side of the 1953 Top 20 hit "Lover, Come Back to Me!" "Too Young to Go Steady," which peaked in April 1956, turned out to be all that was really heard of a stage musical intended for Broadway, Strip for Action, with songs by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson, which closed out of town. "I Just Found Out About Love" and "Love Me as Though There Were No Tomorrow," two more songs from that ill-fated show, are among the previously unheard tracks unearthed for this compilation.
God Save the King is actually a split release and/or a Robert Fripp compilation, depending on how you look at it. In 1980, Robert Fripp released something of a split disc himself, called God Save the Queen/Under Heavy Manners, consisting of a side of Frippertronics and a side of Discotronics, the latter being Frippertronics with a "dance-oriented" (according to Fripp) rhythm section. Also in 1980, Fripp formed a new group, borrowing the name from his early-'60s band, the League of Gentlemen.
Pianist Michel Camilo made his recording debut as a leader with this session for the Japanese King label. Camilo was anxious to show everything, and did so on such cuts as "Thinking Of You" and the title track. He ripped through phrases, added powerhouse chords and rippling lines, switched tempos and meters, and moved from a hard bop feel to an Afro-Latin groove in the middle of a piece. His intensity and energy were impressive, but at times he tried too much and stumbled getting back to the melody…It wasn't an unflawed debut, but Camilo showed that he would be a pianist to be reckoned with down the line.
I believe that this was Andrew Lawrence-King's first recording (1986) – a sterling effort which is ample proof of why he went on to become a well-established figure in his field. He has appeared on numerous recordings, including many with Jordi Savall's Hesperian XX, and is currently the director of the Harp Consort. The program is both musically interesting and eminently listenable; and given Lawrence-King's credentials (he won an Organ Scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge and completed his studies at the London Early Music Centre), his understanding of the material is unquestionably comprehensive. His technical execution is equally impressive.