An excellent budget compilation of the wonderful Bethlehem Records label - what a roster of artists they had. Very good sound too. The Bethlehem label focused on jazz releases, and this set collects some great examples of jazz–vocally and instrumentally–between the years 1958-62. One look at the artists on this 60 track 2 CD set shows how many fine artists released music on the label. Like other collections from One Day Music, there's no booklet, only a short paragraph about the label and a few of the featured artists. The digitally remastered sound is good overall within the limits of recording styles of the era.
Member groups Poco, Eagles. Randy Meisner's "new" album from Rev-Ola is a fanatic's rarities-only collection of tunes recorded as either unreleased demos or finished demos for stuff from his other records of the late '70s, the '80s, and the early '90s. The liner notes by Joey Stec are nothing more than hero worship, the sonics on these things are substandard, and most of the material sounds very dated and unfinished. The press material claims that Spencer Davis, James Griffin of Bread, Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf, Billy Swan, and Charlie Rich Jr. are all present here, and it's not necessarily to be doubted, but it would be nice to know where (as well as who some of the backing vocalists were, since they sound so very familiar).
Laura Mvula uncovers the influence of Nina Simone’s classical training in her version of Love Me or Leave Me. Laura Mvula illustrates the contrapuntal classical piano technique that Nina Simone puts to good use in her version of Love Me or Leave Me.
In 1920's Chicago, Ruth Etting wants to be a renowned singer, which is a far step away from her current work as a taxi dancer. Upon walking into the dance hall and seeing her, Chicago gangster Marty Snyder immediately falls for Ruth, and works toward being her lover, which he believes he can achieve by opening up singing opportunities for her. Ruth is initially wary of Marty, but makes it clear that she is not interested in him in a romantic sense.
It was the producer's idea that Freddie Hubbard play all of the nine standards on this CD with a mute in his trumpet. Hubbard was not happy with the restriction, but does his best on the quartet/quintet session with pianist Benny Green, bassist Rufus Reid, drummer Carl Allen and, on three numbers, altoist Kenny Garrett. While it is interesting to hear Freddie Hubbard tackle such material as "Topsy," "As Time Goes By," "Cherokee" and "Love Me or Leave Me," the music is often more mellow than one might hope, even when uptempo. It's a pleasing but not essential release from the Japanese label Alfa/Compose. ~ AllMusic
Yet Miles's transitional albums are usually more polished, developed, and engaging than a lot of other artists' definitive albums, and such is the case with WALKIN'. Whether on originals ("Solar") or standards ("Love Me or Leave Me"), the sessions boast impeccable playing and superb interplay between the musicians, who number among the best of the era. Pianist Horace Silver, drummer Kenny Clarke, and trombonist J.J. Johnson are among the personnel, and one can hear the beginnings of the synergy Miles was searching for and would find with his quintet (especially in the dynamics between his trumpet and Lucky Thompson's sax, which foreshadows his chemistry with John Coltrane).