Rickie Lee Jones "unplugged" – in fact, solo with an acoustic guitar or piano on all but a couple of tunes – Naked Songs is otherwise a retrospective concert album on which Jones cherry-picks songs from her five studio albums, including the hits "Chuck E.'s in Love" and "Young Blood," and others from her breakthrough debut record. The studio album arrangements always tried to support and augment Jones' idiosyncratic writing and playing style, which sounds less unusual when she is simply accompanying herself, and in many ways more effective. "Altar Boy," a previously unreleased song, strays into Leonard Cohen territory, mixing religion with eroticism.
The Dubnology compilation is a two-disc, 21-track collection of spacy late-'90s electronic dub, heavy on the bass, demonstrating that the music has become more techno-influenced and reliant on electronics and technology. Highlights include tracks by System7, Loop Guru, Zion Train, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Banco de Gaia; the booklet includes biographies and photos of all the artists.
Strange as it seems, the main criticism about this CD and about Kenny Burrell's playing during the past couple decades is that he is often overly tasteful. On this set (which has six unaccompanied guitar solos, four duets with bassist Ray Drummond, and three trio numbers with Drummond and drummer Yoron Israel), Burrell is so loving of the melodies that he adds very little of himself other than his beautiful tone. Although the tunes are superior, none of these versions are definitive and the mellow results rarely rise above the level of background music.
Big Girl is the third album by Dutch alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Prior to its release, she had been working mainly with Ulco Bed. She was impressed, however, with Thomas Bank, an up-and-coming producer and keyboard player. This work marks the transition between the two producers and as a result has a much more funky style and tries to incorporate elements of rap and hip hop into contemporary jazz. The album features a collaboration with Trijntje Oosterhuis, on the track "Funkyness", before Trijntje became widely known as a singer. The album is mainly instrumental.
When András Schiff completed the recording of all of Schubert's piano sonatas in the 1990s, Decca released a box set containing all of the individual discs from the series. For this 2011 reissue, Decca goes one step further and includes Schiff's recordings of the Impromptus, the Moments musicaux, and several other shorter works. Schubert's music, along with that of Bach and Mozart, is one of the cornerstones upon which Schiff built his reputation as a thoughtful and intelligent performer. Anyone looking for a complete set of the Schubert sonatas could do much worse than to choose this one by one of the foremost Schubert interpreters of his generation.