Stanley Clarke stretches his muscles and comes up with a mostly impressive, polystylistic, star-studded double album (now on one CD) that gravitates ever closer to the R&B mainstream. Clarke's writing remains strong and his tastes remain unpredictable, veering into rock, electronic music, acoustic jazz, even reggae in tandem with British rocker Jeff Beck. Clarke's excursion into disco, "Just a Feeling," is surprisingly and infectiously successful, thanks to a good bridge and George Duke's galvanizingly funky work on the Yamaha electric grand piano (his finest moment with Clarke by far). The brief "Blues for Mingus," a wry salute from one master bassist to another (Mingus died about six months before this album's release), is a cool acoustic breather for piano trio, and the eloquent Stan Getz can be detected, though nearly buried under the garish vocals and rock-style mix, on "The Streets of Philadelphia."
Most musicians when asked to give a list of their favorite composers will usually have at the top, or near the top of the list George Gershwin. They feel that Gershwin wrote in such a fashion that it gives them the most room for improvisation. You will always find that when people are asked to do albums of various composers, invariably Gershwin is on the list. Buddy DeFranco has recorded many albums for me and for two years has been insisting that he be allowed to do a Gershwin album, and this is it…
Smothered by the indulgence of his rock star ranking, Jack White steps into the eccentricities of the supergroup, and at first glance, this seems to be a band where White's imposing presence could overshadow the rest. Not the case with these Raconteurs. Teaming with fellow Detroit songwriter Brendan Benson and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, the rhythm section from Cincinnati band the Greenhornes, White exhales a bit, deferring enough to his mates to make Broken Boy Soldiers play like a team effort. Following the Benson blueprint, "Steady as She Goes," which opens as a slice of 1960's radio pop, the record steers away from pigeonholing the rest of the way. White's in a Middle Eastern mood for the title track as he pulls off a wicked Robert Plant howl, while Lawrence and Keeler excel on the chorus-strong "Intimate Secretary" and the optimistic acoustic rocker "Yellow Sun." Like so many all-star bands before them, The Raconteurs could be one and done. But don't place the blame on this fertile and genuine debut.
"Fat Man" and "Little Boy" were the nicknames given the atomic bombs that were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the waning days of World War II. This elaborately assembled film is the story of the events leading up to the dawn of the atomic age. Paul Newman plays General Leslie Groves, a hard-nosed career soldier who in 1942 finds himself the reluctant "nursemaid" to a group of idealistic scientists in Los Alamos, New Mexico. As the military head of the top-secret Manhattan Project, Groves intends to have the operation run by the book–and failing that, to have things his way at all costs. The film's storyline narrows down to a battle of egos between Groves and atomic scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Dwight Schultz), in his own way as contentious and childishly single-purposed as the general.