E.S.P. is the Bee Gees' seventeenth original album (fifteenth worldwide). Released in 1987, it was the band's first studio album in six years, and their first release under their new contract with Warner Bros. It marked the first time in twelve years the band had worked with producer Arif Mardin, and was their first album to be recorded digitally. The album sold well in Europe, reaching No. 5 in the UK, No. 2 in Norway and Austria, and No. 1 in Germany and Switzerland, though it barely made the top 100 in the US.
Recorded in 1971, but unreleased in the U.S. until 1999, B.B. King's Live in Japan deserves high marks for exuberance alone. Had Live in Cook County Jail not just jumped into the charts, this live album might have been released long ago. The recording opens with a swelling of enthusiastic cheers, as King launches into an uptempo "Every Day I Have the Blues." There are plenty of other classics here as well, including "How Blue Can You Get?", "Sweet Sixteen," and "The Thrill Is Gone" (which elicits another round of cheering from the opening notes). Live in Japan may not have the long-standing reputation of Cook County Jail or Live at the Regal, but it's an excellent album, with a decidedly different feel from these two classics. King's obvious enthusiasm for his music and for his audience is infectious, and you can hear the sheer joy of it in every note. And, for those who don't really feel that they need additional versions of well-known songs, let it be mentioned that Live in Japan contains King's only live rendition of "Hummingbird," not to mention a couple of unique jams.
Recorded over three nights in August 1972, Deep Purple's Made in Japan was the record that brought the band to headliner status in the U.S. and elsewhere, and it remains a landmark in the history of heavy metal music. Since reorganizing with singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover in 1969, Deep Purple had recorded three important albums – Deep Purple in Rock, Fireball, and Machine Head – and used the material to build a fierce live show…
ESP marks the beginning of a revitalization for Miles Davis, as his second classic quintet – saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams – gels, establishing what would become their signature adventurous hard bop. Miles had been moving toward this direction in the two years preceding the release of ESP and he had recorded with everyone outside of Shorter prior to this record, but his addition galvanizes the group, pushing them toward music that was recognizably bop but as adventurous as jazz's avant-garde.