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 ("Japanese Boogie," "Jamming at Sankei Hall," and "Hikari #88").
A really cool bit of bossa jazz from reedman Buddy Collette – an artist who's not as well associated with the genre as Stan Getz or Paul Desmond – but who really cooks nicely here! The setting is relatively lean and groovy – with guitar from Howard Roberts, bass from Mel Pollan, and percussion from Leo Acosta and Darias – both of whom bring a nice sort of west coast vibe to the set, one that's different from some of the Verve bossa modes of the time. Jim Helms handled the arrangements, with a nice airy sort of mode – and Buddy plays both tenor and flute, on titles that include "Nao Pode Ser", "Porque De Moras", "A Pele Do Marfin", "A Meie Noite", "Samba Da Tartaruga", and "Amor Levado".