In what was a giant undertaking (even for producer Norman Granz), pianist Oscar Peterson recorded ten Songbook albums during 1952-1954 and when his trio changed, nine more in 1959. Both of his George Gershwin projects (one from 1952 and the other from 1959) have been reissued in full on this single CD. The earlier date matches the brilliant Peterson with guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Brown, while the 1959 session has Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. The Songbook series found Peterson playing concise (around three-minute) versions of tunes, and he always kept the melody in the forefront. The results are not innovative or unique, but they are tasteful and reasonably enjoyable. Since five of the songs are played by both groups, a comparison between the two units is interesting.
It is coming up to five years since Sarah Chang, then in her early teens, made her brilliant and moving concerto recording debut in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto on EMI (12/93). Her concerto recordings for the label since then have been of brilliant showpiece works like the Lalo Symphonie espagnole (5/96) and the Paganini First Concerto (1/95) rather than of the central repertory. It is good here to have her remarkable artistry revealed again at full stretch in astonishingly mature interpretations of the Mendelssohn and Sibelius concertos.
Although he had been playing for years, it wasn't until the 1990s that R.L. Burnside's raw electrified Delta blues were heard by a wide audience. His new fans celebrated his wild, unbridled energy, so it made sense for him to team with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the warped indie rock band that's all about energy. However, the very purists who celebrate Burnside hate Spencer, believing that the latter mocks the blues. As the blistering Ass Pocket of Whiskey proves, Spencer may not treat the blues with reverence, but he and his band capture the wild essence of juke-joint blues. And that makes them the perfect match for Burnside, who knows his history but isn't burdened by it. Together, Burnside and the Blues Explosion make raw, scintillating, unvarnished blues that positively burns.
Savoy is a Norwegian-American indie rock trio formed in 1994 by co-singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (formerly Pål Waaktaar) of a-ha, along with his wife, Lauren Waaktaar-Savoy (formerly Lauren Savoy). Multi-instrumentalist Frode Unneland joined the couple as drummer. Warner Bros. released Savoy's debut album, Mary Is Coming, in 1996. Finding commercial success in Norway, it was followed by 1997's Lackluster Me for EMI. Though Savoy was formed during a hiatus for a-ha, the European synth pop icons reunited in 1998, and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy would continue to write, record, and tour for both bands over the next six years. Savoy won Spellemann Awards (Norwegian Grammys) for Best Pop Band for their third and fourth albums, 1999's Mountains of Time and 2001's Reasons to Stay Indoors, both issued by EMI.
Scorpions is a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1978–92 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar), Matthias Jabs (lead guitar), Francis Buchholz (bass guitar), and Herman Rarebell (drums)…
The Italian baroque seems to be an inexhaustible quarry for lovers of historical performance practice and beautifully balanced music. Francesco Antonio Bonporti was a composer-priest who, after studies in Innsbruck and Rome, spent most of his working life in his home town of Trento, once host to the Tridentinum, but in the early eighteenth century nothing more than a provincial nest.