Profile for Aidan Stevens > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Aidan Stevens
Top Reviewer Ranking: 941,357
Helpful Votes: 42

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Aidan Stevens "70 bought, 931 to go!" (Redditch, England)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Palo Congo: ROOTS OF AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ;BLUE NOTE 22665
Palo Congo: ROOTS OF AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ;BLUE NOTE 22665
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: 28.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhythmic sensation, 30 Sep 2009
Viewed as an important link between Jazz and Traditional African beats (in line with Machito's "Kenya") this was an album I'd not really thought would be my bag. I was wrong.

From the fabulous intro into "El Cumbanchero", this is a album that has toes tapping, heads nodding and puts a smile on your face! Arsenio Rodriguez's gravelly inflections on "Billumba - Palo Congo" hint at a joy and spirit within the musicians; they are clearly loving making this music! "Choferito" contais some beautiful harmonising, which could onl be found on a Latino influenced record. "Asabache" is urgent and really does make you want to move, whilst Simba has an almost feral feel to it.

This is a fabulous recording, and the remastering (the CD reissue was the first time that these tracks were heard in stereo) is excellent. A great starting point for anyone who wants to explore Latin influences on jazz musicians.


Brilliant Corners [Keepnews Collection]
Brilliant Corners [Keepnews Collection]
Price: 7.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technical Brilliance, 28 Sep 2009
I must admit that before purchasing this album, I'd never heard much of Thelonius Monk's music, although I was vaguely aware that jazz musicians did revere him. Credited with a key role in the invention of bebop, this record sees him back at his best following a period in the doldrums.

Monk's group for this disc contained Sonny Rollins (a name with which I was much more familiar), but personnel changes were prevalent throughout the record, mainly because of the near impossibility of the title track. Jarring notes and tempo changes hit at what follows over the rest of the record, although the simplicity of piano only "I surrender dear," the only non-original on the record, suggests that Monk had a wonderful grasp and feel for many types of music. It proves that he was not a slave to the dizzying harmonics of bebop.

Not always an easy listen, but for anyone serious about jazz it is an essential recording. The extra track is an aborted attempt at "Pannonica" containg only the first chorus. The mastering throughout is excellent.


The Complete Atomic Basie
The Complete Atomic Basie
Price: 6.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Band Basie Born Again!, 4 Sep 2009
Having listened to a lot of big band music whilst at school, I was under the impression that I'd be in a good position to gauge how good Basie and his band were at this stage. It turns out that I was a moron who knew nothing about proper big band music!

This album marked a renaissance for Basie, as his peak had seemingly come and gone with the turn of the 50's, a period in which he stopped recording with his big band. A meeting with arranger Neal Heftie was to provide the spark for this album and a triumphant return.

The contrasting shades that the brass section manage during this album are remarkable, as is the tight rhythm section, which can seemingly bring swing to any of the songs on the record. Highlights include "Whirly Bird" and the delightful closer, "Li'l Darlin'," a track which is just meant to be listened to late at night, when the lights are low and the smoke hangs thickly in the air.

The bonus tracks (from 12 onwards) are also a welcome addition, without taking anything away from the excellent original album.


The Chirping Crickets
The Chirping Crickets
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 7.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Clean, crisp, original, 29 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Chirping Crickets (Audio CD)
"The Chirping Crickets" was the only LP to feature Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime. Thank God it was!

From the very beginning of the opening track, the clean, bell-like tone of the guitars in this album comes through and remains as a feature throughout the rest of the recording. Check out the intro to "That'll Be The Day," the difficulty of which is mated to the beautiful tone of the guitar to produce one of the greatest moments in rock and roll history.

The album is marked by good changes in tempo. It is not out and out pace, nor is it all slow rocking. And it is here perhaps, that we see the command that Holly and his fellows had of the genre in its infancy.

A milestone, therefore. Forget the short running time, and recognise this for what it is: a keystone in the building of rock and roll.


Songs For Swingin' Lovers
Songs For Swingin' Lovers
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 5.27

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs for learning to love swing!, 28 Jun 2009
After the heart ache of "In The Wee Small Hours" released the previous year, Sinatra and Riddle mapped out an album with a completely different feel in 1956. The differences between the two works are both marked and extraordinary.

Instead of the wallowing vulnerability of the previous year's effort, the Frank of '56 is positively skipping and leaping with a renewed love for life. Highlights include the opening track, and the relish with which he develops the theme on "Makin' Whoopee," making the listener smile along with him.

The star track, however, is "I've Got You Under My Skin." This is thanks in no small measure to Riddle's fautless arrangement of the song, which, legend has it, the musicians applauded spontaneously having played it for the first time.

A splendid collection of songs, delivered beautifully by a duo who were meant to work together.


Ellington Complete At Newport
Ellington Complete At Newport
Price: 9.54

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding, 25 Jun 2009
By the time The Duke came to Newport in 1956 with his band, his place among music's elite of the day was already assured. It may be that this recording made him a sure-fire member of every Hall of Fame for which he was eligible.

It took well over 40 years for the public at large to hear the actual concert, due to initial reluctance from Columbia to release the recordings made at Newport. However, this fabulous re-issue (including the studio "concert" which was released in '56) has thankfully given us the opportunity to hear the audience's real reaction to the magic that unfolded before their eyes and ears.

The legacy of the concert rightly rests on "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" and Paul Gonsalves' fantastic, lengthy sax solo. But to write this album off as a one trick pony is to miss the point. The ability of soloists and rhythm sections on standards and new songs is astounding. The fact remains that the musicians hold the audience and today's listener in raptures, even before Gonsalves steps up, and this feeling is carried throughout.

Ellington's judgment of the mood of the crowd and choice of song mark him out as a master, and this is an album that no-one should be without.


Fats Domino Rock and Rollin'/This Is Fats
Fats Domino Rock and Rollin'/This Is Fats
Price: 21.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Boogie Woogie Beast!, 25 Jun 2009
Fats Domino's third full length album (from track 13 onwards) makes for compelling listening, especially when placed alongside similar releases of the period. There seems little doubt that this album helps to bridge the gap between rock and early rhythm and blues. The exuberance of "Honey Chile" and "Blue Monday" is matched to excellent arrangements and Fats' delightful tone, both vocally and on the piano. "Blueberry Hill" demonstrates straightaway the fabulous command that Fats had over this music.

A joyful listen.


The Wildest
The Wildest
Price: 12.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "King" Louis, 1 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Wildest (Audio CD)
Before I bought this, the only thing I knew about Louis Prima was that he'd voiced an ape in "The Jungle Book," and remembering how I danced around as a kid listening to "I Wanna Be Like You," I was fairly intrigued to see how the man would put an album together.

I needn't have worried. This is joyous, wonderful music, played by people who are obviously on the same wavelength. Prima even makes the band giggle at one point. The music reminded me of Ray Ellington, part of the eponymous Goon Show, and perhaps for this reason, I seemed to connect with the music itself, especially Prima's rendition of "Buona Sera." There's an energy crackling throughout the whole recording and adds immensely to the whole experience.

Music that should be as enjoyable to listen to as it was to make!


Tragic Songs of Life
Tragic Songs of Life
Price: 17.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Country beginnings, 22 Sep 2008
This review is from: Tragic Songs of Life (Audio CD)
This was an album that I didn't expect to enjoy. I'd be lying if I said I had a love of country music or bluegrass. But yet again, as with so many of the albums that I've listened to recently, it was a real eye, or ear, opener. Not one song is wasted, and this is music from the soul. Wonderful harmonies, and, as the title suggests, songs about life! An album which should touch everyone who hears it, as it touches upon the most raw of all our emotions. This is music for ordinary people...and all the better for it.


Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Price: 3.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blueprints, 20 Sep 2008
This review is from: Elvis Presley (Audio CD)
With a running time of just under half an hour, one might wonder how this album had such an effect on music that was to follow. But upon listening to it, one recognises embryonic rock 'n' roll.

The energy that Presley brings to this record is certainly one of the more noticeable things, expecially on "I Got a Woman" and "Trying to Get to You." But I think that the beauty of this record lies in its inherent contrasts. The differences between "I Got a Woman" and his tender rendition of "Blue Moon" show an artist who was starting to realise his potential to interpret many forms of song. Even this early on, one can see the potential for Presley to become an excellent ballad singer.

But the standout tracks here are total rock 'n' roll. And here Presley takes hold of a genre and makes it his own. The cover shot itself is evidence of Presley's whole-hearted enthusiasm and commitment to R'n'R. It is a visual distillation of the fabulous music contained in the album.

Listen to it and understand how it influenced a huge amount over the next few years.


Page: 1 | 2