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Covered
Covered
Offered by Bee-Entertained
Price: 4.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and strong delivery..., 28 Mar 2012
This review is from: Covered (Audio CD)
* * * and half

"Covered" isn't just a collection of familiar songs given the Macy Gray treatment -- it's a frequently funny journey through what makes Macy Gray Macy Gray, with celebrity guests visiting to offer advice (like JB Smoove advising she wield a sword on-stage, or Nicole Scherzinger saying she should sing more Alanis Morissette songs).
Fortunately, all of it's enlivened by Gray's ability to (mostly) deliver strong performances that don't sound like they've been labored over. With her keyboard-led live band in tow, Gray mashes Eurythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again" with Radiohead's "Creep", Kanye West's "Love Lockdown" with Nina Simone's "Buck".
Her choice and range of material to cover are astonishing, always yielding songs that are perfect for her (and her audience), like "Smoke Two Joints", done earlier by Sublime as well as the Toyes. J. Bush

Greatest Hits -Ltd-
Toyes


Bring It On Home
Bring It On Home
Price: 11.42

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smoking and smoldering...She is really excellent . Her best yet., 28 Mar 2012
This review is from: Bring It On Home (Audio CD)
* * * * stars and half.

Joan Osborne is no stranger to covering vintage soul, R&B, and blues.
She did so on 2002's How Sweet It Is and 2007's Breakfast in Bed, and in the documentary film Standing In The Shadows of Motown [DVD] [2003].
Joan Osborne has also flexed her muscles as a producer for the Holmes Brothers, capturing their live vibe better than anyone else.
For "Bring It On Home", Osborne once more digs into the soul, blues, and R&B wellspring.
Co-producing with Jack Petruzzelli and using her road band, a horn section, and guests, she turns in the rawest, most kinetic moment in her recording career thus far.
The choice of material is stellar, beginning with Ashford & Simpson's Ray Charles' vehicle "I Don't Need No Doctor".
She gets deeply into its grain, with drummer Aaron Comess just popping the groove, and the Holmes Brothers on backing vocals. Jimmy Vivino's horn chart is clean and forceful.
The title track, defined by Sonny Boy Williamson, is given a sultry reading. Osborne's restraint is airy but defined; the listener can feel the tension smoldering underneath. Barbecue Bob Pomeroy's harmonica is a brilliant counterpart, letting loose some steam from what's roiling underneath her vocal.
The choice of the obscure "Roll Like a Big Wheel", by blues drummer and vocalist Olive Brown is a burning R&B shouter, with smokin' harmonica and horns; Osborne's voice rises above the fray and locks the groove in tight.
Ike Turner's "Game of Love" -- written specifically for Tina -- is a grimy, funky, nasty, strutting feminist anthem in Osborne's version; its meaning (and irony) never more clear.
Her transformation of John Mayall's "Broken Wing" is nothing short of a revelation. Allen Toussaint's '70s-era funky reggae "Shoorah! Shoorah!" features him on piano and is a delightful curveball.
Osborne's cover of Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips" comes from the blues more than the rock & roll of the Rolling Stones' version and it's righteous.
She burns on Muddy Waters' "I Want to Be Loved", which is more demand than request. Her versions Bill Withers' "Same Love That Made Me Laugh" is raucous yet peels back the layers in its meaning.
Her understated reading of Otis Redding's "Champagne and Wine" is gorgeous, with a distorted slide guitar bearing witness to the many subtle nuances in Osborne's vocal that make plain the desire in the lyric.
Ultimately, there isn't a performance here that isn't drenched with passion and a true stylist's sense of invention. This isn't a reverential recording; it's authoritative; she makes these songs her own.
"Bring It On Home" carries Osborne's mature voice in way that's never been heard on her studio recordings, making it stand head and shoulders above them.
Her abilities as a song stylist and interpretive singer prove she is an extension of these traditions, not merely a torch bearer for them. T. Jurek


Here We Go
Here We Go
Price: 16.18

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy on the ear., 22 Mar 2012
This review is from: Here We Go (Audio CD)
The follow-up to 2009's "Good Day", Peter White's 13th studio effort, 2012's "Here We Go", features more of the adept smooth jazz guitarist's lyrical and lightly funky cuts.
Sticking primarily to his acoustic nylon-string guitar, White mixes in keyboards, various percussion instruments, saxes, and horns to create various moods throughout with the primary vibe being one of relaxed joy.
To these ends, we get the steamy R&B-infused cut "Time Never Sleeps", the languid instrumental pop of "Our Dance", and the club-ready dance number "Joyride".
Adding to the sophisticated aura of the album are guest appearances by such artists as David Sanborn, Andrew Neu, and Kirk Whalum. M. Collar

The album debuts at # 4 of the Billboard Jazz Albums Chart.
Issue date: 31 March, 2012

Good Day


Hollywood
Hollywood
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 11.01

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They play it pretty straight..., 27 Dec 2011
This review is from: Hollywood (Audio CD)
The 21st-century Andrews Sisters make their fourth outing into swing, big band and boogie-woogie, this time with a silver-screen theme and added grooming from the Mad Men styling team.
With the exception of a bluegrass take on "Get Happy", the Sisters play it pretty straight with their spot-on swooning harmonic arrangements, lashings of brassy sass and Gene Krupa-style drumming, though there is mischief in their voices during "I Feel Pretty" and a playful musical saw solo in an otherwise faithful "Moon River".
It's a thin line between tribute and pastiche and The Puppini Sisters walk it in their kitten heels. F. Shepherd.

Mad Men - Complete Season 1 [DVD]
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2011 6:23 PM GMT


Wicked Game
Wicked Game
Price: 5.46

19 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty much the same, same stuff., 28 Nov 2011
This review is from: Wicked Game (Audio CD)
** and 1/2 stars.
If Il Divo's fifth album, "Wicked Game", sounds no markedly different than their previous four, it all comes down to this: there's only so much that can be done with the quartet's operatic pop.
The innovation was the minting of the formula: once it's in place, new casts can be struck from the same mold, and so it is with "Wicked Game".
Il Divo divide their time between soft pop standards like Roy Orbison's "Crying", Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", and Chris Isaak's title track and poppified classical, both reaching the same slickly bombastic yet never overwhelming middle ground.
No new converts will be made but no fans will be alienated either -- both are a byproduct of delivering the expected. S.T. Erlewine
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 28, 2011 2:38 PM GMT


Motions Of Love
Motions Of Love
Price: 12.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It leans more toward adult contemporary R&B than Smooth Jazz., 28 Nov 2011
This review is from: Motions Of Love (Audio CD)
"Motions of Love", Maysa's fourth Shanachie album and first since 2008's "Metamorphosis", leans more heavily toward adult contemporary R&B than smooth jazz.
There are fewer flutes and silky guitars, while tasteful dancefloor grooves that recall mature, early-'80s R&B and crossover jazz are more common.
It's a freer sound for the singer, who sounds reinvigorated -- evidently attributable to a breakup she was experiencing while recording -- and more like the offspring of Patti Austin than before.
Stevie Wonder wrote and guests on harmonica and discreet background vocals on "Have Sweet Dreams", unsurprisingly one of the album's standouts.
Best tracks: "Come Dance With Me", "Day n Night", "Have Sweet Dreams". A. Kellman

Metamorphosis


Conversations with Christian
Conversations with Christian
Price: 14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is easily one of his most compelling albums., 28 Nov 2011
"Conversations with Christian" is an unusual release, as it features the veteran bassist playing duets with a number of good friends.
The vocal meetings include Angélique Kidjo, Sting, and Dee Dee Bridgewater (the latter with a hilarious, funky cover of the Isley Brothers' signature song "It's Your Thing").
The pairings with musicians of McBride's generation (trumpeter Roy Hargrove, tenor saxophonist Ron Blake, and guitarist Russell Malone) all exceed expectations.
There are several enjoyable duets with pianists, one featuring Latin jazz master Eddie Palmieri, a duo improvised tango by Chick Corea and the leader, plus an all too rare acoustic outing by the talented George Duke (who tears up the keyboard with his hard-charging "McDukey Blues").
But McBride's meetings with Dr. Billy Taylor (playing his beautiful "Spiritual" with some potent arco playing by the bassist) and the elegant, swinging meeting with the gifted jazz master Hank Jones ("Alone Together") remain moments to savor, as they are among the final recordings by the two jazz greats, both of whom died in 2010.
The last track is a funky blues just for laughs, with actress Gina Gershon joining the bassist by playing a Jew's harp, with lots of comic spoken exchanges between the two. Throughout it all, Christian McBride plays with the chameleon-like adaptability of a Milt Hinton or Ray Brown.
In the two-plus decades since arriving on the jazz scene, Christian McBride has demonstrated that he is a jazz master in the making, and this is easily one of his most compelling albums. K. Dryden


Immortal
Immortal
Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: 2.85

14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Go for the originals!, 21 Nov 2011
This review is from: Immortal (Audio CD)
A slick "redesign" by Kevin Antunes of Michael Jackson's greatest hits for the mash-up era, and the second major release since the singer's death, "Immortal" is also the soundtrack to a multimillion-dollar Cirque du Soleil extravaganza currently touring the world before it plonks down in Vegas.
Not much here is new: a few alternative takes (including a great one of "ABC") and some previously unheard studio banter.
The album tries to justify its bulky existence - two discs mixing together elements from 70 different recordings - with a series of grandiose sound effects, but they add little to a catalogue of music that has already been superbly produced. K. Fox
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2011 8:25 AM GMT


Concerto: One Night In Central Park
Concerto: One Night In Central Park
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 4.68

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Musis for the Mass..., 16 Nov 2011
In 2011, Bocelli made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
In September 2011, in a windy and rainy night, he performed in Central Park with the New York Philharmonic and guests including Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Chris Botti, and Bryn Terfel.
He is certainly good, not the greatest voice on the market but he has good manners and personality.
The problems with this recording start when he tries very hard with pop music with the usual, omnipresent suspects like Sellin' Dion and Bennett, who really do not help at all, instead they drag it deep down.
The overly sugary and safe arrangements are courtesy of arranger/producer/singer/hit-man supremo David Foster, who is the customery master of ceremonies in that kind of celebrities and superstars pairing events.
I do not agree with one of previous reviewers (..for the completist fans only).
I'd say the opposite: file this album under 'music for mass destruction' :-)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2011 6:09 PM GMT


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