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RSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas)
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George Jinda & World News
George Jinda & World News
Offered by OUT OF PRINT
Price: £10.36

Five APPEALING Stars! This is a great "smooth jazz", adult contemporary music performance by leader, composer and master percussionist George Jinda who is probably best know as the other half of the potent Grammy-nominated duo "Special EFX" along with guitarist and group originator Chieli Minucci: a duo that used occasional musical guests such as McCoy Tyner to fill out their ranks, although Jinda and Minucci performed alone at times to great acclaim. The music is mostly beautiful themes, latin beats, and deeper solo and group performances than the usual smooth jazz background music.

This group is called "George Jinda and World News" and consists of leader Jinda on percussion, Randy Roos on guitar and guitar synthesizers, Szakcsi on acoustic grand piano, and Gerald Veasley on electric bass. Guests include saxophonist Mark Johnson, drummer Lionel Cordew, vocalist Carol Vito, and Gabor Bado on acoustic rhythm guitar.

The 'best of the best' begins with the awesome lilting, latin-tempo "With A Message" that received airplay in Los Angeles back in the day. It features a beautiful main theme and endless vamps by Jinda, Szakcsi and some crucial Veasley moves that allow Szakcsi and Roos to create floating shimmering improvisations. "Springshot" is funky and smooth party music. The marvelous, uptempo "Luscious Rebecca" is dominated by the sound of a marimba but it's probably Roos' guitar synthesizer, with Veasley and Jinda really burning it up in the background. "It Could Have Been You" is a beautiful ballad written by Jinda and Szaksci with Roos and Szaksci creating gorgeous sensitive improvisations. "Mariella" is a beautiful fiery tribute composed by Randy Roos and excellently performed by the group with Szakcsi producing a flute/guitar effect from his synth, riding a 3-note group vamp. There are guest appearances by Johnson, vocalist Vito singing in unison with the instruments, and drummer Cordew on the lilting "Shelia's Caribbean Skirt". Jinda's tribute "For Miles" has Roos' synth imitating Miles' muted trumpet sound amid an eerie bass and percussion musical background. In all, a marvelous deep 'smooth jazz' album recorded in Jinda's native Budapest Hungary and in New York City, with George really cutting loose on his arsenal of percussion instruments in the background and great solo and background performances by the rest of the group. Highly Recommended. Five BLAZING Stars (JVC CD, 9 tracks. Time-47:42. George Jinda left the bandstand much too early in 2001 at age 60. )

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £2.49

"Live, Die, Repeat" is the Tom Cruise Sci-Fi film that was released as "Edge of Tomorrow" with "Live Die Repeat" as a tag line. In its second life as a DVD and on-demand rental movie from the usual TV and smart gadget outlets, LDR is the main title with EOT becoming the tagline. Cruise continues on his action hero path following his last "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" movie, as well as the crime fighter "Jack Reacher" and the futuristic "Oblivion" movies: all good but not great. But 'Live Die Repeat" is great, featuring Cruise as a non-combat US Army officer, Major William Cage, tasked with providing information and a face (along with the picturesque photo of Emily Blunt's Rita in full battle gear plastered all over London) to the human-alien conflict but is put on the front lines against his will. They are fighting a unique enemy and in the ensuing battle, Cruise is killed in the initial encounter as shown in the trailers, but somehow comes back to re-live the recent events, over and over. As matters proceed, we are introduced to Emily Blunt's Rita character, Bill Paxon's Master Sergeant Farell, and Brendan Gleeson's General Brigham, the enemy and its real intentions, as well as some peculiar traits that affect Cruise's perception of time. A really enjoyable SciFi film with some mind-boggling CGI, unique ships, dangerous weapons, and awesome battle gear. Adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel "All You Need Is Kill". Highly Recommended! Four and a half MARVELOUS Stars! (Amazon prime video: Time-1 hr and 54 minutes)

33 222 1 222 (Live) (1997 Digital Remaster)
33 222 1 222 (Live) (1997 Digital Remaster)
Price: £0.99

One of the outstanding performances of the Monterey Jazz Festival of 1966 was by the very large, unusually instrumented 20 piece orchestra of trumpeter, composer, arranger, and leader Don Ellis, one of the unsung heroes of jazz trumpet who was somewhat of a high note specialist and a thrilling improviser. The band also includes 4 additional trumpets, 3 trombones, 5 saxophones, 3 double bassists, 2 drummers, a conguero, and a pianist. On this exciting latin-tinged selection, Ellis and company pull out all of the stops on "33-222-1-222" which is both the song's title and the actual rhythmic beats, effectively counted out by the basses, drums and congas, featuring marvelous layered section work among the band's brass and reed instruments, a bizarre unison arco solo section which features all 3 bassists furiously bowing, and Elis creating a soaring, climatic trumpet solo above it all, ending with the band counting out the beat percussively, all earning a thunderous ovation from the crowd. Also recommended is the 12 minute "Concerto for Trumpet" track as well as the Hank Levy composed and arranged "Passacaglia and Fugue", all from the Pacific Jazz recording of Live at Monterey. Highly Recommended. Five MARVELOUS Stars! (1 digitally remastered MP3 track; Time-9:29.)

The Job: A Fox and O'Hare Novel
The Job: A Fox and O'Hare Novel
by Lee Goldberg
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £23.71

Four ENTERTAINING Stars! "The Job" is the latest addition to the well-received Fox and O'Hare novel series by best-selling author Janet Evanovich and novelist, screenwriter Lee Goldberg. The story lines have the ambience and pace of a Hollywood heist movie with an international theme. Beginning with FBI Special Agent Kate O'Hare tracking bank robbers in Tarzana, California, she is then directed to Nashville where her partner, master thief and con man Nick Fox, is accused of a very expensive heist there and in Europe. Complete with hot pursuits and daring escapes, Fox attempts to elude authorities while solving the crimes with O'Hare. But the action then switches to an elaborate Fox and O'Hare scam to catch a vicious international criminal. Along the way, we meet a number of uniquely-named Fox specialists including one key surprise addition, a sadistic body guard, impressive CGI use, picturesque locales that add a travelogue aspect, O'Hare as a conflicted FBI agent, and a wild ending to the novel that could easily be converted into a movie using Goldberg's script expertise. Some plot holes exist but they are swept aside by the speed of the action. A very enjoyable Fox and O'Hare novel that is Very Definitely Recommended. Four COMPELLING Stars! (305 pages. This novel was provided by NetGalley and reviewed in Kindle text and text-to-speech.)

Closeness LP (Vinyl Album) US A&M 1976
Closeness LP (Vinyl Album) US A&M 1976

Outstanding duo performances! This "Closeness" group of duets is one of double bassist Charlie Haden's best studio duo performances in a career of many outstanding sessions with some of the best musicians in jazz. Indeed, it is one of a number of duets Haden recorded with several of his musical friends over the years and shows once again Haden is a 'master of the jazz duet'. On this session, he selects four musicians for extended improvisations: pianist Keith Jarrett, altoist Ornette Coleman, harpist Alice Coltrane, and drummer Paul Motian. Alice being the surprise addition to this group of old musical friends and she more than holds her own within the musical context of the album, adding the unique sound of her harp figurations to the proceedings.

Jazz piano icon Keith Jarrett, Haden's longtime duo and trio associates, helps create a beautiful atmosphere for "Helen David", which is really a true musical love poem that is amplified by Haden's awesome, heartfelt written tribute to the influence of his wife in the liner notes. Haden's introductory bass statement is beautifully captured with all of the overtones and reverberations of his instrument in evidence. Jarret's lyrical inventiveness seems to beautifully embody the female being saluted by the song.

"O.C." is another tribute, this song dedicated to game-changing alto sax master and composer Ornette Coleman whose controversial quartet's world-shaking beginnings in 1959 immediately put Haden and the other quartet members on the musical map of the international jazz world. Listening to this awesome duet crosses 6 decades and suddenly we're back in the era of "The Shape of Jazz To Come" and "Change of the Century" (both pompous-sounding album titles that ring so true in the 21st Century). As Coleman's piercing alto and erudite improvisations are played out with and against Haden's high speed walking bass, it's almost as if Don Cherry with his pocket trumpet and drum meister Billy Higgins are just sitting out for a moment as Coleman and Haden take center stage in the 1960s. For any jazz fan, this is a marvelous highly-approachable 9 minute performance as Haden and Coleman demonstrate true musical empathy and inventiveness.

"For Turia" is composed for keyboardist and harpist Alice Coltrane, widow of tenor sax titan John Coltrane, who has become very visible and much-recorded as a keyboardist and harpist in the years following Coltrane's death. It has a decided Spanish influence in it's theme statement and features Alice's ethereal pizzicato single notes and showers of heavenly arpeggios with Haden's bass anchoring it all: his tremolo section, reminiscent of Ornette's "Free Jazz" is especially effective.

"For A Free Portugal" is a musical political statement by the socially-conscious Haden and begins with Haden addressing a crowd of jazz fans in Lisbon during a Newport Jazz Festival European tour and he gets loud applause. The cause here was against Portugal's dictatorship and its African colonies. Haden's basses joins forces with Paul Motian's potent drumming creating a unique setting that is later augmented with the chanting of Hoji ia Henda (sic), all of which is right in the free drumming ambience that Motian preferred after his days with Bill Evans. This album features three Hall of Fame members and an esteemed musician in a marvelous set of duo performances, some bright and some somber but always inventive and interesting. All compositions by Charlie Haden. Highly Recommended. Five DYNAMIC Stars! (4 tracks. Time-38:59. Vinyl LP. Produced by the renowned Ed Michel with extensive liner notes and photographs.)

Dead Drop
Dead Drop
Price: £1.92

This review is from: Dead Drop (Kindle Edition)
Verified Purchase
Four ADVENTUROUS Stars. "Dead Drop", an enjoyable spy novel by author Raymond Thorn with many intersecting storylines, begins in 2003 with a well-trained CIA surveillance team following a man through the streets of Central District Hong Kong: the results of this caper will come back to haunt the Agency for years. Gabriel Linden has been on the outs with "the Agency" but gets a chance at redemption using his own resourcefulness. With this backdrop, author Thorn takes the reader on a whirlwind international spy thriller in destinations such as Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Along the way we meet Amira, Shane, Garcia, determined and elusive killers, CIA hi jinks, breathtaking simultaneous pursuits, and many deadly situations. A few minor plot holes and fanciful scenes, but this novel is very interesting, has well-defined characters, and has an unusual, action-packed ending. Very Definitely Recommended. Four COMPELLING Stars. (271 pages reviewed in Kindle text and text-to-speech.)

Holzhaus 480 mL Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Drinking Flask Hydration Bottle Travel Tumbler
Holzhaus 480 mL Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Drinking Flask Hydration Bottle Travel Tumbler
Offered by Avantek UK
Price: £22.00

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT 480mL HOLZHAUS VACUUM THUMBLER, 14 Dec 2014
This Holzhaus black-colored cylindrical 480mL vacuum thermos bottle is advertised as a drinking flask, sports water hydration bottle, and travel tumbler, and it excels at keeping liquids hot or cold for up to 6 hours in all cases. It has a stainless steel, double-insulated interior and stands 9 1/2 inches high and 2 and 3/4 inches in diameter at the base, with a 5 inch long carry strap. It does fit standard vehicle cup holders as well as back packs and soft-side brief cases. It has a screw-on outer top which can also serve as a 104mL cup, with a screw-on white plastic inner stopper that has a 'push-open, push close' button that controls the gasket seal; It is not a drinking port, because the liquid comes out beneath it, but if it were, it would be even better for one-handed drinking on the go.

In testing, beginning with the 79.4˚C standard that some coffee drinkers prefer, the water was still hot at 59.4˚C 6 hours later, and still warm 12 hours later. Beginning at the 68.3˚C standard that other coffee drinkers prefer, again, the water was still hot at 52.8˚C 6 hours later.

Cold water testing starting at 2.78˚C was also excellent, losing only 5 degrees over 6 hours later @ 7.78˚C and was still a cool 12 degrees, 12 hours later. Adding in ice makes these cold water results even more impressive. In addition, the sides of the remained cool to the touch regardless of hot or cold contents.

This is an excellent, uniquely-constructed 480mL vacuum bottle available at a reasonable price. Highly Recommended. Five EXCELLENT Stars. (1-each 16 ounce Holzhaus Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Drinking Bottle. This item was provided for testing and an impartial review.)

Old Spice Wild Collection Wolfthorn Scent Body Wash 16 Fl Oz by Old Spice [Beauty]
Old Spice Wild Collection Wolfthorn Scent Body Wash 16 Fl Oz by Old Spice [Beauty]
Offered by M&E Store-USA
Price: £30.12

Four SURPRISING Stars! This Old Spice "WolfThorn" body wash is one of their most unusual fragrances from their "Wild Collection" of body washes and is advertised as "For Nocturnal Creatures". Definitely an acquired smell for targeted users and the target audience: women. With the "WolfThorn" name, one might expect a heavy musky fragrance, but that is not the case: more of a muted spicy and light smell, but long-lasting. As a body wash, it has a light blue color and is thinner and more fluid than most body washes, and it effectively cleans the skin.

As advertised, this product is more suitable for a night out than for day use and will definitely attract attention, reportedly especially liked by some women. Give it a smell test before buying because once used, others will undoubtedly know you are wearing it since it radiates beyond the personal space of the user. Not my choice for a body wash, but it cleans well and stands on its distinctive own, apart from the crowd of many body washes that smell alike, for those who want a different fragrance. Definitely Recommended for specific users looking for a change in fragrance. Four UNUSUAL Stars! (16 fluid ounce container of Old Spice WolfThorn body wash.)

Duo by H¨¦l¨¨ne Grimaud, Sol Gabetta (2012) Audio CD
Duo by H¨¦l¨¨ne Grimaud, Sol Gabetta (2012) Audio CD
Offered by Sam Books
Price: £17.91

An inspiring, enjoyable, powerhouse meeting between two award-winning highly-individualistic classical music superstars who consider their initial meeting as fateful, not coincidence. Hélène Grimaud (who is called "the earth" in their interview), one of the greatest interpretative classical pianists who experiences sound as colors, and star cello virtuoso Sol Gabetta ("the air"), famed for the nuanced, singing quality of her instrumental interpretations and her highly emotional playing, meld their 'earth and air' talents and personae into a marvelous musical duo. It began in 2011 in a joyful, fateful musical encounter that 'clicked' immediately. In a wide spectrum of musical tastes, they cover the duo compositions of Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Claude Debussy, and Dmitri Shostakovich, and this diverse program works wonderfully and has toured to great success. All performances are excellent and the 'best of the best' begins with the 'storm to calm' of the 'Finale' of Debussy's Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D Minor; the awesome beauty and virtuosity of the spellbinding 12 minute Shostakovich Allegro non troppo from the Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D minor, Opus 40; the fiery third movement of Schumann's 'Drei Fantasiestücke' (Three Fantasies), Opus 73 and the overpowering beauty of the familiar 14 minute Allegro non troppo and the 6 minute Allegro-Più presto movements of Brahms Sonata for Piano and Violoncello No 1 in E minor, Opus 38. Awesome Grammy-nominated performances by two great artists who form a dynamic duo of singular musical purpose. My Highest Recommendation! Five BRILLIANT Stars! (13 tracks; Time 73 minutes, 45 seconds. Booklet notes in English, German, and French. This recording won the 2013 ECHO Klassic award as the Chamber Music Recording of the Year in the 19th Century Music (Mixed Ensemble), category. Now available in vinyl/MP3.)

Concerto Italiano
Concerto Italiano
Price: £14.94

This review is from: Concerto Italiano (Audio CD)
FIVE INSPIRED Stars!! Illuminating, unique Italian concerto performances! With this recording, the baroque violin virtuoso Giuliano Carmignola continues his winning ways with premier performances of 3 rare violin concertos by late baroque period Italian violinists/composers: Domenico Dall'Oglio, Michele Stratico, and Pietro Nardini, as well as a concerto by Antonio Lolli. Recorded at the famed Gustav-Mahler-Saal, Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, in Dobbiaco/Toblach Italy, the sound is excellent. Coming off of two spectacular Vivaldi recordings with the Venice Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Andrea Marcon: first as an individual on Antonio Vivaldi: Late Violin Concertos (RV177 / RV222 / RV273 / RV295 / RV375 / RV191) - Giuliano Carmignola / Venice Baroque Orchestra / Andrea Marcon and then forming a great duo with Russian-born violin diva Viktoria Mullova (on her 1750 Guadagnini violin with gut strings, no less) on Vivaldi: Concertos for Two Violins, Carmignola now continues along his driven, inspired musical arc with this recording. He and the VBO meet the challenge with truly compelling performances.

The 'best of the best' of this recording begins with the violin concerto of Domenico Dall'Oglio, a virtuoso violinist & composer who spent decades in the musical service of the Russian imperial court. While the premier of this work shows he is thematically under the spell of Vivaldi, he departs from "the Red Priest" within each movement, giving Carmiognola a broad framework of personal music that is challenging and beautiful, especially both Allegro movements, that allow Carmignola to bring on bowed fireworks within the stately nature of the concerto, using the composer's own cadenzas. The prolific composer Michele Stratico was educated in Padua, Italy, becoming a musical associate of the famed Guiseppe Tartini. His "g-moll en sol mineur" concerto is a work of elegance and grace, unpublished during his lifetime, especially the Grave and the sparkling Allegro Assai third movement with its arresting double stops, surprise false ending, and crucial VBO support. Nardini's soaring Violin Concerto in G major is beautiful and charming, especially the Adagio movement. While of high quality, this concerto is not up to the standard of the other two premiers. Nardini demonstrates instead his capacity to write beautiful themes and orchestrations, which obviously inspire Carmignola's arabesques and cadenzas. For the icing on the cake, Carmignola includes sizzling performances of concertos by Antonio Lolli and, for some, a bonus one-movement Rondo Allegro by Giornovichi. These transitional period Italian concertos are wonderful performances by Giuliano Carmignola, Andrea Marcon and the VBO making this a very special 2010 recording. Hats off to repertoire consultant/editor Olivier Fourés whose musical forensics took him from California to Japan to Europe. Highly Recommended! Five ILLUMINATING Stars.
(This review is based on an iTunes digital download with digital booklet. Mr. Carmignola plays the 1732 "Baillot" Stradivarius violin. a' = 440 Hz.)

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