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Jazz Side Of The Moon - The Music Of Pink Floyd
Jazz Side Of The Moon - The Music Of Pink Floyd
Price: £15.66

5.0 out of 5 stars This moon is not made of cheese, 23 Aug 2014
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Tbis had to be bought just for the wackiness of the concept - organ jazz trio plays DSOTM - mmmmm Nice! Impossibly enough though it is actually truly excellent and wonderful. Played completely "live" as a trio in the studio (no overdubbing, no multi-tracking) it is a considerable feat of inventive, skillful and creative musicianship. The result is spacey and impressionistic, but suffiently grounded in a dream-like warping of the deeply familiar to avoid ever become overwhelmingly abstract. With so much jazz following a limited number of basic formats / conceptions, this provides a genuinely unique and refreshing listening experience.


12 Classic Albums: 1960-1962
12 Classic Albums: 1960-1962
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous Quantity of Very High Quality Jazz Music at a Bargain Price, 21 Jun 2014
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I paid £3.99 for this selection of 81 tracks. Number of minutes top notch jazz per penny earns this 5 stars easily. The 12 albums are as pictured, so I won't list them. They are actually from 1957 - 1962, but that's largely by the bye. The sound is perfectly fine as far as these ears can tell. You also get a nice variation of settings - some trio, some solo, one with trombone (Curtis Fuller), one with guitar and flute (Les Spann), some with tenor sax (including some early 'Trane), and one quintet with baritone (Pepper Adams) and trumpet (Blue Mitchell).

The only slight strangeness is that it is one track short of the complete 12 albums - the track "My Blue Heaven" is missing from the last album "When There Are Grey Skies" (although it's possible this wasn't on the original album release). This is available elsewhere online as single track downloads for completists (mind you downloading this two track as well increased my overall spend by about 10%!).


The Complete Recordings: 1956-1959
The Complete Recordings: 1956-1959
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot of completely wonderful music at an amazing price (but "complete" in what sense?), 24 May 2014
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This may or may not be all the vinyl that happened to be issued in those years, but that would just prove is what a rag-tag jumble of selections from many different sessions that was. I found it hard to piece together what I'd got once I'd got it, even with the wonders of the data that's out there on the internet. I think the end result is that what we have here is:
* Jazz Giants '56 (Complete Original 1956 Album - as pictured)
* Pres and Sweets (Complete Original 1955 Album - as pictured)
* Laughing to Keep From Crying (Complete Original 1958 Album - as pictured)

And then a selection from a number of sessions for Aladdin, Clef, Norgran etc. recorded from around 1945 to 1955. Plus one wild card of a live recording of Destination Moon from 1950(???)

That having been said, the sound quality is fine as far as these ears can discern, so what you have is an enormous amount of truly wonderful timeless music at a stupidly low price (don't believe anything you might read about Pres not being able to play towards the end - he could still tell a beautiful story through his unique Sax like no one else before or since, and what a story it was by then!).

So, if you're new to Pres and fancy immersing yourself in the glory of the man as featured in a small group setting, this is a pretty jolly good bet actually. If you've got a fair bit already you'll probably need to do some careful checking to see how much of this you have or haven't got already.


Shops
Shops
Price: £12.11

5.0 out of 5 stars THIS ALBUM IS TOTALLY UNIQUE AND AWESOME!!!!!, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Shops (Audio CD)
One of the great things on the planet. Just completely wonderful and unique. "Tobermory through a jazz prism". A jazz suite inspired by, yes, the shops of Tobermory.

The album was written, recorded and "toured" during a week-long visit to Tobermory. Each track is named after, inspired by (and was subsequently performed in) a different shop, often embellished by musical props from the shop, edited into "soundscapes", sometimes including snippets of conversation with the individuals that own and run each unique and individual establishment.

For example, "Tackle & Books" sells (wait for it) "tackle and books", as we learn from a montage of conversation and sound snippets, which includes a hilarious sham-philosophical discussion of how "tackle and books" in fact forms a fundamental categorisation of all matter

Don't hesitate, it totally works. Musically unfaultable - accessible, lively, and perfectly executed by a truly awesome trio of wonderful musicians, and brimming over with huge heart and love.

Sure, no doubt, it probably helps to be into jazz (or at least not prejudiced against it) to appreciate it at all, and to love it as deeply as I do you might also need a soft spot for Scotland and the Scots, and maybe a nostalgic yearning for unspoilt places, closer communities and simpler times. Or maybe, just maybe, its power is such that it could kindle such sentiments in anyone and everyone.

P.S. The Dave Milligan Trio's only other album (that I know of) - "Late Show" is also available and is also top-notch, though in a slightly more conventional jazz piano trio kind of way.


Echo's Bones
Echo's Bones
by Samuel Beckett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.79

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't fault it as an edition, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: Echo's Bones (Hardcover)
New postumous release anticipated with trepidation by this devotee. About as much footnotes as text, but you kind of need that with early Beckett, and they are admirable notes indeed - ludicrously well researched without being tiresomely prolix ("just the facts, Ma'm"). I'm finding it very interesting. It's like seeing Beckett put everything into a mix, which he would then spend his later works paring down and down. Compare the array of local colourful characters that parade before tbe be-fenced shade Belacqua, for example, to the minimalised derelict essences of humanity that do likewise before the later Unnameable. Definitely recommended for the thoroughly initiated. Not the place to start for the newbie though - please see my review of the Selected Works of Samuel Beckett if that is what you are looking for.


Bluebird
Bluebird
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply perfect, 11 April 2014
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This review is from: Bluebird (Audio CD)
I'm fairly confused as to why for so many years the world so singularly failed to hip me to the wondrous Ms Harris in general and to this album in particular. Well, I got there in the end.


Sonny, Please
Sonny, Please
Price: £17.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Stuff, 19 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Sonny, Please (Audio CD)
There is of course much debate about the relative merits of Rollins' more recent output, and as a huge, huge fan of his 50s and 60s classic period it took me a while to get used to the gruffer tone and non-classic-jazz musical style and production of his work since then. But once past that aural block it is obvious that the Grand Old Man of jazz and the world's greatest melodic improviser just gets better with age. Here he is in relaxed but lyrical form and in empathetic musical company and the results are movingly wonderful throughout.


La notte
La notte
Price: £13.51

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly beautiful and unhesitatingly recommended, 6 May 2013
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This review is from: La notte (Audio CD)
The official blurb says that this was recorded live, but if, like me, you are put off by the vast majority of live releases, don't worry. Perhaps the players are inspired to their glorious heights of emotional eloquence by the unseen and unheard audience (the best kind), but apart from that you wouldn't know it was a live recording at all. The sound is as gorgeous and meticulous as any ECM, there is no intrusive audience applause or, heaven forefend, "whooping" noises of any kind, and there certainly isn't any grandstanding by the players for the crowd.

While this is an ECM all-star cast (Andy Sheppard saxophones, Anja Lechner cello, Eivind Aarset guitars , Arild Andersen bass, Marilyn Mazur percussion, Ketil Bjørnstad piano), as you would expect from these class acts, this is no ego-jam - there is no competition, cutting or clashes of style, just a glorious never-ending flow of harmonious interchanges and musical empathy, bringing out the absolute best in absolutely everyone.

While Bjørnstad recordings are always beautiful, the varied instrumentation and changes of pace and intensity here means this recording sustains the interest more easily than many of his previous ECMs, such that the occasional Bjørnstad solo segments grab and hold the attention as forcibly as everything else on this wonderfully enjoyable album.

La Notte is one long musically integrated suite segmented into 8 parts, minimalistically entitled "I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII and VIII". The blurb tells us that it is "a salute to Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni". Once again, I'm afraid, I have to take their word for this, being entirely ignorant of such things (but piqued now to investigate further ...).

If you are an ECM aficionado, do not hesitate, purchase at once, this is a major work and a sheer joy.

If you are new to ECM, there could be no better place to dip your toes in the water and, while the cost of entry of an ECM album always makes it a tough speculative purchase decision, I feel sure that anyone that likes pensive, beautiful and atmospheric in music will fall in love with this immediately.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 22, 2013 11:18 PM BST


Way Out West
Way Out West
Price: £7.73

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just plain wonderful, 9 July 2012
This review is from: Way Out West (Audio CD)
Remarkable and enjoyable on any number of levels, this is mainly recommended because it is just such a joy to listen to.

Despite being in the theoretically sparse tenor trio format (with the great Ray Brown on bass and the great Shelly Manne on drums), it is actually highly accessible - possibly the ultimate example of Rollins' ability to create great jazz music from even the most quirky source material.

Everyone is in absolute top form, and they all play with a light but masterful touch, great humour, intelligence, endless invention and wonderfully creative interplay.

It is also wonderfully recorded / produced even by the super-high standards of Lester Koenig's Contemporary label - a benchmark for any acoustic jazz recording.

Rollins is in the middle of one of the greatest purple patches that any musician has ever had, which, following the release of Saxophone Colossus the previous year, saw, within the space of a year, the recording of this, The Sound of Sonny, A Night at the Village Vanguard and Freedom Suite, all of which are 100% essential albums in any jazz collection.

Good also to see all the available alternative takes included (all of which are interesting), but at the end, so as not to interfere with the enjoyment of the original album.


The Joe Harriott Story
The Joe Harriott Story
Price: £7.49

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent retrospective of a neglected genius, 1 Jan 2012
This 4 CD package is packed with nearly 4 1/2 hours of wonderful music. It includes a comprehensive and varied survey of studio recordings featuring Joe Harriott both as leader and featured soloist with other outfits, mainly the Tony Kinsey Quartet and Ronnie Scott Orchestra, on music mainly recorded and originally issued as EPs from February 1954 through to April 1960. It then adds to this the "Free Form" album originally recorded in 1961 for Jazzland and the 1967 "Swing High" album originally produced by Doug Dobell in 1967.

I won't repeat anything from the previous excellent review, which rightly points out that a lot of this music is available in other forms, the first 2 CDs in particular duplicating content from "Killer Joe", which at the time of writing is also available from Amazon either as double-CD or MP3 download.

While I can't vouch for the sound quality on Killer Joe, I can report that this package is up to the usual excellent Proper Box standards, as is the packaging, which includes the usual excellent booklet with informative potted biography and full discographical details of all the tracks. Plus, of course, for roughly the same price you get more than twice as much music ... Interestingly, too, Proper are now flirting with MP3 downloads which, at the time of writing, Amazon are offering as a bargain-price for a single-album download of all 54 tracks - saving another fiver or so over the CD package, but of course you miss out on the informative booklet, .... (Or, if you have much of this music already, you also have the options of single-track downloading to supplement what you already have, you can easily do the maths ...).

For those of you who don't know Joe Harriott's music, most of it might be characterised as top-notch British Bop, with Harriott's impassioned alto sound and thoughtful, increasingly original and technically excellent improvisation making it some of the best British jazz available. The exception to this description is the Joe Harriott Quintet "Free Form" album, which is a ground-breaking exercise in producing accessible and enjoyable jazz music without any set harmony or chord progressions. (Fear not, this is no angry, unstructured freak-out, but a series of thoughtful and carefully crafted group meditations and improvisations with different unifying themes). Harriott followed this up with the equally excellent (IMHO) album "Abstract", which is not included in this package but is separately available and is also highly recommended.

Incidentally, Harriott went on to lead a second major career innovation when he recorded three albums fusing jazz with Indian music. How a major jazz improviser with not one but two major ground-breaking musical innovations to his name could die in obscurity and remain largely forgotten and neglected ever since, instead of being a nationally and internationally heralded musical superstar, universally recognised for the genius that he undoubtedly was, is impossible to justify. The explanation probably lies in mass medias failure to promote and mass audiences failure to appreciate real jazz music, or indeed genuinely challenging music of any kind, plus the fact that British jazz is generally dismissed as a poor cousin of the US "genuine article". But even so, Harriott represents a mass musical oversight of unsanctionable proportions.

So, overall, for the quality and importance of the music, the quality of the sound and the packaging and for value-for-money, this has to get a 5 star rating. If you don't have this music already, you should get it. If you have a lot of it already, this give you options for acquiring the rest ... it's all good!


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