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Purple (Leeds)

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Price: £12.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metropolis is not a commercial exercise at all., 17 Sep 2012
This review is from: Metropolis (Audio CD)
Metropolis is not a commercial exercise at all.
It's like a pop symphony, extremely sophisticated, and exceptionally conceived and executed.
It is not MOR and that's the reason why it cannot be EVERYBODY's cup of tea.
Cincotti is an accomplished all-around music genius, with many facets and each album shows different aspects of his talent.
He's not Bublé, Connick, jr or....Rod Stewart.
And, like all geniuses ( or genii, if you wish), he will never be understood by his American contemporary audience.
This is a reason why Peter Cincotti feels more like at home in Europe, where he spends most part of his time. In Europe tastes are more varied and complex and people are ready for experiments.
In US the album dind't make a huge impact in a long term, but it was on the top of Jazz chart for three or four weeks!
Metropolis has just been released in UK: we will see how it will perform there in terms of public and critic's reaction and in sales. Eventually, and I really do hope so, the album will be re-released in US like " HUGE HIT in Europe"...And the Americans will embrace it, finally and unconditionally... This has happened already many times in the past, for movies and albums.
It would have been so easy for Peter to go for the beaten path, pick up the usual hit man/producer Foster ( named by Rolling Stone magazine the "master of ... bombastic pop kitsch") and make another easy-listening jazz 'covers' album...
Instead, this time he chooses to do things the hard/unusual way.
Thank you, Peter.
The album is a real gem.
P.S. By the way, who said that he has stopped doing jazz? Jazz is in his DNA. He is only 29 year old, goodness me!
Simply he will make it again, when he will feel it and will intend to make it.

What Matters Most - Barbra Streisand Sings The Lyrics Of Alan & Marilyn Bergman
What Matters Most - Barbra Streisand Sings The Lyrics Of Alan & Marilyn Bergman
Offered by iAlpha Technologies
Price: £1.74

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As always she sounds simply wonderful !, 22 Aug 2011
Barbra Streisand is without a doubt a global icon.
Conquering Broadway, film and music, Streisand has inspired thousands of people worldwide.
More recently her influence has been showcased through the character of Rachel Berry on Glee, with many of her songs being performed on the show. Her last album, 2009's Love Is The Answer, topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and now Streisand is back with her 33rd studio album "What Matters Most".
It is a collection of songs by Streisand's longtime friends Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
Over the years Streisand has recorded many of their songs including "Papa Can You Hear Me?", "The Way We Were" and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".
What Matters Most is a two-disc release which features one disc of new recordings and a second disc of Bergman songs that Streisand has already recorded.
Opening with "he Windmills Of Your Mind" Streisand immediately demands your attention by singing the intro without any music allowing her voice to grab you. The song perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the record as lush instrumentation combine with Streisand's distinctive and powerful voice.
The gorgeous "Something New In My Life" is an early highlight as Streisand showcases vocal restraint before unleashing her true ability.
Elsewhere on the record she tries out a bit of light jazz on the smooth "So Many Stars" and the more upbeat "That Face", proves she can still wrap her tonsils around a ballad on the powerful "I'll Never Say Goodbye" and showcases her remarkable control on "Alone In The World".
Favourite moment comes on the gorgeous "Solitary Moon". Streisand's voice is soothing as the gently lilting beat moves the song along. You can see where Sade got her inspiration from when it comes to easy listening but soulful music.
The second disc features a further 10 songs taken from Streisand's career over the years. You probably wouldn't realise how many Bergman songs she's actually recorded over the length of her career. Alongside her most famous recordings which we mentioned earlier, Streisand also tackles "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?", "After The Rain" and "The Island".
What Matters Most isn't likely to open Streisand's music up to the younger generation (unless it's covered on Glee of course) but it'll make her core demographic very happy.
As always Streisand sounds simply wonderful on each of these songs and her recordings are considered and passionate.
"What Matters Most" may not be the coolest but it sure is gorgeous. P. Ellwood

It Happens Quietly
It Happens Quietly
Price: £12.94

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, pure and simple., 20 Aug 2011
This review is from: It Happens Quietly (Audio CD)
Jacqui Dankworth is the daughter of Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine and without too much fuss (given her lineage) she's now regarded as one of the UK's premier jazz voices and this new 12 tracker won't do that reputation any harm at all.
Jacqui has made the aptly-titled album as homage to her father.
He died in February 2010, but despite his failing health he worked on the arrangements and contributed two songs - the haunting title cut and 'The Man'. For the latter, producer Tony Platt inserted a sax solo which John had recorded some years ago and it perfectly matches the key and tempo Jacqui uses on the song.
In essence, it's Sir John's last performance on record.
Though 'The Man' and 'It Happens Quietly' are "new" songs they dovetail beautifully with the rest of the material - standards all.
Jacqui eschews all flamboyance and allows her purity of tone to underline the classic beauty of material like 'A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square', 'At Last', 'I'm Glad There's You' and 'The Folks who Live On The Hill'.
Throughout she's supported by some stellar performances - notably from her bassist brother, Alec, and sax man Tim Garland.
The live strings (contracted by Sally Herbert) add just the right amount of elegance and refinement and the package is completed with some touching, personal notes from Rod Argent.
It's clear that the Dankworth dynasty is entering a new phase. B. Buckley

The Main Ingredients
The Main Ingredients
Price: £13.45

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern soul at its best!, 12 July 2011
This review is from: The Main Ingredients (Audio CD)
Sadly too many great British musicians and bands (across all kinds of genres) are more revered in the States than they are at home.
The wonderful Down to The Bone are a case in point. Stuart Wade and his cohorts have been making their infectious brand of groove-heavy soulful jazz-funk since the mid nineties yet here in the UK their charms are known only to a small, committed number of fans. In the States, though, it's a different matter. There, they're followed by a huge numbers of devotees and back in 1999 they were the country's best selling independent jazz artists while their sound-defining 'From Manhattan To Staten' went to number 2 on the Billboard Jazz Charts.
"The Main Ingredients" is the DTB's ninth studio album and I'm confident that this will be the one to enlarge their UK fan base. My confidence stems from the fact that the album contains two stunning vocal tracks. The band don't often "do vocals" ( I can think of their Hil St Soul collaboration, 'It Should've Been You') but here they've come up with two corkers - 'Watch Me Fly' and 'Closer', both featuring Imaani.
The former, which has a lovely Latin feel to it, boasts a strong melody line which perfectly suits the singer's passionate style; the latter is more of a structured groove than a "proper" song, but it's done gorgeously and should please the more adventurous modern soul crew... and that's my point.
Many of the UK modern soul crowd are notoriously "conservative" and seem to have some kind of in-built resistance to instrumentals. Here the Imaani vocals should help them get into the rest of the album, and appreciate Down To The Bone if full flow.
Then, they'll discover the lucid, sharp clarity of 'Uptown Hustle' - a typical DTB groove; then there are the looser, jazzier sounds of 'A Change Has Got To Come' and 'Second Nature'. 'Music Is The Key' is more laid-back and built around a catchy piano figure while 'A Universal Vibe' slows things down just a little and as the title implies the tune offers some delicious, almost hidden vibraphone.
But then again, each track - though true to the Down To The Bone signature sound - boasts a little intrigue... adding to the album's attractions. B. Buckley

Offered by MEGA Media FBA
Price: £9.38

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He draws from a diverse sonic color pallet, expansive yet simple.., 21 Jun 2011
This review is from: Mediterraneo (Audio CD)
Milos Karadaglię is 28.
At the age of 8 Karadaglię knew exactly what he wanted to do, play the guitar.
Winning his first national competition at age 11 and studying at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London at age 17, this rising star is signed and set to release his debut recording on the legendary Deutsche Grammophon label.
When one thinks of the finest classical guitarists ever names such as Segovia, Bream and John Williams immediately come to mind.
In 2005 Milos Karadaglię was awarded the Julian Bream Prize ( awarded by Bream himself ).
Just a hint of things to come.
"Mediterraneo" is far more than a showcase for the "greatest hits" of classical guitar literature.
This stellar release is an artistic triumph allowing Karadaglię to express his artistic genius along with his respect for his cultural heritage and influences growing up in the Balkans.
The material included ranges from arrangements of Spanish folk songs and the famous works of Granados to contemporary pieces by Mikis Theodorakis and the brilliant Italian guitarist-composer Carlo Domeniconi.
An intriguing aspect to "Mediterraneo" is that many of the pieces included were originally written for piano but sound completely natural on the guitar.
Karadaglię draws from a diverse sonic color pallet, expansive yet simple.
Milos Karadaglię is an artist that is comfortable in his own skin.
He understands his past, welcomes his future all while maintaining a humble sense of self and deep respect for his instrument and where it will lead him.
An artistic triumph. B Black

Price: £13.16

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another absorbing effort from the talentes Japanes acoustic pianist/electro keyboardist., 20 Jun 2011
This review is from: Voice (Audio CD)
Some jazz musicians aren't documented nearly as much as they should be; one could write a book about all the talented improvisers who made it to 60 or 65 without ever recording an album, or even being featured as a sideman on someone else's album.
But Hiromi, thankfully, has been recording frequently ever since she emerged in the early 2000s, and she has been wise enough to record in a variety of settings.
Hiromi has recorded unaccompanied, as well as in duos and trios; she has played in both electric groups and acoustic groups, and she has provided straight-ahead post-bop as well as fusion.
"Voice" is best described as an electro-acoustic effort that is more post-bop than fusion but has its rock-influenced moments.
Forming a trio with Anthony Jackson on electric bass and Simon Phillips on drums, Hiromi is heard on both acoustic piano and electric keyboards but pays more attention to the former.
And while this 2010 recording may not be ideal from the perspective of a rigid jazz purist or a bop snob, Hiromi's outlook is very much the outlook of a jazz improviser>
The fact that she, Jackson, and Phillips bring some rock muscle to some of the material doesn't negate that.
Hiromi is undeniably imaginative on an intriguing performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minus, Opus 13", aka "Sonata Pathétique", which goes back to 1798.
Or course, there was no jazz in Beethoven's time; if one agrees that jazz started when cornetist Buddy Bolden formed his first band in New Orleans in 1895, then jazz was a little over 100 years away from being created when Beethoven composed "Sonata Pathétique".
But Hiromi has no problem bringing Beethoven's piece into the jazz world of the 21st century: she is no less an improviser on Sonata Pathétique than she is on free-spirited originals such as "Labyrinth", "Flashback," "Delusion" and "Now or Never".
The Hiromi/Jackson/Phillips trio might display more rock muscle on some tracks than they do on others, but rock muscle or not, this 66-minute CD never loses its jazz mentality.
Voice is yet another absorbing effort from this capricious acoustic pianist/electric keyboardist. A. Henderson

What's It All About
What's It All About
Price: £7.61

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars While re-imagining familiar material, he retunrs to his roots. Extremely enjoyable., 20 Jun 2011
This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
For many jazz fans, listening to Pat Metheny can be both a rewarding and frustrating experience.
As a teen guitarist for legendary vibe player Gary Burton, Metheny played contemporary jazz with a hint of fusion. By 1977, the young prodigy branched off to form his own band, recording a series of albums that sometimes verged ion new age territory, and even dabbled in the avaunt-garde (most notably with 1994's baffling experiment Zero Tolerance of Silence). Often he crossed into the rock world, recording with David Bowie for the 1985 film Falcon & The Snowman The [DVD] (their collaboration, "This Is Not America," still proves haunting).
n recent years, beginning with 2003's Grammy-winning "One Quiet Night:, Metheny has returned to his roots, namely playing acoustic guitar with minimal production.
His latest album, "What It's All About", continues in this vein, showcasing his considerable finger-picking skills and ability to reinterpret classic songs.
Although sometimes verging into "smooth jazz" territory, the album's delicate renditions of The Beatles, The Stylistics, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and many more proves a mainly enjoyable listen.
For the new album, Metheny selected songs that influenced him in his formative years, and the tracks range from rock to jazz to folk. Although the tunes have been covered by many artists--"The Sound of Silence," "Slow Hot Wind," and "And I Love Her," to name a few-Metheny manages to make them his own.
"The Sound of Silence" is accentuated by Asian elements, while "Betcha By Golly, Wow" benefits from a jazz makeover. This standout track effectively highlights Metheny's superior abilities as a guitarist and arranger, often straying from the original melody to take the R&B classic in new directions.
The sultry "Slow Hot Wind" is stripped down to its bare elements, allowing audience to hear the melody and beautiful chord changes.
A Henry Mancini staple, the song also known as "Lujon" evokes images of steamy beaches in Brazil. Metheny continues his obvious affection for Brazilian jazz with Jobim's "Garota de Ipanema" (Portuguese for "The Girl from Ipanema"), although his sleepy interpretation does not do justice to the melody and the important exotic rhythms that make the song a everlasting favorite.
Other highlights include his jazzy makeover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David gem "Alfie"--once again, Metheny's version removes the song of its lyrics and original production to lay bare the melancholy, sophisticated aspects of the 1960s classic.
Many artists have covered The Beatles' catalog, but Metheny's "And I Love Her" is a lovely addition to the list. His intricate finger-picking spotlights the track's Spanish flair, and does not stray too far from the original's structure.
However, he does expand upon the bridge, adding touches to the melody and astounding the listener with his complicated solos.
While "What It's All About" maintains a mellow mood, he departs from the tone with "Pipeline," an offbeat choice for a jazz guitarist. Originally recorded by the 1960s group The Chantays, the song's lightning fast guitar riffs and overall spooky tone signaled the emergence of "surf rock," later perfected by The Ventures and Dick Dale.
While Metheny does retain the track's rhythmic guitar work, he lends the song a Spanish spin with his six-string acoustic guitar work.
While it bears only a passing resemblance to the original, it demonstrates how rock can overlap with jazz, as it does often in Metheny's music.
I lost track of Metheny after 1990's Still Life (Talking), which produced the new age track "Last Train Home.
"Still" a staple on smooth jazz radio, it showed that while Metheny certainly had the guitar chops, he still had the tendency to lean toward meandering tunes that (contrary to the song title) simply went nowhere.
But "What It's All About" marks a welcome return to his jazz roots, even if it sometimes seems too laid-back. Metheny's skill in re-imagining familiar material, rather than simply copying the originals note-for-note, is indeed impressive and should attract his original fans who may yearn for a simpler, more intimate portrait of the artist.
My peaks: "Cherish", "That's The Way I Have Always Herd It Should Be", "And I Love Her", "Betcha by Golly, Wow". K O'Toole
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