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Graham Chapman (UK)

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The Perfect Miles Davis Collection
The Perfect Miles Davis Collection
Price: £40.49

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Value, 7 April 2012
Never quite sure who something like this box set is aimed at. Chances are most Miles or Jazz fans will have quite a number of these albums. For someone who doesn't, shelling out £40 might be too much and 20 albums is a bit overwhelming anyway. Nonetheless it does represent excellent value. If you just have a couple of Miles's albums like Sketches of Spain or Kind of Blue, this collection would be worth getting for other great records like Miles Smiles, Nefertiti and Filles de Kilimanjaro. But there isn't an album in the whole collection one wouldn't want to play.

Just one other comment. The emphasis is on Miles's middle and later albums. Fair enough, but, personally, I love the Prestige records and a truly 'perfect' collection would include more of these works.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2013 9:33 PM GMT


Bags' Groove
Bags' Groove
Price: £6.32

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, 7 April 2012
This review is from: Bags' Groove (Audio CD)
Not mixed, as in good and bad, just different styles on the one record. I was given an original copy of this for a birthday present once (at some rip-off price from a Soho jazz record shop), but its a lovely record nonetheless. Bags Groove is wonderful if you like the vibraphone; but not everyone does. There are plenty of people who like Miles, but associate vibraphone music with bad 50s films. I would disagree, but it is an acquired taste.

The other tracks, in particular Oleo, bounce along and make you feel like heading off to some cocktail bar to meet a woman (where it not that your wife might object). I would recommend this album - and indeed all of Miles Prestige albums - as being a great purchase to those with curiosity in early Miles. (Jazz lovers will already possess them.)


Blue Haze
Blue Haze
Price: £5.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles ahead, 7 April 2012
This review is from: Blue Haze (Audio CD)
I guess I am in no way qualified to review jazz. Another reviewer suggests that Miles is 'hesitant' and 'reading' in his playing of 'When Lights are Low'. It must take some confidence to say that. I remember first hearing this on a cassette someone made me with this album (and 'Bags Groove' - another brilliant early Miles album, if you like the vibraphone). It was 'When Lights are Low' that first made me pay attention to Miles - and to some extent jazz in general. A lovely romantic piece that sends the mind bouncing along, like many of Miles's records do. 'Blue Haze' (the track) seems to tell a story, maybe a John Cheever one, or one of your own. I like its narrative feel.

It's useful to know who played what and when and what happened, but its the lyricism and the optimism of Miles's 50s records that make them still matter all these years later. Jazz buffs know what to buy, but, for anyone else reading, this is a wonderful record. Buy it and stay miles ahead.


Savage Night (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Savage Night (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Jim Thompson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip, 31 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pulp dressed as literature or vice versa. Enjoy another Thompson road trip in the company of a sociopath. I liked the beatnik feel and the druggy mind-trip interludes. Maybe not as tightly plotted as some of his others, but so what? Thompson, like Philip K Dick, creates psychic landscapes that corrupt something in your brain.

Best taken with whisky and a smoke. Great cover to this edition btw. See you at the farm.


The Wicked Lady [VHS] [1983]
The Wicked Lady [VHS] [1983]
VHS
Offered by rdowns33
Price: £19.74

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Carry On Up the Highway, 19 Mar. 2012
Do you recall those Morecambe and Wise sketches based on little plays 'wot Ernie wrote'? Here is a whole film of comparable dialogue, drama and acting. For those who thought Sir John Gielgud might most have been ashamed of his role in Caligula, here surely is a film far more embarrassing to have on the actor's CV.

Michael Winner, England's very own Ed Wood, takes on a period romp and the result is almost a text book case of rotten film-making. Every shot seems to fail on some level - too close, too far, strangely framed, oddly lit. As for the acting, well let's put the blame where it firmly belongs. After all, place Faye Dunaway in the hands of a maestro like Polanski and you get her performance in Chinatown. Sign her up with Michael Winner, however, and you get her hamming it up like an extra from a Carry On film. The dialogue I will leave you to discover and savour yourself.

The Wicked Lady is graded 18, because, at intervals suitable for the softcore pornographer of the 70s, there are episodes of revelry and accompanying shots of t and a. But whereas a good restoration play like the Country Wife is really very sexy, the Winner touch ensures even the prettiest girls romping about in the nude are stripped of eroticism.

I first watched the film as an adolescent, many years ago, free of any critical sensibility and grateful for some additional information on the opposite sex. It is a also a good film to watch if you are a connoisseur of Michael Winner films. Until The Games is re-released in some form- that wonderful story of Micheal Crawford trying to run a marathon in under 2 hours - the Wicked Lady will have to do. Currently available on VHS for about £20 or free on MGM films. Take your pick!


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £16.08

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mean and Moody, 18 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
I love this period of Miles - the reviews on the individual albums will rightly point up the musicianship of all involved, but I'm no musician. I would just add this is music to listen to on your own, with a lover, with a drink, with a hangover, lost in thought or without one in the world.

Bitches Brew is hard work, Kind of Blue you heard a million times before. If you don't know Sorcerer, Nefertiti or Kilimanjaro this package is great value. 3 terrific albums - as moody and beautiful as any Miles made to my ears. You can take this review to the bank.


No Title Available

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgraceful, 8 Jan. 2012
One of hundreds (thousands?) of books sold on Amazon that are put together from Wikipedia and other public sources and sold for ridiculous prices (of which Amazon obviously gets a part). If you are not aware of this dubious practice, you should be.

The disgrace is that Amazon provides a platform for it and,while it is presumably legal, it is a waste of money. Amazon doesn't seem to care enough about its customers or its own brand to refuse to allow these 'books' to be sold.


Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £10.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Politics, 5 Jan. 2012
Three albums from Gil's 'middle period' (is that a fair description?). For someone new to Gil Scott-heron, I would recommend starting with his earlier albums. There are very good songs in these three albums and the package is very good value for money, but he also made better albums too. However, I don't want to put people off, particularly those who like Gil. These are must-have albums.

Songs of love and politics, the pick of them for me would be:

Not Needed
Your Daddy Loves You (an interesting re-working)
Is That Jazz?
Morning Thoughts (a great mix of love and politics, in fact, and a dreamy start to any new day)
Blue Collar ('You can't name where I ain't been down' - great line!)

4 stars by GSH's standards. 5 stars by general standards. The man was an artist, up there in musical stature with his own heroes, if you ask me. RIP Gil.


Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany
Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany
by Stephen Sondheim
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £27.79

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And What A Beautiful Hat It Was!, 22 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Actually, the 'Sunday in the Park With George' poster was my first introduction to Sondeim, whilst working as a pizza boy in New York. I used to walk past it on the way to Godfather's pizza in Times Square. Never heard of him til then. The poster really caught the eye and although, sadly, I didn't have the money to see the show, I did eventually buy a cassette. I still have it today. Also, more recently, the DVD, which I watched with my daughter, back in London some twenty years or so later.

But you want to know about the book!

'Look, I Made a Hat' is as wonderful a book as the first volume. It is a pleasure, as a reader, to be in Sondheim's company and confidences. He is adept at sounding as if he is directly speaking with you, not as common a skill in writers as might be imagined. If you are interested in the thoughts and processes behind the shows it is engrossing. I felt somewhat like a young boy, making a rare visit to a favourite uncle, hanging on every word and precious opinion. Some critics have argued with Sondheim's essay on theatrical criticism and his views of other musical writers, but it's not necessary to agree with every opinion here to enjoy the book. Sondheim makes clear the openly subjective approach to the book in the extended title.

Another criticism I've read is that he is focused more on the inspiration behind the lyrics rather than the musicality. Perhaps, but I am happy to take this book for what it is rather than what it isn't. I would vote it one of the books of the year and warmly recommend buying it.

As with the first volume, the pleasure is to dip into it, tempting as it is to take a couple of days off work and read the whole lot. So far I've read through the Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and Road Show sections. Enjoyable as the recent Menier Factory production of Road Show was, the songs never stayed with me. As a read , though, the chapter on the show's development was very interesting.

I also had to look up Dick Tracy, one of the few comic-based films I have ever enjoyed. Sondheim writes about Madonna singing 'Sooner Or Later'(a beautiful song) : ' I thought it might be chance to make a hit record'. Alas! Not. It did, however, bring an unfamiliar burst of passion from the pop singer. It's one of the many admirable qualities of Sondheim's songs.

Finally, as I mentioned in the first paragraph my daughter, I have to say it's quite fun reading / singing some of the lyrics aloud as bed time story material with a child. 'Agony' a particular favourite of ours.


Curb Your Enthusiasm - Complete HBO Season 8 [DVD] [2012]
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Complete HBO Season 8 [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Larry David
Price: £6.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Larry in the Big Apple, 21 Nov. 2011
Larry David's comedy of pettiness and spite continues into series 8, but as other reviewers mention cracks are starting to show. The first couple of episodes were pretty, pretty dismal. Happily, the series picked up steam a bit and went out with a great finale (the Michael J Fox episode). I don't really think the move to New York was the problem as such, but the show does look a bit pleased with itself sometimes and the writing quality is not what it was, or, at least not as consistent. But some great guest appearances - Rosie O'Donnell, Michael J Fox and Ricky Gervais - and enough good episodes or routines to make it worth buying. Even a variable Curbs is streets ahead of most other comedies. But getting near the end? It should be.

Incidentally, for what it's worth, I think that long rambling review about Larry's age and young dates makes a reasonable point. There's a bit too much of Larry, the womaniser in this series for my taste. And maybe just a bit too much Larry altogether. How about a Jeff and Susie spin-off? Jeff taking the 'bullet' for Susie. That was outstanding!


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