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Profile for Michael GILCHRIST > Reviews

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Michael GILCHRIST (Creswick, Australia)

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Waghalter:New World Suite [Alexander Walker, New Russian State Symphony Orchestra] [NAXOS: 8573338]
Waghalter:New World Suite [Alexander Walker, New Russian State Symphony Orchestra] [NAXOS: 8573338]
Price: £7.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Lost" Musical Treasure Discovery, 2 Oct. 2016
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This CD contains some of the most enjoyable music I have encountered from the many "lost" composers one keeps discovering via amazon. Had Waghalter migrated to the US in the early 20th century he would surely have rivalled his contemporaries like Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Sigmund Romberg. His melodies on this recording are every bit as appealing as the compositions of these and other operetta and Broadway composers of the golden age of American music. Added to this we have Waghalter's orchestral mastery that sounds as richly appealing as any of Tchaikovsky's ballet writing.
One can only hope that many more gems from this cruelly neglected composer are brought to light soon.


The Tour - Volume One
The Tour - Volume One
Price: £12.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goose Bump Jazz, 29 Sept. 2016
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This review is from: The Tour - Volume One (Audio CD)
Woody Shaw's On Tour is one of the most exciting take-no-prisoners jazz albums I've ever heard. I own most of Woody's studio and live albums and On Tour is one of his very best. Woody's effortless improvising and distinctive style place him among history's greats on the instrument, underlining the tragedy of his untimely death at 45. He kept the torch of modern, straight ahead, swinging jazz alight in difficult times.
On Tour, I hope, will be just the first of many to follow up the earlier outstanding HighNote series of Woody Shaw: Live.
It's hard to believe this recording is 40 years old. It could easily have been made yesterday as the sound quality is excellent. All the band members excel as well, especially the unsung Junior Cook.
This is truly goose bump jazz, like the 1956 Ellington at Newport.


George Gershwin: An American In Paris, Concerto In F
George Gershwin: An American In Paris, Concerto In F
Price: £14.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Gershwin at last, 27 Sept. 2016
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The late Ed Jablonski, author of the definitive biography of George Gershwin, described New York based conductor of Harmonie Ensemble/New York, Steven Richman, as “the finest Gershwin interpreter around, barring none”.
This observation was based on a series of Gershwin concerts that Steven Richman conducted at the Lincoln Centre some years ago. The concerts encompassed Gershwin’s complete orchestral works in their rarely heard original orchestrations which Richman found through extensive research.
There is no doubt that Jablonski, had he lived beyond 2004, would have reinforced his praise on the basis of Richman’s three albums containing Gershwin works: Symphonic Jazz: Ferde Grofé & George Gershwin (2006); Gershwin by Grofé (2010); and the current album, George Gershwin: An American in Paris and Concerto in F.
In every instance, the Gershwin pieces are definitive versions, immaculately performed by the cream of New York’s musicians, and in their original, uncluttered orchestrations, exuding the atmosphere of the Big Apple.
After countless hearings of An American in Paris and Concerto in F over the years, one now encounters them as if for the first time. As with the earlier albums, especially the remarkable Gershwin by Grofe, one is transported back to Gershwin’s 1920s New York but enabled to enjoy the music in pristine sound and with flawless musicianship.
It is a tribute to both the conductor and musicians that such authentic sounds have been produced with these masterpieces brought back to life just as their composer intended, free of subsequent misguided accretions.
Particular praise is due to the outstanding work of pianist Lincoln Mayorga who has teamed so successfully with Steven Richman over the years.
The icing on the cake is provided by the first recordings of the 1931 radio version of the Overture to “Of Thee I Sing” and the Roy Bargy orchestrations of Gershwin’s Three Preludes.
No matter how many versions of these Gershwin classics you might own, Steven Richman’s new album is a must purchase.


And The Concert Jazz Band Santa Monica 1960 (2CD)
And The Concert Jazz Band Santa Monica 1960 (2CD)
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £21.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Mulligan Treasure, 2 Dec. 2015
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Anyone familiar with the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band will need no urging from me to snap up this very welcome Fresh Sound double CD release. The band's complete concert at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 1 October 1960 is attractively packaged and enjoys excellent sound thanks to the work of the legendary Wally Heider. Only six of the 16 tracks (not counting the three brief versions of the theme) were previously released on the wonderful Mosaic set of all the Verve sessions from 1960-63. Given the relatively few recordings of this famed big band this release is indeed a treasure and highly recommended.


A Drum is a Woman (Mini LP Sleeve)
A Drum is a Woman (Mini LP Sleeve)
Price: £14.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ellington Mixed Bag, 28 Oct. 2015
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A Drum is a Woman is like the curate's egg being very much a mixed bag. It was performed by one of the best ever editions of the Ellington Orchestra so it has plenty going for it, given the great solo power of the individual band members, However, it suffers from Ellington's serious limitations as a lyric writer that were evident throughout his long career, most notably in his later highly overrated Sacred Concerts. With rare exceptions the Ellington lyrics are banal, even infantile. One often wishes the singers were sent home and the band left to play as the lyrics too often detract from the maestro's great tunes and arrangements.


Blue Rose
Blue Rose
Price: £19.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Ellington-Clooney Classic, 28 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Blue Rose (Audio CD)
Blue Rose is without doubt the most successful Ellington vocal album (as distinct from the individual efforts of Ivie Anderson with the Band from 1932-1942) and certainly one of Rosemary Clooney's better recordings. In my opinion Blue Rose, with its more compatible arrangements and superior sound, is preferable to the disappointing Ella Fitzgerald Verve set where the whole proved to be less than the sum of the parts. The reverse is true of Blue Rose. One can only wish that Ellington and Clooney had been paired more often as this album is a classic.


From the Southland Cafe, 1940
From the Southland Cafe, 1940
Price: £14.44

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Release, 28 Oct. 2015
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This is a very disappointing release that provides only portions of the original available live materials. Below par sound quality and album time mean this early CD release is not recommended even for the completist Basie and Ellington collectors. Definitely give this one a miss.


Oscar Peterson Trio - The Berlin Concert [DVD] [2007]
Oscar Peterson Trio - The Berlin Concert [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Oscar Peterson
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £10.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Peterson Power, 28 Oct. 2015
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This Berlin concert is an ideal companion to the excellent Jazz Icons DVD of the classic Oscar Peterson Trio with Brown and Thigpen that covers the 1963-1965 period. It has the added advantage of being in colour while the sound quality and camera work are spot on. Twenty years on Peterson swings as mightily as ever with this late edition of his trio, this time with strong support from N.H.O.P. and Martin Drew. This power-packed concert is an essential addition to any jazz collection.


Lunceford Special 1939-1940
Lunceford Special 1939-1940
Offered by Smaller World Future
Price: £83.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missed Opportunity, 16 July 2015
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Lunceford Special contains some of the band's best recorded performances from the 1939-1940 period and is an ideal introduction to their work. I would have awarded five stars except for the rather stingy timing of the album at just under one hour. It's a case of a missed opportunity as another five titles at least could have been accommodated. The highly recommended Jimmie Lunceford Mosaic 7 CD set of all the Decca recordings made from 1934-1945 has a gap between 1938 and 1941 when the band recorded for Columbia. While one is grateful to have this gap partially filled and in marvellous sound quality, it is a pity that more of the missing pieces weren't included. Perhaps Mosaic should consider one of their 3 CD Select sets to cover this period more fully.


Plays for Dancing - Holiday Inn Chicago (2CD)
Plays for Dancing - Holiday Inn Chicago (2CD)
Price: £15.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Woody Herman Treasures, 11 Jun. 2015
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Woody Herman's 1960s Swingin' Herd was arguably one of his best outfits, worthy to be bracketed with the legendary First Herd for sheer drive and solo power. This recent generously filled double CD is a most welcome addition to the Swingin' Herd's discography. Unlike the other commercial live releases which catered mainly for jazz fans (as at Basin Street West) this one finds Woody toning down his "take no prisoners" style for mainstream dancers at the Holiday Ballroom in Chicago in 1964. While there are a few flagwavers like Cousins and Caldonia, generally the tempo is relaxed and laid-back. The sound is surprisingly good, apart from a few rough starts to tracks, due no doubt to flaws in the original tapes. What makes this release especially worthwhile is that around half of the 40 or so tunes are not to be found on any previous releases of the Swingin' Herd, although some are from the earlier 1950s Third Herd book, such as Midnight Sun, Buck Dance and Stardust. Real rarities include One O'clock Jump, Misty and Tea for Two Cha Cha Cha.
One criticism is that the album information is deficient in places, as any hardcore Herman fan like this writer would note. For example, in track one Wailin' in the Woodshed is missed, while the Unknown Instrumental is actually Why You. The second version of Jazz Me Blues is in fact Muskrat Ramble and the second Satin Doll is Hefti's L'il Darlin'. But aside from these quibbles this is an excellent release and all Herman and big band fans should grab this collection of Herman treasures while it is still around.


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