Branford Marsalis: Renaissance
Branford Marsalis, tenor & soprano sax; Kenny Kirkland & Herbie Hancock, piano; Bob Hurst & Buster Williams, bass; Tony Williams, drums
CBS FC 40711 (LP). Dennis Ferrante, Bob Margoleff, Howard Siegel, engs.; Delfeayo Marsalis, prod. DDA. TT: 57:09
These are heady days for those who believe that jazz may have reached its height in the mid- to late '60s, before its disastrous 15-year romance with fusion. With such strong new talents as the Marsalis and Brecker brothers and Chico Freeman embracing the spirit of that time, and fusion-scarred veterans like Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson returning to the basics of acoustic trios, quartets, and quintets in recent recordings and concerts, jazz has attained a new and cherished seriousness valued all the more for its unexpectedness.
BOBBY KING & TERRY EVANS: Live and Let Live!
Rounder 2089 (LP), CD 2089 (CD). Larry Hirsch, eng.; Ry Cooder, prod. AAA/AAD. TT: 44:42
If you've heard a Ry Cooder album in the last 12 years, you've heard Bobby King and Terry Evansthey're the gorgeously voiced gospel/R&B singers who've backed up Ry while he's learned to sing in publicand from whom he can't help but have learned a lot. To crib from the liner notes, King is from a Louisiana gospel background, while Evans sang R&B in Mississippi. Their music together is a seamless blend of the best of both sides of the churchyard gate, smack dab in the middle of the strongest undercurrents of American music. Virtually every tune is a gem, but "Let Love Begin," so warm and lovingly sensual it'll melt your speakers, and the best version I've ever heard of "Dark End of the Street," are instant classics. "Saturday Night" has a hint of sprung Cajun rhythm, and "Let Me Go Back to the Country" has that vital feel of a pick-up band one by one sitting down to sit in, music made for the sheer joy of singing and playing. Only "Bald Head," another misogynistic Cooder tune, falls flat, though not for lack of trying by King & Evans.
ELVIS COSTELLO: 2½ Years Including: My Aim Is True (RCD 90271. Bazza, eng. TT: 60:22), This Year's Model (RCD 90272. TT: 52:46), Armed Forces (RCD 90273. TT: 63:29), all available separately, and Live at El Mocambo Rykodisc RCD 90271/74 (4 CDs). TT: 3:45:33 All above (except as noted): CD only. Nick Lowe, prod.; Roger Bechirian, eng. & re-mastering. AAD.
GILBERT & SULLIVAN: H.M.S. Pinafore Richard Suart, The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B.; Thomas Allen, Captain Corcoran; Michael Schade, Ralph Rackstraw; Rebecca Evans, Josephine; Felicity Palmer, Little Buttercup; Donald Adams, Dick Deadeye; Richard Van Allan, Bill Bobstay; Welsh National Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Sir Charles Mackerras Telarc CD-80374 (CD only). James Mallinson, prod.; Jack Renner, eng. DDD. TT: 73:42