Album Reviews

Art Pepper Blue Nile
Jimmy Witherspoon Sidney Maiden
Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass Curtis Counce
Thelonious Monk Bola Sete
Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Shelly Manne & His Men
Frank Zappa Lonnie Johnson With Elmer Snowden
Janis Ian Sinead Lohan
Cassandra Wilson Lou Reed

New York Album (Art Pepper)

Being an avid Pepper fan, it was a joy to hear this session from `79 with Art in fine fettle and accompanied by East Coast veterans Ron Carter on bass, Hank Jones on piano and Al Foster on drums. Art was equally at home with the East Coast bop style (as on this album) or the more laid-back West Coast form and here he displays his talent to the full on Monk's "Straight No Chaser", "A Night In Tunisia", "My Friend John" and a beautiful unaccompanied version of "Lover Man". The sound on this LP is quite an improvement over the original Galaxy label issue although still leaning towards a somewhat dry acoustic typical of the Galaxy sound. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

So In Love. (Art Pepper)

Also from the same year as the `New York Album' when Art Pepper was experiencing a strong renaissance after having dealt with years of drug dependancy and prison time. Mainly recorded in Los Angeles with George Cables, Billy Higgins and Charlie Haden except for two additional tracks from the `New York Album' sessions. This album was originally released on the now defunct `Artists House' label and I have to say that executive producer Chad Kassem has wrought the biggest improvement over an original I have ever heard. The noise floor has been lowered to such a degree that details (not even audible on the original) spring to life, giving this recording a convincing, palpable quality that combined with the outstanding musicanship make it highly desirable, as Downbeat magazine would say "Five Stars!!" £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

The Intimate Art Pepper (Art Pepper)

This is the first time that these tracks (culled from the `So In Love' and `New York Album' sessions) have ever been released. Pepper was one of the few altoists that truly had `soul' in his mouthpiece and on these tunes he wrings every last drop of emotion from his horn. Several tracks feature art on clarinet and one is left with the feeling that he should have featured it more in his previous recordings. Taken as a trilogy these three Art Pepper releases are definitely a must have and congratulations go to Chad Kassem for having the foresight to see his reasonably priced vinyl Revival Series to fruition. Bravo! £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

Peace At Last. (Warner U.S. Import) (Blue Nile)

Blue Nile's latest will keep many a Linn owner happy! In much the same vein as there first. `Peace At Last' is melancholy, yet more tender and evocative than their previous albums. Voted record of the week by The Guardian who commented that the music is `sometimes breathtaking!' £12.00 Return to Reviews Index

Evenin' Blues (Jimmy Witherspoon)

Master of the blues Jimmy Witherspoon does not disappoint on this super LP recorded in 1963. 10 great tracks ensu from the laid back "Money's Gettin' Cheaper" to the upbeat "Don't Let Go", although for me the standout track is side one's closing "Evening". This album appeals on two levels; firstly Witherspoon's havy jazz background makes him easily accessible to the blues novice making this a excellent primer for the tentative blues fan, and secondly Witherspoond appeals to the connoisseur with his wonderful intonation, timing and sense of occasion. Superb back up comes from Clifford Scott on tenor, Bert Kendrix on organ, the great T-Bone Walker on guitar, Clarence Jones on bass and Wayne Robertson on drums, making this another must have in the Revival Series. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

Trouble an Blues (Sidney Maiden)

Although this album contains some outstanding blues from Sidney Maiden on both harmonica and vocals, I find the hole in the middle stereo disconcerting and can only give a partial recommendation purely on musical merits. Blues afficianados who are unable to track down the œ100 plus original will surely find this release a god-send. I can only wish that for future issues the much more satisfying mono versions are released for the Revival Series. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

Fitzgerald & Pass ... Again (Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass)

I have to say right from the start that I rate this LP on a par with Ella's best works which of course would have to include "Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie". Although the Ella / Pass duo may seem sparse for audiophile taste buds, it is all the more easy to savour the micro-textures of Ella's voice and Joe Pass' guitar without background clutter. This as you may have gathered is my favourite of the new Analogue Productions Revival Series LPs. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

You Get More Bounce With Curtis Counce (Curtis Counce)

The epitomy of the West Coast jazz sound is encapsulated in this album. Smooth ensemble playing coupled with excellent tenor solos from Harold Land and superb muted trumpet work by Jack Sheldon are notable highlights, add to this some great classic jazz vehicles such as "How Deep Is The Ocean" and "Stranger In Paradise" and you have a fine LP for late night listening. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

Thelonious In Action (Thelonious Monk)

We were quite happy at Audiophile International to provide Chad Kassem with an original Riverside pressing of this album as a reference, not expecting any great improvements to be made in the overall excellent instrumental timbres that had been captured over thirty years ago. We can only say with hindsight that Analogue Productions have outdone themselves in this respect by achieving a dramatic lowering of the noise floor and an even more lifelike sound to both Monk's piano and the superb tenor sax accompaniment of Johnny Griffin. This is a superb live jazz performance that should not be missed. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

Tour De Force (Bola Sete)

Bole Sete's rich Brazilian guitar sound was beautifully captured by the Fantasy engineers back in the early sixties. This set encompasses a musical map that stretches from Brazil ("Nota Triste") to Spain (Albeniz' "Asturias") and to the U.S. (Gilespie's "Tour De Force"). Judging by the high level of interest in out of print LPs by Bola Sete from our customers, this LP should prove to be a popular delight. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

The Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Album (Tony Bennett / Bill Evans)

Originally released on the Fantasy label this album places two greats together for a memorable session of balladeering. Tony Bennett's vocals are closely miked with Evan's piano spread right across the back of the soundstage giving a larger-than-life feeling to the proceedings. This Analogue Revival LP has excellent sonics for a studio recording of this era (1975) and is very close to the sound of the rare Mobile Fidelity half-speed master LP, without going into details, the listener's preference may fall either way (each having its own strengths and minor weaknesses), but for sure this recording, at a fraction of the cost is definitely worth the admission price. Recommended £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

At The Blackhawk 1 (Shelly Manne & His Men)

Absolutely indispensable live jazz! Original black and gold Contemporary stereo LPs of this performance have become highly sought after items. Featuring the great and underrated Richie Kamuca on tenor sax, Joe Gordon on trumpet, along with one of England's few great jazz musicians, Vic Feldman on piano and Monty Budwig on bass. An eleven minute version of "Summertime" is perhaps the highlight of this superb recording in which Gordon plays the tune with a beautifully restrained blues feeling whilst Kamuca and Feldman take warmly non-sentimental solos also. Highly recommended. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

One Size Fits All (Frank Zappa)

Undoubtedly one of Zappa's most outstanding recordings, this 1975 rock-jazz-satirical fusion, with a band that included Zappa, George Duke, Chester Thompson, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Tom Fowler and Ruth Underwood, includes "Inca Roads", "San Ber'dino", "Florentine Pogen" and "Andy". Gold CD £25 Return to Reviews Index

Apostrophe (Frank Zappa)

A Zappa catalogue favourite, `Apostrophe(`)' was originally released in 1974, and became Zappa's first gold album two years later. Featured classics include; "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", "Cosmik Debris" and "Stink-Foot", this jazz inflected rock album continues to be one of Zappa's best loved albums Gold CD £25 Return to Reviews Index

Blues, Ballads And Jumpin' Jazz, Volume 2. (Lonnie Johnson With Elmer Snowden)

This never before released LP was recorded on April 5th 1960 and captures the intimate musical repartee between Johnson's electric and Snowden's acoustic guitars. Johnson's fluid single-string approach to soloing and sophisticated harmonic sense left a profound mark on several generations of guitar players, including Charlie Christian., T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson and B.B. King all of whom cited him as an influence. Snowden never achieved Johnson's level of fame but his resume is also impressive, working with Eubie Blake, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Fats Waller and Ben Webster. A deep feeling of loneliness pervades the vocal selections on this album while the instrumental tracks display these men at the peak of their skills - Snowden's nimble fingers fly all over the fretboard on "Lester Leaps In" and Johnson's ringing tone and relaxed phrasing a fine contrast. Highly recommended. £17.50 Return to Reviews Index

New Moon Daughter (Cassandra Wilson)

Joni Mitchell may have written "The Circle Game", but it took Cassandra Wilson to grab pop by the throat and drag it around in one of the widest, deepest grooves of an unlikely circle you'll ever hear, reconfiguring it as simmering, steamy jazz/blues. If you start this disc on the third track, "Soloman Sang" - a Wilson original - you might even be fooled into thinking it was Joni in her most recent smoky incarnation". - Michael Fremer "Tracking Angle". Now available exclusively through Audiophile International on two virgin vinyl discs. Experience the staggering sound and dynamics of this 90's classic. 2LP Set £17.75 US Import CD £15 Return to Reviews Index

Breaking Silence (Janis Ian)

This "all analogue" album finds Janis' voice in its purest, most vital form ever. The album has been praised not only for Ian's talents but also the staggering dynamics. Her very personal songs are delivered in a voice that creates confidence. "Breaking Silence" is one of the very few recordings of recent years that has attained true audiophile status in its pure analogue sound. Highly recommended, a truly memorable experience. HQ180gm LP £25 HQ 24kt Gold CD £25 Return to Reviews Index

Who Do You Think I Am (Sinead Lohan)

May I be the first to congratulate Grapevine for discovering Sinead Lohan. This her debut album originally released a year ago on the Irish label Dara, has been re-discovered and re-packaged by Grapevine. Sinead Lohan style is dream like, each song wraps you up in a cocoon of hypnotic melodies. Her impressionistic lyrics are beautifully written and will loose you in relaxed euphoria. Vinyl LP £10 CD £13 Return to Reviews Index

Set The Twilight Reeling (Lou Reed)

Lou Reed's latest album on 180gm virgin vinyl
In a career that has spanned three decades, Lou Reed has been many things. From raw beginnings this punk rock superstars socially aware narrative lyrics crawled out like something he was reluctant to part with. It is hard to find a logical conclusion for this latest incantation, but this is the best Lou Reed album for some time. Lou has not lost his demons. There is still a certain raw power, but the overall mood ios of someone who is more in control. His lyrics no longer toy with drug addiction or violent sex, but behold, in most instances, honour and emotion. This album possesses all the qualities of his early work, but with a refinement that doesn't bleach the overall picture. Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering and pressed onto 180 grammes of virgin vinyl by Warner, this LP has increased dynamic range - play it loud!! Recommended. Limited supply.
£25 Return to Reviews Index

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Last Updated: 16 February 1997