DEXTER GORDON - THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS PLUS
Avid's Three Classic Albums Plus places tenor sax player Dexter Gordon's two Bethlehem-led dates from 1955 -- Daddy Plays the Horn and Dexter Blows Hot and Cool -- in the company of his 1960 comeback The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon (on which he appears on most, but not all of the tracks) as well as six of seven cuts from Stan Levey's excellent Bethlehem session, This Time the Drum's on Me, which is also from 1955. The liner notes from the original albums and complete session attributions are provided in the booklet. Prospective buyers should consider a couple of things before dropping money: first, the "remastered sound" in this budget package is not from analog source tapes, but either from LPs or perhaps even MP3s since there are audible clicks. Secondly, given that the U.K.'s copyright laws are different from Gordon's American ones, these are in the former's public domain, and there is no financial remuneration to the artist's estate. It's true that the music is great and this is certainly inexpensive, but the adage "you get what you pay for" also applies. Those who wish to investigate Gordon's early dates as a leader would be well advised to seek out the American recordings first. They contain much better sound and royalties actually get paid. ~ Thom Jurek
CARMEN MCRAE - BOOK OF BALLADS
Carmen McRae's book of ballads is a great set of standards – performed by a core trio that features Don Abney on piano, over larger backings by Frank Hunter! The set's a treasure from Carmen's early years – and is filled with dusky renditions of tunes that are familiar, but which have a very different feeling here – thanks to McRae's sense of care and space with the material – one that almost brings a personal, reflective quality to the whole thing. Titles include "He Was Too Good To Me", "By Myself", "My Romance", "When I Fall In Love", and "Please Be Kind". ~ Dusty Groove
BARRY MANILOW - MY DREAM DUETS
For his Verve Music debut My Dream Duets, Manilow demonstrates that he is a fan celebrating his own musical heroes who have inspired him through the years. From cherished idols like Andy Williams, Sammy Davis Jr, Dusty Springfield, Mama Cass, Jimmy Durante, Marilyn Monroe, Frankie Lyman, Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong to contemporary icons like Whitney Houston and John Denver. Barry has joined together with them in his recording studio, emerging with a collection of remarkable duet classics. Here’s the official description of Barry Manilow's My Dream Duets is as follows: "For his Verve Music debut My Dream Duets, Manilow demonstrates that he is a fan celebrating his own musical heroes who have inspired him through the years. From cherished idols like Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong to contemporary icons like Whitney Houston and John Denver. Barry has joined together with them in his recording studio, emerging with a collection of remarkable duet classics. Although the extraordinary guest artists on My Dream Duetss are no longer with us, Manilow's mission is to ensure their immortal voices live on to excite and entertain all generations of music lovers." Barry Manilow's My Dream Duets will be released on October 28.