Its too late? Apparently not. How else to explain the continuing appeal of the woman who personified the singer/songwriter with I Feel The Earth Move, Tapestry, Youve Got A Friend and so many other songs in the 60s and 70s? On this live 2-CD set, King revisits a number of her hits, supported by her piano, occasional guitar and bass, and on Where You Lead I Will Follow by daughter Louise Goffin. Sometimes her voice gets a bit ragged, as on Jazzman, and sometimes you miss a full band, as on Smackwater Jack. But then, the premise of the album is as the title suggests, an intimate acoustic performance for friends. And in that its inordinately successful.
Jim Brickman - Grace - Windham Hill
Popular pianist Brickman enlists a couple ringers, er, singers, in this set of sacred music. Ginny Owens and Brickman breathe some new life into Amazing Grace, while the string section Brickman uses makes Crown Him With Many Crowns a joy. Ave Maria is typically overwrought, while Brickman gives How Great Thou Art a grace it hardly deserves, and Joyful is an expressive take on Ode to Joy. However, its probably the concluding Hear Me (Tears Into Wine) that will make fans stand up and take notice, what with Michael Bolton proving yet again that, love him or hate him, when it comes to soaring MOR ballads, hes the king of the hill. With its high points and clinkers, instrumentals and vocals, Grace is pretty much all over the place.
Fripp & Eno - The Equatorial Stars - Opal
Here it is 30 years later and weve finally got the follow-up to No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, the groundbreaking electronic ambient explorations by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and ex-Roxy Music keyboardist Brian Eno. Theyve obviously had plenty of time to perfect their tape looping and frippertronics, and its all on display in these seven soundscapes. The program falls somewhere between those two earlier recordings, with much
of the beauty of Evening Star intact, yet with some of the edge of No Pussyfooting. The latter is most apparent on Lupus where scratchy drones give way to slow-moving washes and gentle glissandos. The sounds range from nearly-recognizable guitars to bells and violins, all produced by the two sonic pioneers.
Various Artists - Visions of An Inner Mounting Apocalypse - Tone Center
This tribute to the Mahavishnu Orchestra brings together a whos who of fusion guitarists paying homage to John McGlaughlin and one of the seminal bands of the genre. Steve Lukather of Toto opens with a blazing Birds of Fire, the title track from Mahavishnus second album, and things only get hotter from there with Mike Stern, Steve Morse, Frank Gambale, Greg Howe, and others. Theyre supported by an ultra-tight band of Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Kai Eckhardt on bass, Mitchell Forman on keyboards, project coordinator Jeff Richman on guitar, even original Mahavishnu violinist Jerry Goodman on a few tracks. Anyone who was into the fusion scene of the 70s and 80s will enjoy this bracing set. This is just one of four such projects from Tone Center, the others featuring the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Weather Report.