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4Play: Bruce Springsteen, YOSO, CTI Records, California Guitar Trio

Ross Boissoneau - December 6th, 2010
Bruce Springsteen – The Promise (Columbia)
This set of leftovers from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions proves two things: Springsteen made the correct selections for that album, and there’s no reason this should have been kept in the vaults this long. Darkness was tough and hard-rocking, while these two CDs (three plus DVDs in the deluxe set) offer a slightly more encompassing view of the Bruce of 30 years ago. It’s interesting to hear different versions of “Candy’s Room” and “Racing in the Street.” Other highlights abound, from the bouncy “Ain’t Good Enough For You” to studio versions of live favorites “Fire” and “Because the Night.”



YOSO – Elements (Frontiers Records)
Two parts Yes (keyboardist Tony Kaye and multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood) and one part Toto (vocalist Bobby Kimball), YOSO strikes a balance between Yes progginess and Toto’s radio-friendly rock. What might not be expected is that this two-CD set is really quite good. Kimball’s soaring vocals are matched by the power of the music. Live, the group adds a guitarist and drummer (Sherwood handles both here, as well as bass, keyboards, and backing vocals), and they perform a smattering of their previous bands’ songs. But this set suggests promise for YOSO as a recording group, as well as live attraction.



CTI Records – The Cool Revolution (CTI)
During the 70s, the CTI label – for label head/producer Creed Taylor (Inc.) – produced a bevy of high quality jazz recordings, with the likes of Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and many others. The styles ranged from straightahead jazz to crossover, Brazilian to big band. This four-disc retrospective is divided into Straight Up, Big Hits (including Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic”), the Brazilian Connection, and Cool and Classic. For those around the first time, this will bring back memories. Those who weren’t now have the chance to hear these great tunes in great sound.


California Guitar Trio – Andromeda (Inner Knot)
This new set of all-original music may be the best CGT album ever. High praise indeed. But considering the quality of these songs and the performances, it’s not out of line to suggest that. The three members of the CGT – Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya – have been together going on 20 years, and their unique approach continues to serve them well. The combine elements of classical minimalism, surf rock, acoustic folk, and progressive rock in their instrumental palette. Check out the quotes from Genesis’s “Supper’s Ready” or “Turn of the Tide.” Shimmering melodies shifting from electric guitar to acoustic, with a dash of bass, drums, stick or marimba to spice things up.
 
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