Russell Malone recording this studio date for Venus in 1995, though it was several years before the Japanese label got around to issuing it. Joined by an excellent rhythm section consisting of Larry Willis, Rodney Whitaker, and Yoron Israel, Malone is not afraid to go into lengthy exploration of an old favorite like "I Concentrate on You."
Six years after forming the United Nations of Sound – a pseudo-group that lasted no more than a single record – Richard Ashcroft pushes himself back into the spotlight on These People, a 2016 album that finds the former Verve singer reuniting with Wil Malone, an orchestrator who worked on Urban Hymns and Northern Soul. Malone's presence suggests These People may achieve a certain symphonic heft, yet Ashcroft sidesteps the churning psychedelia and progressive majesty of the Verve's prime. In its place, the singer/songwriter taps into a certain insouciant sophistication, favoring insistent arena anthems and finely tailored Eurodisco.
The second Blood, Sweat & Tears recording without David Clayton-Thomas, No Sweat may be the jazziest BS&T ever. Surprisingly, most of the material comes from outside the band, with the exception of two tracks by Lou Marini, Jr., two co-written by George Wadenius (the featured guitarist in the band following Steve Katz's departure), and the concluding "Inner Crisis" by Larry Willis. Jerry Fisher is more integrated into the band in his role as lead singer, and the band shines throughout on material ranging from Traffic's "Empty Pages" to John Lewis' "Django." The highlight is "Almost Sorry," which features Bobby Colomby's rock-solid drumming, and solos from the entire horn section: Dave Bargeron on trombone, Lew Soloff and Tom "Bones" Malone on electric trumpets, and Marini on alto flute.