The 80s was the decade of the 12 inch. In the UK, all previous instalments of this series sold extremely well and received widespread critical acclaim. The Guardian called the series a "genuine act of music archaeology". From the pop dance genius of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax and Donna Summer's I Feel Love through to the more alternative Lullaby by The Cure, and onto classics such as Teardrops by Womack & Womack… This 3CD compilation has it all, in its full 12" glory.
This exceptional live document finds legendary free jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders collaborating with cornetist Rob Mazurek and members of the Sao Paulo Underground and Chicago Underground Duo. Mazurek takes a leading role for the most part, joined by Sanders in his regular volcanic, spiritual state of playing and supported dutifully by percussionist Maurício Takara, drummer Chad Taylor, bassist Matt Lux, and multi-instrumentalist Guilherme Granado. The disc tends toward the more experimental and tumultuous side of things, with processed synth sounds clashing with the explosive organic instrumentation in a way that brings to mind Sun Ra's rudimentary synth experimentation on his early-'70s Saturn Records output.
British singer/songwriter Howard Jones was a glinting jewel caught in the avalanche of synthesized music that overwhelmed the pop scene in the '80s. Jones had a true gift for crafting gleaming melodic hooks that make his hits some of the most memorable of the era. He used synthesizers not because they were "in," but because he could use them to create a delicious soundscape that couldn't be created without them. (Later in his career, he proved that he didn't need the electronics to write compelling pop music.) This 12" Album was released in support of his 1984 effort Humans Lib. It includes remixes of four of the hits from that record, including a previously unreleased extended mix of "Pearl in the Shell" and a "new version" of the now-classic "New Song," which features a reworked bass run and a new piano solo. The 12" Album also introduced the catchy "Always Asking Questions." The enclosed "international mix" of "Like to Get to Know You Well" (which was to appear on his next album, Dreams Into Action) is given an appealing reggae-flavored steel band backing.
Maxim Vengerov now confronts - and conquers - one of the supreme challenges all great violinists must face: The Brahms violin concerto. This beautiful, virtuosic work has defined careers from Heifetz to Perlman. Vengerov's turn has come, and his rich, burnished tone and impassioned phrasing make this one of the standout concerto CDs of the year. The soulful partnership of Vengerov and Barenboim (one of his most important mentors) is also a strong selling point.