This impressive series continues with its incredibly 6-CD sets, this one yielding 100 masterful guitar performances! The heavy emphasis is on classical, from baroque to modern (with two discs devoted to Spanish guitar and another entirely to Rodrigo), but you'll encounter some Beatles along the way, too. Pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Satie, Britten, Granados, Falla, Rodrigo, Albeniz, Villa-Lobos and others are played by Andres Segovia, Julian Bream, Eliot Fisk, Manuel Barrueco, Christopher Parkening and more!
This is something of a sequel to the 1993 Ace compilation of early King sides titled Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, though it took Ace nearly a decade to unleash the companion volume. All of the 24 tracks were recorded between 1961 and 1966, though some of the songs weren't released until after 1966, in a few cases not for decades; indeed, four alternate takes make their first appearance here. All of King's chart records occurred in 1961, and all were included on the prior Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, so this couldn't qualify as the first-choice early King; there's no "Hide Away" or "San-Ho-Zay" here. On a musical level, though, this isn't much different in nature or quality than what you'll find on the earlier anthology. Split between vocals and instrumentals, it's top-notch R&B-blues-rock & roll crossover with stinging guitar and soulful vocals, even if the similarity of some of the songs might turn off non-aficionados.
Of the Three 'Kings' of the blues (BB, Albert and Freddy), Freddy King is perhaps the least well known these days. He enjoyed cross-over success with the white rock audiences of the 70s (hitting with albums for Cotillion, RSO and Shelter and touring extensively - his 'live' LP for German label Crosscut is about the closest thing to heavy metal blues imaginable). Yet his death from hepatitis in 1976 robbed Freddy of the kind of acclaim that the current blues revival has given BB, Albert and John Lee Hooker. There was a time, though, in the mid-'60s when his singles were among the most influential in blues, particularly for British and European audiences. His instrumental singles Hideaway and Drivin' Sideways were issued on Sue and covered by every white blues group that knew what was really happening on the R&B scene. Those two sides plus classics like (The Welfare) Turns It's Back On You, See See Baby, The Stumble and San-Ho-Zay were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Peter Green, Albert Collins and Chicken Shack.
Often described as one of Europe's foremost living composers, Hans Werner Henze could perhaps more accurately be described as Europe's greatest living composer. Born in 1926, Henze's career spans sixty years, his style encompasses everything from neo-classicism to post-modernism, his works include everything from grand operas to intimate quartets, and his music embraces everything from ecstatic lyricism to agonizing expressionism. In this disc devoted to his music for guitar, Henze's intimate, lyrical, neo-classical side is brilliantly on display from the achingly lovely Drei Tentos (Three Attempts) and Drei Fragmente nach Hölderlin (Three Fragments from Hölderlin) both from 1958 through the intensely dramatic Royal Winter Music from 1979 to the wildly eclectic Selbst- und Zweigespräche (Monologues and Dialogues) from 1985 and Neue Volkslieder und Hirtengesänge (New Folk Songs and Shepherd's Melodies) from 1986.