Darek Oleszkiewicz, a native of Poland and member of the music faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, makes his recording debut as a leader with this remarkable CD. Not yet thirty-years-old at the time of these sessions, the bassist shows surprising depth as a composer, arranger and soloist, with a gift for lyricism and a virtuoso technique reminiscent of Niels Pedersen. The first five songs are sterling duets with pianist Brad Mehldau (with whom he has worked in the past). The only standard, "You Don't Know What Love Is," evolves from a conversational duo improvisation, with both men avoiding typical approaches. His shimmering "Like a Dream" ought to have lyrics, while his "Blues for Eden" is very playful with hints of "Kerry Dance" worked into it. On two tracks, Oleszkiewicz leads a quartet with saxophonist Chuck Manning, guitarist Larry Koonse and drummer Mark Ferber. "Precious Moments" is an intricate composition that gives a strong indication of the leader's classical background.
2017 two CD collection packaged in a deluxe reverse board mini-LP style wallet with individual sleeves for each disc. Coming out with guns a-blazin', this brilliant career retrospective collects the highlights from Hollywood glam metal masters, L.A. Guns! Features the best Guns tunes including "The Ballad Of Jayne," "Sex Action," "Electric Gypsy," and "Never Enough" plus the 1987 sessions produced just before their self-titled debut album and the 1985 demo tape that first earned the band attention from major labels.
Alicia Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, made a significant impact upon its release in the summer of 2001, catapulting the young singer/songwriter to the front of the neo-soul pack. Critics and audiences were captivated by a 19-year-old singer whose taste and influences ran back further than her years, encompassing everything from Prince to smooth '70s soul, even a little Billie Holiday. In retrospect, it was the idea of Alicia Keys that was as attractive as the record, since soul fans were hungering for a singer/songwriter who seemed part of the tradition without being as spacy as Macy Gray or as hippie mystic as Erykah Badu while being more reliable than Lauryn Hill. Keys was all that, and she had style to spare – elegant, sexy style accentuated by how she never oversang, giving the music a richer feel. It was rich enough to compensate for some thinness in the writing – though it was a big hit, "Fallin'" doesn't have much body to it – which is a testament to Keys' skills as a musician.
A Garland for Linda is a benefit album for the cancer-fighting organization the Garland Appeal. It is also a tribute album to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998. Her husband, Paul McCartney, contributes one selection, but it's not a pop song – it's a classical piece. It is one of ten classical pieces, all written for Linda McCartney, by such modern classical composers as John Tavener, Judith Bingham, David Matthews, John Rutter, Roxanna Ranufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The pieces are all similar in tone – gentle, sometimes somber, yet always sweet. There may not be any major works here, but everyone's heart is in the right place, and the result is a sentimental mood piece that floats charmingly on its affection.
As one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Billy Joel was subjected to a romantically themed collection, and so came She's Got a Way: Love Songs, released just in time for Valentine's Day 2013. This 18-track collection reveals an odd truth about Joel: he didn't write all that many love songs. A few of his biggest hits are love songs but only a few: the early song "She's Got a Way," which wasn't a hit until its Songs in the Attic incarnation in the early '80s; "Just the Way You Are," an unabashedly romantic soft rock staple that helped make him a star in the mid-'70s; "This Is the Time"…