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Hunted Season 1
Hunted Season 1
Price: $22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars MELISSA GEORGE IS SAM HUNTER, MASTER SPY, CAUGHT IN A TENSE MYSTERY, June 25, 2016
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This review is from: Hunted Season 1 (Amazon Video)
Five COVERT Stars. The British TV series "Hunted", Season 1, is a smart, action-packed, edge of the seat spy drama that stars Australian actress Melissa George as Sam Hunter, a troubled but highly-capable and athletic undercover operative for a private intelligence firm, Byzantium. Sam drops out of sight when someone attempts to kill her, and when she returns, she is stoked to find answers while working another challenging undercover case, which itself has layers of sub-plots. Also starring Adam Raynor, Stephen Dillane, Stephen Campbell Moore, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Morven Christie, Lex Shrapnel, and Patrick Malahide. Created by James Spotnitz. Music by Ruth Barrett. It has a deliberately-paced plot that is wonderfully executed by a talented cast. The ending is just fabulous. Highly Recommended. Five SECRETIVE Stars. (Cinemax Original Drama, in association with the BBC. Rated TV-MA. Color. HD. X-Ray. Eight-58 minute episodes.)


Homecoming
Homecoming
3 used & new from $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A JOYOUS "HOMECOMING" FOR FLUGELHORNIST ART FARMER & HIS SEPTET, June 24, 2016
This review is from: Homecoming (Vinyl)
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"It is veritably a happy musical homecoming for the ears of the jazz world." - Herb Wong, KJAZ

Five ATTRACTIVE Stars. This recording, "Homecoming", captures trumpet and flugelhorn giant Art Farmer after he had begun to play flugelhorn exclusively: "It has become my voice". The album title reflects the globetrotting nature of his career, alternatively based in New York City and Vienna, Austria and traveling to points beyond, but here back in NYC for this session. Included in his very potent septet are some exceptional jazz men: Jimmy Heath on tenor and soprano saxes, Billy Higgins on drums, Sam Jones on bass, Cedar Walton on piano who was with Farmer in the renowned "Jazztet" group, Warren Smith on percussion, and James Forman-Mtume on congas.

The title track "Homecoming" is a joyful Farmer tune that is a nice sonic mixture between Art's flugelhorn and Heath's soprano sax which gets the first solo demonstrating Heath's interesting ideas, overall mastery and individual sound during a time when many Coltrane soprano and tenor sax imitators abounded in the jazz world. Farmer also has his own sound and technique on the flugelhorn clearly shown during his solo. The samba "Cascavelo" continues the joyful mood with a latin beat from Mtume, Smith, Walton and Jones underneath blazing solos from Farmer, Heath, and Walton. Farmer's solo feature is a rendition of Leonard Bernstein's lovely ballad "Some Other Time" which was gaining popularity in the jazz world from the likes of Bill Evans and Farmer: here it is illuminated by a soaring, wistful solo from Farmer.

Side 2 begins with a sizzling latin version of Kenny Dorham's classic "Blue Bossa" with Walton's staccato chords, Jones' bouncing bass lines, and the conguero and percussionist pouring on the heat underneath with Farmer, Heath, Walton, and Jones, all registering their finest, most emotional solos of the date. Even the usually morose "Here's That Rainy Day" is a pure joy here, aided by Jone's elastic bass lines and Higgins' brush and stick accents, with Farmer and Heath, now on tenor sax, and Walton heating the ballad up with blazing lines. Produced by Bob Shad. Notes by Herb Wong. This is a great set from Art Farmer's Septet and it is Highly Recommended. Five JUBILANT Stars. (Mainstream Records, Inc. 5-Vinyl LP tracks. Time-30:51.)


Charlie Parker - At Carnegie Hall 1949
Charlie Parker - At Carnegie Hall 1949
2 used & new from $17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars BEBOP GENIUS CHARLIE PARKER LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL IN 1949, June 24, 2016
Five BRILLIANT Stars! This short but outstanding LP captures one of the co-creators of the unique jazz music revolution called Bebop, Charlie Parker, at age 29 with his quintet recorded live at a Carnegie Hall in 1949. Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell were among the other co-creators. It was bebop that upended the 'big band swing' era that defined the 1930's, forcing many musicians to learn the new idiom to remain relevant. Later evolutions of the art form would be labeled "post bop" and "hard bop" which are still going strong. In the vanguard of the 1940 movement, Parker was in the midst of creating compositions that have become classics, individual solo runs, phrases, octave jumps, and arpeggios that have been quoted thousands of times by other musicians. The other musicians in his quintet are the very facile Red Rodney on trumpet, fleet-fingered Al Haig on piano, masterful double bassist Tommy Potter and Grammy-winning drummer extraordinaire Roy Haynes, who at age 91 in 2016 is still playing and leading groups, recently seen playing drums on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

"Ornithology" is one of Bird's bebop classics which is still quoted in the 21st Century both for its compositional elements as well as for elements of Parker's very inventive solo created at a time here when this was still fresh. Rodney is the perfect front line partner capable of executing ideas, quotes, and flurries of notes at a high level within the bebop idiom. The mid-tempo "Cheryl", with its unusual mid-song pause, has Bird both bluesy and blazing, generating new ideas with excellent comping from Haig. Rodney inserts a nice, logical "Have You Ever Seen A Dream Walking?" quote. "Ko Ko", seemingly based on the chord changes of "Cherokee", is the race-horse tempo speed burner that allows the group to show how fast they could play and remain musically literate, with Parker drawing applause in mid-solo for one thrilling sequence. "Bird of Paradise" is a variation of the chord changes of "All The Things You Are" with Parker, Rodney, Potter and Haig soloing inventively. The recording ends with another classic Parker composition, the blues riff "Now's The Time" with declarative statements, actually creating a phrase that he would recall and use to better effect on his future, now classic "Perdido" solo at Massey Hall. Rodney is on fire during his own solo. Parker would die at age 35, a participant in and victim of his addiction, leaving behind one of the greatest musical legacies and influences in music history. My Highest Recommendation. Five CLASSIC Stars! (Almanac Record Company. 6-tracks. Time-25:46.)


Altura Do Sol - High Sun
Altura Do Sol - High Sun
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5.0 out of 5 stars "ALTURA DO SOL" IS AN ENJOYABLE MEETING BETWEEN PAUL HORN AND EGBERTO GISMONTI, June 23, 2016
This review is from: Altura Do Sol - High Sun (Vinyl)
Five BEAUTIFUL Stars. The album "Altura Do Sol" (High Sun) is a fateful meeting of composer and jazz flute master Paul Horn who is renowned for his jazz, New Age, and world music albums, some recorded in exotic locations, and the equally renowned Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti, who for some was being introduced to the USA music audience via this very recording under the production of the MIles Davis svengali Teo Macero. Macero quickly responded to Horn's request to find Gismonti in Rio and this recording took place a week later in New York. The additional personnel besides Horn and Gismonti who is heard on acoustic guitar, flute, guitar, bambuzal, and piano, include Hall of Fame double bassist Ron Carter, a noted group of Brazilians including Dom Salvador on electric piano, Dom Um Romão on percussion, and Roberto Silva on percussion and drums. Overdubbing on some tracks is apparent and very helpful.

Gismonti's composition "Danca Das Cabecas" (Head Dance) is a great beginning for the session with an uptempo latin beat and frenetic flute by Horn with Gismonti playing a driving guitar riff. "Silver Wedding" is a slowly developing beauty of a 'ballad of sorts' that could be the soundtrack to a tropical movie as it patiently develops the theme: Gismonti's piano and Carter's exotic droning and plucking are heard to great effect. The berimbau and cuica instruments set the stage for the blazing rhythms and themes of the title track "Altura Do Sol" and Horn's vamping solo. "Carmo" is a peaceful, pastoral piece. "Tango" is another song that could accompany a movie, creating striking images in the mind between Horn's flute, Gismonti's piano, and the sound of 'violins that hover and use staccato figurations' probably from Salvador's electric piano. Horn's own composition "Quarup" (Worship Ceremony) effectively uses the sounds of birds and percussive instruments to create effects, leading up to Horn's jazzy solo that really starts to cook over a Carter pedal point and a collage of rhythm sounds, then Horn really heats up. It uses bird sounds to segue into the lovely "Parque Laje" (A Park in Rio) featuring Gismonti's guitar, Salvador's electric piano and Horn's sonorous flute. "Salvador" is an uptempo 'samba school' spectacular with a great unison passage between Egberto's guitar and Carter's bass and a hot Horn flute solo. Egberto Gismonti was very impressed by Paul Horn's grasp of his highly individualistic music, clearly demonstrated throughout the album. The same can be said of the other musicians on the date who were "cookin'". Engineered by Stan Tonkel. The dramatic 'devil-ish' album front cover art is by Carol Wald. Highly Recommended. Five EXOTIC Stars. (Epic records vinyl LP. 7 tracks. Time-39:02.)


Leila Pinheiro: Mais Coisas Do Brasil (Digipack)
Leila Pinheiro: Mais Coisas Do Brasil (Digipack)
DVD ~ Leila Pinheiro

5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT LEILA PINHEIRO IN A LIVE DVD PERFORMANCE, June 22, 2016
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"To see ahead, I want to sail." - Verde

Five FABULOUS Stars. This is the wonderful Brazilian song stylist Leila Pinheiro singing in Portuguese at a live performance backed by an excellent band of brass, reeds, guitars, accordion, and rhythm section, with special guests: guitarist Roberto Menescal and the 4 Manos vocal group. Lyrics are 'close captioned' in Portuguese, English, Japanese, and Spanish. Pinheiro sings 20 MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) songs in over a hour of time: as ballads, sambas, and bossas. Pinheiro avoids more famous fare like "Waters of March" and "The Girl from Ipanema", finding other worth while songs of love and loss, and faith and hope for her show.

The set kicks off with a religious invocation and then swings hard into "Verde" with its beautiful poetic imagery. Roberto Menescal joins Leila for a duo perfomance where she sings and also plays piano on a lovely rendition of "Amor Nas Estrelas". The paradox of love is delivered in full emotional relief by Pinheiro on "Você Em Minha Vida". The "Four Hands" vocal group joins Pinheiro for a gospel and soul influenced "Monte Castelo" based on 1 Corinthians 13. The jazzy "Tudo Bem" allows Leila and the band to cut loose. "Quando O Amor Acontece" and "Todo Azul Do Mar" are gently swinging and lovely pieces. And there is much more. Leila Pinheiro is an artist that can cast a spell and sustain that mood with her lovely voice and her excellent band. Directed by Ignácio Coqueiro. My Highest Recommendation. Five SPELLBINDING Stars. (Universal Music production. DVD Digipack. 20 songs with extras. DVD 9. NTSC 4:3. Color. CC in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. Time-1:04.)


Hidalgo
Hidalgo
DVD
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A COWBOY AND HIS MUSTANG IN AN ENDURANCE RACE ACROSS THE ARABIAN DESERT, June 22, 2016
This review is from: Hidalgo (Amazon Video)
"Let 'er buck" - Hopkins

Five HEARTENING Stars. The legendary long distance rider Frank T. Hopkins and his Mustang, Hidalgo, run the 'Ocean of Fire' survival race across 3000 miles of the Arabian desert against the finest royal riders and their Arabian horses. Running a hair-raising gauntlet of racing endurance, they face many obstacles far out where there is no help between rest stations and the other riders may also be dangerous. Hopkins and Hidalgo race under the flag of an unusual, ancient, and meaningful symbol. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson, Louise Lombard, Adam Alexi-Malle, Saïd Taghmaoui, Silas Carson, Harsh Nayyar, Victor Talmadge, Adoni Maropis, Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman and J.K. Simmons as Buffalo Bill Cody. My Highest Recommendation. Five RIVETING Stars. (Touchstone Pictures. Rated PG-13. HD. Color. CC. Time-2:20. Showtime viewing.)


3:10 To Yuma (2007)
3:10 To Yuma (2007)
DVD
Price: $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT, MORE VIOLENT VERSION OF THE WESTERN CLASSIC-"3:10 TO YUMA", June 21, 2016
This review is from: 3:10 To Yuma (2007) (Amazon Video)
Four and a half DISTINCT Stars. This version of the classic 1957 western movie "3:10 to Yuma" is also based on a story by author Elmore Leonard and comes exactly 50 years after the original movie. That movie starred Glenn Ford as the ruthless outlaw with a sensitive side, Ben Wade, and Van Heflin as the desperate rancher, Dan Evans. This movie has two of today's top actors, both Oscar winners, Russell Crowe as Wade and Christian Bale as Evans and it traces the major themes of the original movie but then varies enough to make this more than a close remake, as it ups the ante with much more violence and introduces new locales, characters, and interesting variations on the script. Co-starring Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Ben Foster, Dallas Roberts, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw, and Logan Lerman, the cast performance is terrific. BTW, the famous "3:10 to Yuma" theme song is not used in this movie. The ending may be surprising. I recommend seeing both movies. Directed by James Mangold. Highly Recommended. Four and a half VIOLENT Stars. (Lionsgate, Relativity Media films. Rated R. HD. Color. CC. Time-2:05. Showtime viewing.)


the brass connection LP
the brass connection LP

5.0 out of 5 stars "THE BRASS CONNECTION" IN A JUBILANT, DIVERSE JAZZ 'TEN-TET' PERFORMANCE, June 20, 2016
This review is from: the brass connection LP (Vinyl)
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" Of the trombone albums I have heard to date, this is one of the most exciting." - Slide Hampton

Five FABULOUS Stars! This eponymous recording is from a diversely voiced, unique group of musicians put together by trombonist Doug Hamilton. It consists of 5 trombones and a beefed up rhythm section of guitar, vibes, piano, bass, and drums. The musicians are Hamilton, Ian McDougall, Jerry Johnson, Bob Livingston, and John Capon on trombones, plus Lome Lofsky on guitar, Frank Falco on keyboards, Dave Young on double bass, Terry Clarke on drums, and Don Thompson on vibraharp and double bass. The songs are 3 jazz standards, 4 originals, and 1 Swedish traditional song adapted by the jazz community.

The 'pieces de resistance' on the session begin with a blazing version of Dizzy Gillespie's standard "Tanga" played with a straight ahead uptempo pace, after the latin theme, with great solos from vibist Thompson, Johnson, McDougall, and Falco. There are three ballads greatly exemplified by Hamilton's lovely "Lee", wonderfully voiced for the trombone choir and featuring pretty solos from Thompson and electric pianist Falco. The haunting "Lightly Turning" is another great ballad with compelling solos from Lofsky on guitar and pianist Falco that have been favorites for decades. The group swings hard on "Osteology" with its interesting trombone chase between McDougall, Livingston, and Johnson. "Dear Old Stockholm" is perfect for the jazz idiom and gets a touching, rousing performance, especially the double bass solo from Thompson (who doubles on vibes on the session), guitarist Lofsky showing flashes of Wes Montgomery, and the soaring trombone solo from Johnson.

But the performance of the session, which received lots of airplay on Los Angeles jazz radio, is the tightly-arranged version of John Coltrane's immortal "Giants Steps": arranger McDougall incorporates parts of Trane's original solo into blazing orchestrated trombone choir statements behind the soloists and alone between fiery solos from guitarist Lofsky and pianist Falco. A truly remarkable track performance that sent me directly to Tower Records to purchase it, back in the day. The Brass Connection swings hard on the 'cookers' and plays pretty on the ballads on this excellent performance. Highly Recommended. Five DELIGHTFUL Stars. (Black Orchid records vinyl LP. 8 tracks. Time-40:14.)


The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon
DVD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN ARTFUL FILM ABOUT POWER STRUGGLES IN 1930s HOLLYWOOD, BASED ON F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, June 20, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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"For two hours, we can make people laugh, sing, and forget." - Pat Brady

Five ARTFUL Stars. I vote "yes", complete the season. This Amazon Originals TV pilot is a tale, based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, right out of the Depression of the 1930s where a nation suffers while Hollywood movie moguls are living high and sending their kids off to Bennington. The competition between Hollywood studios for power, money, and stars is close. This story centers around a movie about the life of a famous deceased female star and her widower-producer husband struggling to see it made. Behind the scenes, things are heating up in many ways. Starring Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lilly Collins, Dominique McElligott, Enzo Cilenti, Koen De Bouw, Mark O'Brien, Chloe Guidry, Jennifer Marsala, Michael Siberry, and Jessica De Gouw. Great cast, great performances that pull the viewer into the period. Highly Recommended. Five ENTERPRISING Stars. (Amazon Originals/Drama: Tristar Television and Amazon Studios. Rated TV-MA. HD. Color. X-Ray. Time-1:01:48.)


'Round Midnight (Mono Version)
'Round Midnight (Mono Version)
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST GREAT MILES DAVIS QUINTET IN A STUNNING PERFORMANCE OF A MONK CLASSIC, June 19, 2016
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Five AUTHORITATIVE Stars. On his quintet's initial trip into a Columbia Records studio, this is Hall of Fame composer, arranger, trumpet legend, and crossover innovator Miles Davis producing an amazing recording, "Round Midnight", with a greatness that some apparently have yet to realize, being obscured by the immortal jazz king-of-the-hill "Kind of Blue", "Bitches Brew", "Sketches of Spain", and other recordings. But this is the so-called "First Great Miles Davis Quintet" with an audacious lineup of three future Hall of Fame musicians: the legendary innovator John Coltrane on tenor sax and Paul Chambers on double bass, along with the amazing Philly Joe Jones on drums, and the masterful soloing and comping of Red Garland on piano.

The Miles Davis quintet version of the immortal Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" is a powerful, beautiful, brooding performance. Based on an exceptional arrangement, Miles is muted throughout, producing a close-to-the-mike, pristine sound from his trumpet that sets the stage during the introduction and closing, with then Davis soloing close to the melody and Coltrane using his yearning 'cry' and his still-developing unique tenor sax style that would become so imitated throughout jazz for decades to come. This is yet another 'performance for the ages' from this album that was a shot across the bow of the jazz world by Miles Davis who was to release many historic albums in the decades to come on this record label. My Highest Recommendation. Five PASSIONATE Stars! (Columbia records. 1-MP3 mono track. Time-6:01.)


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