Natalie Cole – Stardust {Elektra}


Review by Bill Carpenter (allmusic.com)

Continuing her successful foray into the American songbook, Natalie Cole served as executive producer on her third album of pop standards. Eighteen selections, including works by Hoagy Carmichael and songs associated with Nat, Ella, Sarah, and Dinah. Big-band orchestration and a trumpet solo by Wynton Marsalis on “He Was Too Good to Me.” Guest players include Fourplay, Everette Harp, George Duke, and John Pizzarelli. Cole originally recorded Nat’s “When I Fall in Love” ballad on her Everlasting album. Here she does a duet with dad à la “Unforgettable.” She also closes the album with a solo version sung in Spanish.

Tracks:
01 – There’s a Lull in My Life
02 – Stardust
03 – Let’s Face the Music and Dance
04 – Teach Me Tonight
05 – When I Fall in Love (duet with Nat “King” Cole)
06 – What a Difference a Day Made
07 – Love Letters
08 – He was Too Good to Me
09 – Dindi (Portuguese)
10 – Two for the Blues
11 – If Love Ain’t There
12 – To Whom it May Concern
13 – Where Can I Go Without You
14 – Ahmad’s Blues
15 – Pick Yourself Up
16 – If You Could See Me Now
17 – Like a Lover
18 – This Morning it was Summer

Personnel:
Natalie Cole – vocals, background vocals
John Chiodini, John Pizzarelli, Lee Ritenour – guitar
Paul Jackson Jr. – electric guitar
Toots Thielemans – harmonica
Jon Clarke – oboe
Dan Higgins, Michael Brecker – tenor saxophone
Everette Harp – alto saxophone
Wynton Marsalis – trumpet
George Bohannon – trombone
Terry Trotter – piano, fender rhodes piano
Rob Mounsey, Bob James – piano, keyboards
Michael Lang – piano
Nat “King” Cole – vocals, organ
George Duke – vibraphone
Chris Parker, John “J.R.” Robinson, Harvey Mason Sr., John Guerin,
Ralph Penland, Harold Jones – drums
Paulinho Da Costa, Rafael Padilla, Bashiri Johnson – percussion

Released on September 24, 1996

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

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Ron Carter – Blues Farm {Epic}


Review by Nathan Bush (allmusic.com)

In 1968, having completed a five-year stint with Miles Davis, Ron Carter’s career was wide open. Finding himself in typically high demand, the bassist decided not to make any long-term commitments (though he continued to join individual recording dates), opting instead to develop his solo career. In 1971, he released Uptown Conversation (Atlantic). Shortly after, he signed to the CTI label, releasing Blues Farm in 1973. The bass is rarely found in such a prominent role, its melodic qualities typically being subordinate to rhythmic ones. The presence of a pianist, guitarist, and two percussionists on Blues Farm frees Carter to explore both realms. Working with Davis was obviously a valuable experience. On numbers like “Footprints” (from Miles Smiles, 1965), Carter was required to extend and compress time, a technique that is second nature to him on Blues Farm. Dense, dexterous runs are broken up by long, bending lines and shades of blues phrasing, all executed with absolute grace. His playing becomes slightly imposing on “Django.” While it’s great to hear him lead the group on a tour through the song’s shifting rhythms, the accompanists aren’t allowed much space. Carter’s playing is best when more deeply integrated. On the title track, he engages in a wonderful exchange with flutist Hubert Laws, with the two swapping solos back and forth. On “Hymn for Him,” his probing lines enrich the song, pushing its narrative forward. The best comes last as the group rides “R2, M1” to the album’s conclusion. The song subsists largely on the group’s energy (the most they display outwardly on the album) and Carter’s deep, repetitious groove. Unfortunately, great musicianship does not always make for compelling results. Blues Farm’s excursions are enjoyable, but somewhat reserved. Both the compositions and performances avoid strong emotions in favor of pleasing palettes of color and texture. The early-’70s production values only enhance this by softening the bed of musical tones. The resulting polish tranquilizes the sound and ultimately dates the album.

Tracks:
01 – Blues Farm
02 – A Small Ballad
03 – Django
04 – A Hymn for Him
05 – Two-Beat Johnson
06 – R2, M1

Personnel:
Ron Carter – bass, piccolo bass
Billy Cobham – drums
Hubert Laws – flutes
Ralp MacDonald – percussion
Bob James – electric piano
Richard Tee – organ, electric piano
Gene Bertoncini, Sam Brown – electric guitar

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, January 10, 1973.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chet Baker – She Was Too Good to Me {SONY} “Masterworks Jazz”


Review from “chetbakertribute.com”

Besides being a great recording, this one also has some historical significance, as it is viewed by many as Chet’s “comeback” album. Although Baker recorded in the late sixties, they were really dreadful commercial albums. This is the first significant recording Chet made since the ’65 Prestige sessions. It also marks the beginning of a very successful association with Creed Taylor and CTI Records. Chet recorded some of best work for CTI in the mid-to-late 1970’s.
Bob James’ electric piano and some strings (just the right amount) give this CD a unique flavor.

Tracks:
01 – Autumn Leaves
02 – She Was Too Good to Me
03 – Funk in Deep Freeze
04 – Tangerine
05 – With a Song in My Heart
06 – What’ll I Do
07 – It’s You or No One
08 – My Future Just Passed

Personnel:
Chet Baker – trumpet and vocal
Paul Desmond – alto saxophone
Bob James – electric piano
Ron Carter – bass
Jack DeJohnette, Steve Gadd – drums
Dave Friedman – vibes
Hubert Laws – flue and alto flute
Rome Penque – flute and clarinet
George Marge – alto flute and oboe d’amore

Violins: Lewis Eley, Max Ellen, Barry Finclair, Paul Gershman,
Harry Glickman, Emanuel Green, Harold Kohon, David Nadien, Herbert Sorkin

Cellos: Warren Lash, Jesse Levy, George Ricci

Arranged and Conducted by Don Sebesky

Recorded on July 17 and November 1, 1974
1974, 1987, 2010, SONY Music Entertainment.

Quality: xld, flac, cue, log, artwork