It took more than four decades of patient hard work until a discriminating congregation could proclaim Albert King as one of the three kings of the electric blues, alongside B. B. King and Freddie King.
Many a musical career began in the gospel church choirs of the black communities, but that of Donny Hathaway must certainly be one of the most meteoric. Rolling Stone magazine named him the 49th greatest singer (of 100) of all time, though this might sound somewhat abstract. But just the very first few bars of the opening number "Voices Inside" promises a programme in which the instrumental and human voices are on a par.
After his early avant-garde years with Blue Note Records, Herbie Hancock achieved much success with pop music fans by gradually turning towards a mixture of Afro-American styles in which he combined soul, jazz and funk. Having composed the soundtrack to Bill Cosby’s animated children’s show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and released a popular family-orientated album entitled "Fat Albert Rotunda", Hancock stated that instead of looking for jazz musicians who could play funky music, he had searched for funk musicians with a feeling for jazz.
Rare originals of this recording have been going on Ebay for upwards of $1,500. The sound quality and performance are absolutely to-die-for.Today, it is difficult to understand that despite the tremendous Bach renaissance that took place in the 19th century, many compositions by the Cantor of St. Thomas’ Church in Leipzig had been underrated. The Cello Suites, for example, have been regarded for almost 300 years as purely a set of tricky etudes that every virtuoso in the making simply must tackle. Janos Starker’s recording of the Suites from 1965 makes a lasting impression on the listener, and even record producers who are well used to recorded excellence have been highly impressed. Starker’s full-bodied sound and technical brilliance are complemented by his finely chiseled interpretation that lends immense expression to Bach’s thrilling harmony and verve to the strict rhythmic construction of the movements.
It was John Lewis, pianist of the Modern Jazz Quartet, who brought Ornette Coleman to the renowned Atlantic label, having heard him play in Los Angeles. »Ornette Coleman is doing the only really new thing in jazz …« he reportedly said. The present initial Atlantic album was released just in time to coincide with the New York debut of the Coleman Quartet in November 1959. Lewis was sure that Coleman would open up new paths for jazz, and his opinion is reflected in the title of the album – "The Shape Of Jazz To Come".
The term 'free jazz' was already in existence – but it had a quite different meaning, namely jazz without paying for an entrance ticket. The album "Free Jazz", however, was intended to lend its name to a quite different style of jazz. 'Free' playing – now this meant that no one was bound to conventions, you could let your imagination run loose. Free jazz gave one the chance to find new rules for every new composition. And it was to be the greatest boost to innovation in the world of jazz. Ornette Coleman’s album from December 1960 stands at the beginning of the free jazz era like a massive portal.