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NOEL & COLE: A stage show taken into the studio for a proper recording with the cast peopled by PS all stars, we all know Cole Porter but a lot of us aren't all that familiar with Noel Coward anymore. The set card is heavier on Porter than Coward and even takes some detours into material that hasn't been beaten to death. The assembled stars bring their all to the material making this a first class Broadway/vocal/cabaret album, loaded with sophistication and style making it one hell of a grown up album. A mighty tasty trip through the American song bag that has no chart agenda and just wants to keep the classics in their proper perspective, this set is right on the money throughout.

PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS/Evolution to Revolution-5 Classic Albums: Among the many reasons to love reissue specialist Raven Records is the way they run ahead of the rest of the pack. While labels all have their own variation on the 5 classic album series, they put the discs out on five separate discs and think you should go nuts over having lp simulation jackets while charging accordingly for the five separate discs. Raven knows if you're digging in the crate, you want the music and this is the second time they've gotten key legacy masters and put five lps on 2 cds, priced accordingly. Recapping the heart and soul of the American version of the 60s British invasion, this hefty slice of 60s TV rock predates the Monkees by a hair but was rocking the rec rooms nonetheless. Covering everything from their beginnings as a punky garage cover band to a crew that was setting their own agenda, this is loaded with primal energy that hasn't rocked yuppie bloodstreams in years. Fun stuff throughout, if this doesn't bring back memories of pimple crème, cheese burgers and the rest of the 60s teen aged experience when post Kennedy innocence was melding into Viet Nam era cynicism, perhaps nothing will. The old tapes sound great and this is a killer, fatly tracked trip down memory lane.

TOMMY FLANAGAN-JAKI BYARD/The Magic of 2: A magically live night from 30 years ago that was never intended to be a recording found two piano jazzbos from different worlds blowing ears wide open long after they had hit their commercial peaks but were certainly not ready to be put out to pasture. Flanagan made his bones with Ella Fitzgerald while Byard made his with Roland Kirk but the simpatico they bring to this hour is a mind blowing. With the pairing suggested by the club owner where this was recorded being the driving force behind the duet, it certainly reflects a waning moment in time when the music at least seemed to come first. Straight ahead jazz fans would be dopes not to put this in their Amazon advance purchase queue before they forget. Get cracking.

SARA SANT'AMBROGIO/Chopin Collection: One of the dreary aspects of democratic, user generated reviews on Amazon is the moldy figs that have to carp in Eroica reviews that the trio uses their looks to sell their music and that it's horrible how they slowed down Piazzolla. What planet are they from and what point are they trying to prove? It's like when internet journalists try to get Elmore Leonard to put down Quentin Terrintino for not adapting Leonard's books word for word in bringing them to screen. Classical music doesn't have to be played by frunps and not all tango is fast paced. You know how some rock guitarists look positively rapturous when holding and bending a note or playing the scales fast and you think they look like a jerk? You can always spot me at an Eroica concert easily. When Sant' Ambrogio finishes her solo turn, I'm the one heading out for a cigarette, a towel and some cold water. She plays with a raw, naked, finger nails drawing blood digging into your back passion that can't be faked. And that's what she brings to this romantic music collection in which she finds the Piazzolla in Chopin. Often connecting with that hurts-so-good intersection of pain and passion, a sweeping grandeur of longing and release collide often enough that you'll need a cigarette by the time this cd ends. With the cellist playing at the top of her game, this is the quintessential album for the non-classical fan that proverbially don't know much about art but knows what they like to enter the field without intimidation. Prepare yourself for a classical duo recording that will blow your mind, then dive right in. Hot stuff throughout.

Volume 37/Number 123
March 4, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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