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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1997 | Decca (UMO)

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
Gordon Fergus-Thompson has been praised for his interpretation of French "Impressionist" music, with much of his reputation based on this collection of Debussy's Complete Piano Music, and deservedly so. He achieves a clarity of sound that allows you to note details in the music, such as in the Toccata of Pour le Piano and Poissons d'or, but his performances are still richly colorful and marked with smoothness and suppleness. There is a restraint in the forte passages and in dramatic moments, but it doesn't feel forced, and there are still dynamic contrasts between loud and soft, between calm and animated. The Preludes, Book 1, are an excellent example of those contrasts, ranging from the tumult of Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest to the gracefulness of La fille aux cheveux de lin. He takes the pieces in the Children's Corner and the waltz La plus que lente faster than many pianists, and also in the Children's Corner, he applies a little too much sophistication and coloration. Other than that, however, Fergus-Thompson seems to have a natural control over every touch of key or pedal that makes all of Debussy's pieces sound technically easy and musically organic. This set could easily be a benchmark by which you judge other performances. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1979 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca (UMO)

One of the most successful male choirs in the U.K., the Fron Male Voice Choir also has a claim to fame of inspiring a young Luciano Pavarotti to begin a singing career. Voices of the Valley: Memory Lane is the choir's fourth album, featuring classic songs such as "Hey Jude" and "Ferry Cross the Mersey," as well as more traditional offerings like "Land of Hope and Glory." © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1955 | Decca (UMO)

Ferenc Fricsay's The Magic Flute from 1955 is one of the first great recordings of the work, and it remains a compelling listen today. Rita Streich's Queen of the Night can be considered one of the best ever: crystal clear in tone, fiery in mood, and rock solid on the all-important high notes. A 30-year-old Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau makes an agreeably youthful Papageno, singing with personality and lyricism. Maria Stader's Pamina is lighter in voice than most on record, but very convincing. And Ernst Haefliger brings youthful intensity to the role of Tamino. Josef Greindl has the right weight and gravity for the vocally low-lying Sarastro, but he frequently sings under pitch and allows long melodic lines to lose their intensity. The secondary players, including Martin Vantin as a freakishly sotto voce Monostatos, all deliver solid performances. Fricsay's tempos and approach to the orchestra are ahead of their time, rarely dragging or sounding overdone. One strange aspect of the recording is that each of the main characters' dialogue is voiced by a separate actor, rather than the singer, resulting in a jarring vocal discontinuity between sung and spoken scenes. The sound is what you'd expect from 1955: rather distant and lacking in depth. For that reason, this will probably appeal only to collectors and students of the opera. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1992 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca (UMO)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2011 | Decca (UMO)

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Jazz - Released July 26, 2019 | Decca (UMO)

Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Sessions 1969 is truly a "lost" album that's a jazz holy grail on par with Tubby Hayes' 1968 albums Mexican Green and 100% Proof. Cut with a smoking new band with whom he was trying to re-establish himself as a viable musician after two years of health problems, arrests, and other mishaps, this amounts to his last great album. The session reels containing it sat in boxes until 2014 when Decca/Universal hired high-end vinyl specialists Gearbox Studios to master the sessions for the first time and deliver new lacquers. While the album was assembled from multiple takes, Hayes' diary designated the final lineup's keepers. Hayes was a consummate jazz musician -- arguably the greatest of 20th century England. His band here -- Spike Wells on drums, pianist Mike Pyne, and bassist Ron Mathewson -- roars through five mid-length to long tunes in sessions that were as loose as they were swinging. Opener "For Members Only" is counted off by Hayes and set into motion by Wells. After a couple of different "endings" in the intro, the jam kicks into gear with Hayes in muscular form, his solo fleet, wildly imaginative, and harmonically astonishing as it encompasses his own developmental ideas and fascinations with the jazz vanguard and blues-inspired language. Wells, who made his recorded debut here, swings like mad but keeps Mathewson and his meaty yet lofty ideas grounded, while Pyne delivers fat comps, vamps, and a tight solo. "Rumpus" is a monument to high musicality. This version is a first take, and its knotty construction crisscrosses the intricate athleticism of bop with its knotty head joined to the more physically demanding modal hard bop of John Coltrane during the Atlantic period. Hayes' solo is dazzling in its complexity and feeling, with the rhythm section carving out space for him to explore. The title cut is a finger-popping hard bop groover; it offers dexterous, even competitive interplay between Hayes and Mathewson. A pair of covers round out the set. The first is a gorgeous, deeply felt version of Duke Pearson's immortal ballad "You Know That I Care," in which Hayes delivers both the lushness and deep emotion that makes fools of critics who claimed he was all flash and no feeling. The sprightly articulation of the Latin-ized rhythmic invention in "Where Am I Going?" by Cy Coleman closes the set as Wells pushes the band into a humid groove while Hayes and Mathewson communicate directly. Pyne moves from sharp montunos to elegant, even romantic post-bop swing as Hayes matches cadenzas with short phrases and seamless arpeggios. The sound is pristine; it that matches the soulfulness and technical proficiency of the playing, and Hayes' biographer Simon Spilett penned the copious liner notes. Grits, Beans and Greens: The Lost Fontana Studio Sessions 1969 presents itself as a bona fide jazz holy grail. Hopefully, along with the documentary Tubby Hayes: A Man in a Hurry, it will spark a true critical and popular reappraisal of Hayes' work. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca (UMO)

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Jazz - Released June 1, 2015 | Decca (UMO)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
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Vocal Jazz - Released June 1, 2015 | Decca (UMO)

On 2012's The Absence, Melody Gardot made her first shift away from the jazz-tinged ballads that drew such heavy comparisons to Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux. Lushly orchestrated, it was chock-full of songs inspired by Brazilian, Latin, and French forms. On Currency of Man, Gardot takes on a rootsier sound, embracing West Coast soul, funk, gospel, and pop from the early '70s as the backdrop for these songs. It is not only different musically, but lyrically. This is a less "personal" record; its songs were deeply influenced by the people she encountered in L.A., many of them street denizens. She tells their stories and reflects on themes of social justice. It's wide angle. Produced by Larry Klein, the cast includes members of her band, crack session players -- guitarist Dean Parks, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Larry Goldings, the Waters Sisters, et al. -- and strings and horns. The title track is a funky blues with a rumbling bassline, dramatic strings (à la Motown) and fat horns. Gardot uses the lens of Sam Cooke to testify to the inevitability of change: "We all hopin’ for the day that the powers see abdication and run/Said it gonna come…." First single "Preacherman" is similar, employing a wrangling, smoldering blues that indicts racism in the 20st century by referring to the violent death of Emmett Till, a catalyst in the then-emergent Civil Rights movement. A driving B-3, saxophone, and menacing lead guitar ratchet up the tension to explosive. A gospel chorus mournfully affirms Gardot's vocal as a harmonica moans in the background. "Morning Sun" and closer "Once I Was Loved" are tender ballads that emerge from simple, hymn-like themes and quietly resonant with conviction. "Same to You" evokes the spirit of Dusty Springfield atop the punchy horns from her Memphis period, albeit with a West Coast sheen. The nylon-string guitar in "Don't Misunderstand" recalls Bill Withers' earthy funkiness. The song's a groover, but it's also a warning to a possessive lover. "Don't Talk" uses spooky polyrhythms (à la Tom Waits) as brooding, spacy slide guitars, B-3, and backing singers slice through forbidding blues under Gardot's voice. "If Ever I Recall Your Face" is jazzier, a 21st century take on the film noir ballad with glorious strings arranged by Clément Ducol that rise above a ghostly piano. "Bad News" simultaneously looks back at L.A.'s Central Avenue and burlesque scenes. It's a jazz-blues with a sauntering horn section, snaky electric guitar, and squawking saxophone solo. Vocally, Gardot is stronger than ever here, her instrument is bigger and fuller yet it retains that spectral smokiness that is her trademark. Currency of Man is a further step away from the lithe, winsome pop-jazz that garnered her notice initially, and it's a welcome one. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 25, 2019 | Decca (UMO)

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