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Rock - Released September 9, 2011 | Parlophone UK

This 2011 Jethro Tull collection from EMI doesn't offer up any surprises, but it does provide a wealth of material for a single-disc retrospective. Tull, due in part to their penchant for art rock epics, have always been a difficult act to build an overview around, but the 16 tracks that make up this U.K. import manage to both represent and flow. Built around obvious cuts like "Aqualung," "Living in the Past," "Bungle in the Jungle," and "Locomotive Breath," and peppered with fan favorites such as "Thick as a Brick [Edit No. 1]," "Bouree," and "Witches Promise," Essential may paint with familiar colors, but it uses surprisingly broad strokes. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Classical - Released November 25, 2005 | Parlophone UK

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Classical - Released November 25, 2005 | Parlophone UK

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Classical - Released February 2, 2004 | Parlophone UK

Monica Huggett's recording of the complete Bach Solo Partitas & Sonatas is a difficult one to peg, and listeners are likely to have widely differing opinions depending on what their priorities are in a good Bach recording. The strong points in Huggett's recording are plentiful. For starters, her sound quality is magnificently pure and unforced. Throughout the two-disc set, there's not even a hint of her Amati violin being pushed too hard, nor any chord being crunched. As a student of Baroque violin, Huggett infuses her playing with nuances of sound, articulation, and bow speed appropriate to period performance practice. Intonation is equally exceptional to a degree not often found in even the most popular recordings of these works. What some listeners may find as a downside is Huggett's sense of pacing. She makes frequent alterations to the tempo of each movement, often interrupting phrases in an attempt to highlight particular musical ideas. However, these interruptions are too extreme and too frequent and the result is generally a lack of a consistent musical line. The fugues of the three sonatas, for example, are very disjoined as Huggett overemphasizes the shift of the subject between registers. Still, her technique is quite dazzling, and in instances where she allows her phrases to flow without interruption (as in the Corrente of the Second Partita) her interpretation can be quite satisfying, though inconsistent. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Parlophone UK

How does one evaluate a best-of compilation by a legendary band who's released several such collections already? Frankly, most, if not all, of these selections have appeared on Jethro Tull hits collections and, in many cases, multiple times. And after decades of being critical of record companies capitalizing off artists by releasing one greatest-hits album after another, frontman Ian Anderson decided to choose the actual tracks for this album. The ironic thing is, this Tull collection is no different than those that preceded it, except that perhaps maximum disc space was utilized here, as it's comprised of 20 tracks and 78 minutes of music. There's nothing new here for avid Jethro Tull fans, and curious potential fans have at least a dozen other retrospectives to choose from. © Dave Sleger /TiVo
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Classical - Released December 31, 1998 | Parlophone UK

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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released September 14, 1992 | Parlophone UK

After the '70s, Jethro Tull struggled with each album to update their sound, but kept falling short with out-of-place synthesizers and drum machines. Three attempts at harder-rocking albums were followed by the Little Light Music tour in 1992, one which took a step back into a relaxing semi-acoustic setting. This album, a document of that May's European shows, should be treasured by fans looking for something more than the 10,000th performance of "Aqualung" (although it does contain the 10,001st performance of "Locomotive Breath"). The playing highlights the gentlest musical abilities of Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, bassist/mandolinist Dave Pegg, and temporary drummer Dave Mattacks (Pegg's Fairport Convention buddy). Old favorites are rearranged alongside rarely performed tunes from the Tull catalog. The quieter numbers ("Life Is a Long Song") and instrumentals ("Look into the Sun") come off best in this club-like atmosphere, although the production is a little chilly. © Patrick Little /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

The group's second album, with Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, balalaika), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glen Cornick (bass), solidified the group's sound. There is still an element of blues, but except for "A New Day Yesterday," it is far more muted than on their first album, as Mick Abrahams' blues stylings are largely absent from Martin Barre's playing. The influence of folk music also began to manifest itself ("Look Into the Sun"). The instrumental "Bouree," which could've been an early Blood, Sweat & Tears track, became a favorite concert number, although at this point Anderson's flute playing on-stage needed a lot of work; by his own admission, he just wasn't that good. Bassist Cornick would last through only one more album, but he gets his best moments here, on "Bouree." As a story song with opaque lyrics and jarring tempo changes, "Back to the Family" is the forerunner to Thick as a Brick. The only major flaw in this album is the mix, which divides the electric and acoustic instruments and fails to find a solid center. The LP comes with a "pop-up" jacket interior. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

Not only are there an awful lot of Jethro Tull compilations, there are a ton of comprehensive multi-disc collections in their catalog, so it's very easy to confuse the individual albums. For instance, the 1993 double-disc set The Best of Jethro Tull is billed as a digitally remastered album, which gives the impression that it is a remastered version of an older set, when it is actually a new collection culled from remastered tapes. Basically, this set is unnecessary for collectors, who will certainly have everything here, and any casual fan who already has a collection -- whether it's the original M.U. or any of the many box sets -- won't need this. But casual fans looking for a comprehensive yet fairly concise anthology should choose this best-of since it does have all the hits and key album tracks among its 36 songs, all presented in good remastered sound. It's not worth replacing an existing compilation in your collection, but if you need a Tull set, this is a good choice. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

The group's second album, with Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitars, keyboards, balalaika), Martin Barre (electric guitar, flute), Clive Bunker (drums), and Glen Cornick (bass), solidified the group's sound. There is still an element of blues, but except for "A New Day Yesterday," it is far more muted than on their first album, as Mick Abrahams' blues stylings are largely absent from Martin Barre's playing. The influence of folk music also began to manifest itself ("Look Into the Sun"). The instrumental "Bouree," which could've been an early Blood, Sweat & Tears track, became a favorite concert number, although at this point Anderson's flute playing on-stage needed a lot of work; by his own admission, he just wasn't that good. Bassist Cornick would last through only one more album, but he gets his best moments here, on "Bouree." As a story song with opaque lyrics and jarring tempo changes, "Back to the Family" is the forerunner to Thick as a Brick. The only major flaw in this album is the mix, which divides the electric and acoustic instruments and fails to find a solid center. The LP comes with a "pop-up" jacket interior. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

For a time, Repeat: The Best of Jethro Tull, Vol. 2 held the distinction of being the band's lowest-charting album (and by a wide margin, at that). This little tidbit of information usually engenders an internal dialogue along the lines of one of two things: the album must have little merit or the timing of its release was inopportune. The answer, is both...and neither. Repeat is an excellent sampler from their career to date, but M.U. had uncontested first choice of the white meat; thus "To Cry You a Song" is tapped as the second-round pick from Benefit, "Thick as a Brick Edit #4" from its namesake, etc. However, unless you're one of those Tull fans who grew disillusioned with the band after Benefit, Repeat is a better listen than M.U. (which charted much higher, by the way). Kicking off with "Minstrel in the Gallery," storming into "Cross-Eyed Mary" next, digging out the searing "New Day Yesterday" from deep in their pockets, the choices are for the most part unimpeachable. So the timing of the release must have been bad, right? Actually, M.U.'s was worse -- sandwiched three months after Minstrel in the Gallery, three months before Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll, Chrysalis was guilty of glutting the market. It's true that the timing of a second best-of compilation was premature, but Repeat at least filled a proper void of 14 months between albums. And so this record's lukewarm reception remains something of a conundrum. No matter now, since over a long career this compilation remains an excellent entry point into Jethro Tull's most fertile period. Petty observations aside -- such as the decision to include two more tracks from Stand Up at the expense of Living in the Past or anything from This Was -- this album is quality material, and the addition of an unreleased gem, "Glory Row," is icing indeed. © Dave Connolly /TiVo
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