Category Archives: CDs

What a way to celebrate this year’s end: A never-before-released live recording by Ella Fitzgerald

Forget the champagne and finger sandwiches. The best way to close out the year is with the important Verve Records and UMe release, the last gem celebrating their year-long celebration of Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial.  More than 60 years after it was recorded, Ella At Zardi’s will finally be released on CD and digital December 1. 

Recorded on February 2, 1956 at Zardi’s Jazzland in Hollywood, Ella At Zardi’s features the entirety of the evening’s two-set, 21-song performance, which captures an inspired Fitzgerald, backed by a stellar trio comprised of pianist Don Abney, bassist Vernon Alley and drummer Frank Capp, singing and swinging in front of an animated, adoring crowd, just days before she’d go on to record the album that would catapult her to stardom.

The concert was originally recorded by Norman Granz to celebrate the creation of, and Fitzgerald’s signing to, Verve Records, which Granz founded largely to give Fitzgerald the attention that he felt she wasn’t receiving at her then-current label, Decca. Ella At Zardi’s was planned as the label’s inaugural release but shelved in favor of the now-classic studio album Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, which kicked off a best-selling, signature series of Song Book releases. The Zardi’s tapes languished in Verve’s vaults for six decades.

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Ella At Zardi’s captures the brilliance and inspiration Fitzgerald’s performances embodied at the time. As veteran jazz journalist Kirk Silsbee observes in the album’s liner notes, “We can hear a fluid and joyous singer who operates with almost giddy authority. Ella manages to find a way of swinging almost every number, no matter the tempo. Ella uses her intelligent phrasing and rhythmic sense in inventive and exhilarating ways. Her repertoire was vast and she didn’t always remember the correct lyrics of a song. But the way she spontaneously redesigns the text in the most musical of ways is Fitzgerald’s signature.”

Ella At Zardi’s caps off Verve/UMe’s slate of releases in celebration of “Ella 100,” which has included the four-CD set 100 Songs For A Centennial; the six-LP vinyl box set Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George & Ira Gershwin Song Books and Someone to Watch Over Me, which marries Fitzgerald’s vocals with new instrumental tracks by the London Symphony Orchestra. The centennial has also seen the first-ever digital releases of her rare early singles for the Decca label.

Ella At Zardi’s stands out for its history-making rediscovery of a vintage performance by one of jazz’s greatest artists. As Granz enthuses in his stage introduction, “This is for real; for me she’s the greatest there is—Miss Ella Fitzgerald!”

Diana Ross’ “new” album is (she promises) a “special gift”, sent to her fans “with love”

There ain’t no mountain high enough, but Motown/UMe has scaled pretty high. On November 15, they unleash Diana Ross’ “new” album, Diamond Diana: The Legacy Collection, a memorable music journey that celebrates her iconic legacy. The 15-song collection contains some of Miss Ross’ biggest hits of her career. The CD also includes a special gift to her fans: an exciting new dance club remix of her No. 1 hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Coos the 73-year-old Miss Ross: “I send this special gift to you all. This collection is from my heart to yours, and I send my love, thanks and appreciation to you for my joyous amazing journey. It’s so much fun.”

Ross will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Music Awards on November 19, during which the show will pay tribute to her remarkable career. Ross’ impact in music, film, television, fashion and popular culture is unprecedented. A renowned superstar, she is one of the most successful and influential recording legends and iconic entertainers of all time.

Diamond Diana: The Legacy Collection track listing:

  1. I’m Coming Out
  2. More Today Than Yesterday
  3. The Boss
  4. It’s My House
  5. Endless Love *
  6. Upside Down
  7. You Can’t Hurry Love **
  8. Touch Me In The Morning
  9. Love Hangover
  10. Take Me Higher
  11. It’s My Turn
  12. Why Do Fools Fall In Love
  13. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
  14. Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)
  15. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – The ANMHE ‘Diamond Diana’ (Remix)
    *   with Lionel Richie
    ** with The Supremes

Spend time with Babs Streisand gabbing while on her shrink’s couch

Looking to relax on the couch and read about Babs’ loves and lifestyle? Yearning to learn just what makes Mrs. James Brolin tick (and tock)?

The On the Couch series by Alma Bond, Ph.D. gives readers an opportunity to discover the “secret” lives of Marilyn, Hillary and Jackie O through the eyes of renowned New York psychoanalyst, Dr. Darcy Dale. According to the powers-that-be, “the fictionalized biographies provided a unique and revealing perspective of their lives.”

In Barbra Streisand: On the Couch  (Bancroft Press, $27.95), Bond captures the details found in other biographies dedicated to the life of Babs in a way that provides deep insight into her personality and character. Dr. Darcy Dale―a Madhattan psychiatrist whose expertise is confronted by Babs, dismayed after 30 years of minimally successful therapy.

Throughout a year, Dr. Dale conducts an intimate psychoanalysis, breaking through ego defense mechanisms, and repressions to go deep into the heart and mind of one of America’s last remaining superstars. Babs’ many dimensions come alive as we hear her story in her own words. She fluctuates between self-inflation and insecurity. She cracks wise. She becomes angry. She weeps. For better or worse, Dr. Dale sees her client in all of her raw, most human, aspects, giving readers unprecedented access to her pain and joy.

Babs is funny, a bit abrasive, but very intelligent. Bond provides interesting insights into what Barbra could have been thinking during pinnacle times in her life, and her state of mind from a psychoanalyst’s point of view. While this book is technically fiction, the facts themselves are all true. Only the thoughts and feelings attributed to Barbra are fictitious, along with the story of her “analysis.” Dr. Bond’s extensive research into the life of Streisand, along with her professional knowledge of psychology and her beautiful style of writing, give fans of Barbra’s work and her persona fresh insight into a complicated woman, making this biography “thoroughly enjoyable,” according to Kitty Kelley, who used to write unauthorized celeb bios about every three days.

The book contains no photographs (an obvious money/legal reason) but a slew of rather unattractive illustrations. Funny, girl.

 

Music mavens have only one request from Santa: The massive “Unearthed”, a Johnny Cash canon

In the last decade of a career that spanned half a century, Johnny Cash capped off his musical legend with a breathtaking final act, recording a series of raw, stripped-down albums with producer Rick Rubin. Those albums reestablished Cash as a vital artist, while adding a remarkable closing chapter to his incredible body of work.

In November 2003, two months after Cash’s passing, Rubin’s label American Recordings released Unearthed, an expansive box set of material, most of it previously unreleased, recorded during the artist’s graceful twilight years. The set was originally planned to celebrate Cash and Rubin’s decade of recording together, and the final mixes had been sent to Cash, but he passed away before receiving them. The recordings, which run the stylistic gamut from stark balladry to punchy rockabilly to heartfelt gospel to classic covers, offer a stunning encapsulation of Cash’s wide-ranging musical vision, and provide a fitting epitaph for his iconic career.

To celebrate the Man in Black’s enduring and influential legacy, American Recordings and UMe have reconfigured this monolithic collection for its first-ever vinyl release, spreading Unearthed’s 79 songs over nine high-quality 180-gram vinyl LPs while expanding the original box’s distinctive packaging for the long-playing format.

Available November 3, the Unearthed vinyl box features a pair of cloth-bound books housed in an LP-sized black cloth slipcase. One book holds the nine LPs, while the other is a gorgeous 60-page coffee table book that incorporates Sylvie Simmons’ extensive liner notes, drawn from five days of interviews at Cash’s home in Tennessee, as well as Cash and Rubin’s comments on every song on the set, plus a copious selection of photographs from the recording sessions, including some of the last photos ever taken of Cash. Preorder Unearthed now: https://UMe.lnk.to/JohnnyCashUnearthed

Unearthed is divided into five thematic sections. Who’s Gonna Cry focuses on acoustic solo recordings, and finds Cash revisiting several classic songs from his legendary catalog. Trouble In Mind is oriented towards electric performances, and includes guest appearances by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Carl Perkins and members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as Cash’s wife and longtime duet partner June Carter Cash. Redemption Songs is largely acoustic, and features duets with Joe Strummer, Fiona Apple, Nick Cave and Glen Campbell. My Mother’s Hymn Book demonstrates Cash’s lifelong affinity for gospel music, encompassing 15 time-honored gospel standards. Best of Cash On American offers a memorable 15-song selection of highlights from Cash’s first four albums with Rubin.

Indeed, in the years since Cash’s passing, the artist’s legend has grown and his music has gained in power.  It’s hard to think of a more appropriate and impressive sendoff for this one-of-a-kind American original than the massive musical statement that is Unearthed.

Universal Music Enterprises releases a double-vinyl LP “Moulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film”

Excited about the news from Universal Music Enterprises? Oui! Oui!

For the first time, the company has released a double-vinyl LP edition of Moulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film, the 2001 soundtrack which accompanied the release of his acclaimed motion picture. In addition to its standard black-vinyl release, the anniversary LP will also be released in a limited colored-vinyl edition that will be available exclusively through the online retailer, uDiscover.

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The film, a modern classic, is widely regarded as a reinvention of the film musical. Before the popularization of the mash-up, the “Elephant Love Medley” brought together a distillation of the twentieth century’s great songs into an argument-in-song between the Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. “Lady Marmalade” created a one-time-only super group. The album purposefully brought together an eclectic cross-section of artists and music creators to make a definitive musical statement at the dawn of the new millennium.  Where else can one hear the likes of Bono, Rufus Wainwright, Beck, David Bowie, Jose Feliciano, and Fatboy Slim all joining in a unified musical gesture?

“We wanted to celebrate the great songs of the twentieth century as a lens through which to view the world of the turn-of-the-century Paris Belle Epoque, while remaining visceral and relevant to the audience watching the film in 2001,” coos Baz Luhrmann.

The album is best known for its first single, “Lady Marmalade,” re-recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink, produced by Missy Elliott and writing partner Rockwilder, with the lyrics transposing the original location from New Orleans to the title Paris nightclub.  “Lady Marmalade” reached #1 in its eighth week on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, spending five weeks at the top of the chart, the third airplay-only song in Billboard chart history to hit #1 without being released as a commercially available single. The soundtrack album debuted at #5, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200, while topping the charts in Australia and New Zealand. It eventually reached #1 on the Top Soundtracks chart and was certified in April, 2002, double-platinum.

The song earned a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and MTV Video Music Awards for Best Video of the Year and Best Video from a Film, along with nominations for Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video, Best Choreography and Best Art Direction. The album was Grammy-nominated in the category of Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Luhrmann (along with music supervisor Anton Monsted, under the music production pseudonym BLAM), is a co-producer on cast recordings on the album. Luhrmann, along with music director Marius DeVries, oversaw all of the cast recordings for the film during pre-production.

The album includes Beck’s “Diamond Dogs” and Bono, Gavin Friday and Maurice Seezer’s take on T. Rex’s “Children of the Revolution,” among the highlights. Other tracks include Ewan McGregor and Alessandro Safina’s take on Elton John’s “Your Song,” Nicole Kidman and McGregor’s love song, “Come What May,” originally composed by David Baerwald and Kevin Gilbert for Luhrmann’s previous film, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, but first heard here.

No doubt abut the success of No Doubt; they were never trapped in a box

No doubt about it:  No Doubt‘s eponymous 1992 debut   album   introduced  the world to a one-of-a-kind band that would soon dominate the music world with their dynamic sound. With such early hits as “Trapped   In A Box” exemplifying the group’s original ska-pop sound, No Doubt kicked off the band’s career with a bang, laying   the   groundwork for the   multi-platinum   success   that they’d achieve over the next twenty-plus years.

On November 10, UMe celebrates the 25th anniversary of No Doubt’s original release with a sparkling new vinyl edition of the album that originally put No Doubt on the map.   In addition to marking the debut disc’s first-ever vinyl release, the new LP will be pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl.  Additionally, exclusive limited-edition colored-vinyl versions will be available through No Doubt’s official website, as well as the online retail sites uDiscover and The Sound of Vinyl.  In addition to the album’s original front cover art, the back cover of the new vinyl edition features   a never-before-seen   band   photo   from the original photo session by photographer Chris Cuffaro.

No Doubt—Gwen Stefani on vocals, her brother Eric Stefani on keyboards, guitarist Tom Dumont, bassist Tony Kanal and drummer Adrian Young—originally became a local sensation on their Southern California home turf, before bursting onto the national and international scenes with an effervescent, new-wave infused sound that offered an upbeat alternative to the angst-driven grunge-rock that dominated the charts at the time.cid:image003.jpg@01D341CC.BC588CD0

No Doubt’s early ska leanings are balanced on the album by a state-of-the-art pop sensibility that manifests itself on such tunes as “Let’s Get Back,” “Move On” and “Get On The Ball.”    Although the debut album was not a major hit at the time of its original release, it emerged as a fan favorite as No Doubt subsequently became one of their era’s most popular bands.

After releasing No Doubt, the band would score a series of smash singles and  massively  popular  albums  like  Tragic Kingdom,  Return  of Saturn,  Rock Steady  and Push and Shove, helping  to  secure  Gwen, Tony,  Tom  and  Adrian  their  place  in the   American    rock   music   pantheon.   The   band’s   massive success can be traced back to No Doubt, whose definitive new vinyl edition cements its pivotal place in pop history.

 

For the first time, all of Ella and Louis’ classic duets are in one neat package: “Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings”

By the time Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong collaborated on their first duet together, they were each already jazz giants. Fitzgerald was an acclaimed solo artist for Decca with many hits and more than 200 songs under her young belt, first with the Chick Webb Orchestra and then as leader of her own big band. Armstrong, known affectionately as Pops, was one of the leading singers, trumpet players and entertainers of the day; a star of both sound and screen. Together their talent knew no bounds and propelled them further to stardom, and today are some of the biggest highlights of both of their extraordinary careers.

For the first time, all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong’s classic duets are in one place: Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings, a new 4-CD and digital set will hit shelves November 10.

 

Part of Ella 100, Verve Records/UMe’s yearlong celebration of Fitzgerald’s centennial, the 75-track collection gathers their three timeless Verve albums–newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess–along with all of their Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded as a warm-up for Ella and Louis, plus several alternates and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras, illuminating their craft and good humor. Cheek To Cheek also includes unreleased material:“The Memphis Blues,” with Bing Crosby, from his radio show; several takes of Armstrong’s solo showcase, “Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess;” and an instrumental mix of “Red-Headed Woman.”

The comprehensive collection is rounded out with extensive essay by Ricky Riccardi, the world’s leading authority on Armstrong, plus detailed annotations and rare images from the archives.  Need it fast? Pre-order Cheek To CheekUMe.lnk.to/CheekToCheek4CD

In addition to gathering all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong’s duets, Cheek To Cheek also gives a unique opportunity to hear what it was like to be in the studio with these two titans. The closing disc is rife with a bevy of alternate takes and false starts, displaying their camaraderie, with many previously unreleased, until now.

We love them, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And we have a story to tell

We love ’em . . . yeah yeah yeah.

The group is a bit hotter now than ever: They have released a vinyl reissue of their seminal, ground-breaking debut, Fever To Tell,  through Interscope Records/UMe. The album will be available as a Limited Edition Deluxe Box, Standard LP and Digital deluxe and standard remastered editions.

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“A friend of a friend kept asking if we were ever gonna put Fever To Tell out on vinyl as it hasn’t been on vinyl in 10 years,” all three guys said at the same time. “That’s not right. So here it is on vinyl for the first time in 10 years plus a time capsule of photos, demos (such as our first ever recorded), a mini film documenting our near downfall and other fun memorabilia, from the turn of the century NYC, made with love plus the usual blood, sweat + tears of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.”

One of the finest debut albums of recent times, Fever To Tell was released in 2003 and was influential in shaping the sound of the early aughts and beyond. Prior to its release, Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase had already established themselves as a ferocious live force; the recording introduced a band who could play thrilling and frenetic rock’n’roll one minute and captivating, hushed ballads the next. Its meld of scuzzy riffs, angular grooves and hypnotic hooks set a template that was often imitated over the next decade but the album’s rare chemistry isn’t easily replicated. It’s a snapshot of an era that sounds just as mesmerizing as it enters its 15th anniversary in 2018.

In celebration of and in addition to the reissue, the band has announced shows; a full list of dates is below.  More info and ticket links at yeahyeahyeahs.com

Oct 28             Long Beach, CA         Growlers 6 Festival

Nov 7              Brooklyn, NY             Kings Theatre

Nov 10             Austin, TX                 Sound on Sound Festival

Dolly Parton at 71: Her first kiddie album and so much work she looks like a kid (of sorts)

That bosom buddy Dolly Parton is doing another first. No, not another breast reduction. (The last time we spoke, she confided her 40DD bust were “hurting my back”.)

We’re not kidding around when we reveal the 71-year-old is releasing  I Believe In You, her first album written and recorded for kids (and those young-at-heart). A digital release of the new album on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville will be available September 29; the physical CD hits shelves October 13.  We ask that Dolly accepts aging and stop the plastic work.

Dolly Parton: I Believe In You
“My first album was released 50 years ago and it’s been an amazing 50 years since then,” Dolly coos. “I am very excited that now I’m coming out with my first children’s album in all of those 50 years. I’m proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library. It’s been 20 years since the Imagination Library was launched. We’ve seen 100 million books get into the hands of children and hopefully there will be many more.”
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Since its beginning in 1996 in Dolly’s hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, the Imagination Library has expanded into four countries serving more than one-million children by providing a brand new, age-appropriate book each month. In North America, every child’s first book is the classic Little Engine that Could.

I Believe In You Track Listing

  1. I Believe in You
  2. Coat of Many Colors (new recording)
  3. Together Forever
  4. I Am a Rainbow
  5. I’m Here
  6. A Friend Like You
  7. Imagination
  8. You Can Do It
  9. Responsibility
  10. You Gotta Be
  11. Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny
  12. Chemo Hero
  13. Brave Little Soldier
  14. Bonus track spoken audio: Coat of Many Colors (book read by Dolly Parton)

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner is celebrated with the stinging “The Complete Studio Collection”

This is a Sting we welcome this summer. A&M/Interscope Records/Deutsche Grammophon are releasing The Complete Studio Collection on June 9, a massive set that compasses the entirety of Sting’s illustrious solo studio album catalog on 180 gram heavyweight vinyl. It’s all here, from his 1985 debut album The Dream Of The Blue Turtles through to the latest 57th & 9th. Indeed, The Complete Studio Collection is the first ever complete anthology of Sting’s unparalleled solo career.cid:image001.jpg@01D2CD64.A04250D0

Following the release of the now sold-out The Studio Collection box set via A&M/Interscope Records, The Complete Studio Collection includes all of the A&M/Interscope Records catalog plus his Deutsche Grammophon discography–Songs From The Labyrinth (2006), If On A Winter’s Night… (2009) and Symphonicities (2010)–in addition to his new album 57th & 9th; bringing together all 12 solo studio albums for the first time.

For fans who purchased the original The Studio Collection box set, a separate bundle has been specially created entitled The Studio Collection: Volume II that contains the 4 newly added albums–Songs From The Labyrinth, If On A Winter’s Night…, Symphonicities and 57th & 9th–with space within the set for all of the remaining albums to create The Complete Studio Collection.

All of the included catalog LPs are presented in meticulous reproductions of their original artwork with new vinyl masters cut at the world-renowned Abbey Road Studios to ensure the highest possible audio quality throughout.

The Complete Studio Collection highlights the incredible full range of Sting’s seminal songwriting, inimitable storytelling, and awe-inspiring arrangements through a myriad of musical styles. From the jazz-infused politically-charged The Dream Of The Blue Turtles to the deft pop song-craft of …Nothing Like The Sun, the globetrotting Brand New Day to the evocative electronica of Sacred Love, through to the exploration of complex classical forms in Songs From The Labyrinth, expanding in magnitude and concept on  If On A Winter’s Night…, and further developing into the genre-melding orchestral expanse Symphonicities, before finally culminating in the triumphant return to pop/rock on 57th & 9th; The Complete Studio Collection showcases all facets of the ever-evolving and truly inspirational artistry of Sting.

Sting will also be awarded the 2017 Polar Music Prize, which celebrates the power and importance of music and is given to individuals, groups or institutions for international recognition of excellence in the world of music. The Polar Music Prize ceremony is on June 15 in Stockholm, Sweden in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family.