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Monday at the Movies: Mancini, Williams, Newman and Jones Revisited, Plus Disney Expands “Cinderella” in “Lost Chords” Series

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It’s not quite time yet for the long goodbye to new announcements for 2012, but for Quartet Records, it is time for The Long Goodbye.  John Williams’ score to Robert Altman’s 1973 film leads off another group of essential new buys for soundtrack fans and collectors.  Quartet is pairing The Long Goodbye with a late-period Henry Mancini classic, the score to Blake Edwards’ 1988 comedy-western Sunset.  But that’s not all.  Kritzerland has a true “wow” release with a gloriously restored stereo premiere soundtrack to Alfred Newman’s score for the 1951 epic David and Bathsheba.  Varese Sarabande has just unearthed a rather unusual album involving both Quincy Jones and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Walt Disney Records is preparing an expanded edition of the score to Walt Disney’s animated classic, Cinderella.  Whew!  Welcome to Monday at the Movies!

David and Bathsheba wasn’t only epic on screen; the Darryl F. Zanuck production for 20th Century Fox also did epic business upon its initial release.  The recipient of five Academy Award nominations and $7 million in domestic box-office rentals, it became not only the biggest-grossing film in Fox history to that date, but also the top box-office draw for any studio the entire year of 1951.  Henry King directed from a script by Phillip Dunne, and Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward starred as the titular lovers.  The passionate story required stirring, sweeping themes, and they were provided by Fox’s in-house legend, Alfred Newman.  In just 11 years at Fox (out of an eventual 20), Newman had already racked up eleven years into his four Academy Awards and another twenty-four nominations for his scores, and his contributions to David and Bathsheba did not go unnoticed by the critics.

Newman’s David and Bathsheba was previously released on CD by Intrada in a 55-minute presentation from the best sources available at the time: optical mono tracks and transcription discs, plus one stereo bonus track.  That was 2005.  Fast-forward to the present day.  The complete stereo tracks have been discovered and prepared for an unforgettable, 78-minute sonic experience from Kritzerland.  According to the label, “those [stereo] tracks, in superb condition, were lovingly transferred and aligned resulting in a breathtaking stereo presentation, perhaps one of the best-sounding recordings of any score of this vintage.  It is, in a word, spectacular.  For fans of biblical film music, music of the Golden Age of film scoring, and one of the greatest film composers of all time, the CD is a must.”  ‘Nuff said, friends.  David and Bathsheba is a 1,500-copy limited edition and can be pre-ordered now, directly from Kritzerland.  It’s due by the third week of October, but pre-orders from the label usually arrive one to five weeks earlier than the announced date.

The Long Goodbye (a 1,000-copy edition from Quartet) marks the first complete release of John Williams’ score to the Raymond Chandler-inspired film starring Elliot Gould as Philip Marlowe.  It’s one of Williams’ most unusual efforts, as Altman requested that one adaptable single theme be crafted for use in numerous different versions.   Hence, “The Long Goodbye” is presented as a vocal pop tune, a tango, a blues, a love theme, a “hippie” version on sitar and even a mariachi-flecked Mexican interpretation!

Despite its adventurous nature (or perhaps because of it!), no album of The Long Goodbye was released at the time of the film, and a 45 RPM single slated for release was shelved.  Finally, in 2004, Varese Sarabande premiered 23 minutes of highlights accompanying “Johnny” Williams’ music for Fitzwilly.  For Quartet’s new edition, a number of sources were employed.  A search of the MGM vaults revealed two tapes containing new versions of the theme: an alternate by Dave Grusin, a jazz piano version by Williams himself, and some takes from the underscore. To present the completed score, Quartet then turned to two different 35 mm magnetic music stems in mono for the remaining cues. Finally, a trio of bonus tracks rounds out the album: an ad-lib vocal from singer Clydie King, a rehearsal of the beach house party chorus with Jack Riley and King singing with the crowd, and a rehearsal of the solo violin for “Tango Version.”   Quartet’s complete edition of The Long Goodbye features a new, 24-page booklet with liner notes penned by Randall D. Larson.

Henry Mancini’s score to Sunset marked one of the composer’s final collaborations with Blake Edwards, the writer and director with whom he began one of the longest associations in Hollywood history with 1958’s theme to Peter Gunn.  Bruce Willis, James Garner, Malcolm McDowell and Mariel Hemingway starred in Edwards’ fantastic fable about a 1920s movie star meeting up with cowboy hero Wyatt Earp.  Mancini supplied a lush, symphonic score, one of his rare forays into the western genre.  The diverse cues touch on action, suspense, adventure and romance, and Mancini even provided the period-appropriate source music.  Like The Long Goodbye, no soundtrack album was issued for Sunset, so Quartet’s 2,000-copy limited edition marks its first appearance in any audio format.  Packed with additional music and bonus tracks, Sunset is a deluxe edition befitting a triumphant, if criminally unknown, score.  Daniel Schweiger provides liner notes in the 16-page booklet.

After the jump: from Q to Uncle Walt! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 10, 2012 at 11:32

Release Round-Up: Week of August 28

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Frank Zappa, Official Reissues #15-26 (Zappa Records/UMe)

FZ’s 1972-1979 discography, almost entirely sourced from original analog masters. (Joe breaks it all down for you here!)

Various Artists, A&M 50: The Anniversary Collection (A&M/UMe)

Three discs of hits and favorites from a most eclectic of major labels.

Elvis Presley, A Boy from Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Follow That Dream)

The King’s complete Sun tenure, with single masters, alternates, live takes and more – not to mention an enormous book of liner notes spanning over 500 pages.

Art Garfunkel, The Singer (Columbia/Legacy)

You know the voice; now, take a dive into Art Garfunkel’s career with this double-disc overview, curated by the man himself and featuring Simon & Garfunkel tracks, solo recordings and two brand-new tunes.

Johnny Mathis, Tender is the Night/The Wonderful World of Make-Believe Love is Everything/Broadway (Real Gone)

The first of a series of two-fers bringing Mathis’ Mercury discography back into print, including an unreleased LP of Broadway standards!

David Cassidy, Cassidy Live / Gettin’ It in the Street / Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Complete Liberty Singles / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volume 28 (Real Gone)

The rest of Real Gone’s monthly lineup includes two David Cassidy discs on CD for the first time ever.

The Brecker Brothers, The Complete Arista Albums Collection / Etta James, The Complete Private Music Blues, Rock ‘n’ Soul Albums Collection / Sarah Vaughan, The Complete Columbia Albums Collection (Legacy)

The latest PopMarket boxes include a Brecker Brothers box entirely full of discs making their CD debuts.

Andrew W.K., I Get Wet: Deluxe Edition (Century Media)

2001’s ultimate party soundtrack, with a bonus disc of live and alternate material.

Wir Lieben Bacharach! And Quincy, Too: Jazz Club Label Compiles Rare Bacharach, Jones On CD

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Great catalogue music often arrives in the unlikeliest of places.  Universal Music Classics and Jazz’s German division has created the budget Jazz Club label, celebrating artists from the various labels under the Universal umbrella.  And though its titles may not be available at your local shop, they’re well worth seeking out, offering plenty of material not available elsewhere.  Two of the most recent Jazz Club releases are of a particularly rare vintage.  Wir Lieben Bacharach! collects 18 German-language renditions of famous songs from the Burt Bacharach and Hal David songbook…and some not-so-famous songs, too!  Quincy Jones’ Originals, on the other hand, pairs Songs for Pussycats and Quincy in Rio, two rare themed LP compilations of Jones’ 1960s Mercury recordings on compact disc for the first time.

Wir Lieben Bacharach! – or We Love Bacharach! – is a particular treat.  With 18 tracks recorded between 1965 and 1973, it contains the songs that are the crème of the crop of the Bacharach and David ouevre: “Close to You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “A House is Not a Home.”  But listening to this compilation, you might know those tunes as “So wie ich,” “Ich wunsche mir so viel von dir” and “Ein Haus ist kein Zuhaus” as performed by Karel Gott, Bata Illic and Corry Brokken, respectively!  But in addition to the familiar classics, there are rare German renditions of “The Green Grass Starts to Grow,” “Hasbrook Heights,” “Paper Mache” and “The Wine is Young,” too, all favorites of Bacharach diehards including yours truly.  Some arrangements hew closely to the originals (Gus Backus’ “Hallo, Pussycat” – you can guess the English title!) while others offer unique re-interpretations (Die Caravelles’ “In Gedanken bin ich bei dir,” or “True Love Never Runs Smooth”).  For those who understand German, the translations are often far from literal, so that adds another dimension to these recordings.  The booklet has full-color reproductions of sixteen original LP and single sleeves, plus discographical information and liner notes – in German, of course!

Hit the jump to explore some of the earliest productions from the man known as Q!  Plus, we’ve got track listings with discography and order links for both releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 9, 2012 at 10:02

Q Applause For Mr. Jones and Mr. Hefti: “Enter Laughing” and “Synanon” Come to CD

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If you don’t know the name Neal Hefti, you undoubtedly know the man’s music…whether it’s the indelible, insinuating, harpsichord-and-brass theme to The Odd Couple, or the frenetic, groovy Batman theme from the Caped Crusader’s campy television show.   And Quincy Jones, the man known as Q, needs no introduction.  Like Hefti a veteran of jazz and big band, Jones’ trailblazing productions on landmark albums such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller (to name just one) ensured his place in the pantheon.  Today, the Kritzerland label announced the CD debut of two rare soundtrack recordings on CD: Neil Hefti’s 1965 Synanon and Quincy Jones’ 1967 Enter Laughing.  Though the films themselves are quite different, the pairing of these two cool sixties scores makes for a cohesive listening experience.  Hefti and Jones shared many experiences, and as Hefti was writing the score for Synanon, Jones had just replaced the older gentleman at the podium for Frank Sinatra’s second collaborative album with Count Basie, It Might As Well Be Swing.  Hefti, of course, had conducted the first Sinatra/Basie recording and was a veteran of the Basie band.

Director Richard Quine’s 1965 Synanon was named for the real-life drug rehabilitation center it depicted.  Edmond O’Brien depicted Charles E. Dederich, the center’s founder, while the film is dotted with stars like Eartha Kitt, Stella Stevens and Chuck Connors.  TV Guide wrote that “a realistic portrayal of drug addicts trying to kick the habit is obtained by Quine and company through the use of the actual rehabilitation house which served as the inspiration for the film, Synanon House in Santa Monica, California,” and lauded O’Brien for his “commendable” performance.  Hefti’s score was only his third, but he already had a firm grip on a signature melodic sound.  He contributes an atmospheric main theme befitting the drama, but the score also incorporates jazz, swing and ballads.

Quincy Jones made his film scoring debut the same year as Neal Hefti, 1964.  The multi-talented Jones was, like Hefti, an accomplished arranger, composer and conductor with roots in big band jazz.  He was signed to pen the score for Carl Reiner’s Enter Laughing, based on Reiner’s own novel (subsequently adapted into a Broadway play by Joseph Stein, who later musicalized it with a score by Stan Daniels of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  We’ll save that one for another column!)  Reiner, already a comedy giant thanks to The Dick Van Dyke Show, assembled an A-list of actors: Janet Margolin, Jose Ferrer, Elaine May, Jack Gilford, Don Rickles, Shelley Winters, and Michael J. Pollard among them!  (How refreshing to see Reiner, Rickles and May all still very active today!)  Reni Santoni stepped into the role of David Kolowitz, the Reiner analogue.  Richard Deacon (of the Van Dyke Show) made an appearance as did Reiner’s young son Rob!  The 1967 film was noted by The New York Times as Reiner’s “jovial reminiscence of his experiences as a stagestruck New York lad,” and Jones’ upbeat score captures that spirit perfectly.  Mel Carter (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”) performs the title song, and Carl Reiner himself has two vocals!

Synanon/Enter Laughing is available now for pre-order from Kritzerland for $19.98 plus shipping.  The 1,000-copy limited edition is due to ship the third week of December, but those who have pre-ordered in the past from Kritzerland know that the label ships one to five weeks earlier than that date.  Hit the jump for the full track listing with discography, plus the label’s press release with plenty more tidbits on these films! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 22, 2011 at 11:01

Soundtrack Round-Up: Intrada Cuts to “The Core,” Music Box Goes “Overboard,” FSM Inches Toward the Finish Line

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With the release of another major holy grail in the world of soundtrack collecting yesterday, it’s worth pointing out another four awesome archival titles that may have been lost in the shuffle this past week.

First, Intrada’s latest batch of catalogue soundtrack releases, announced Monday, bring to light two underrated gems from two very different composers. First up, after years of waiting, is an official release to the score to the 2003 sci-fi cult-classic The Core. Composer Christopher Young, whose eclectic body of work ventures from horror (A Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge) to action (Spider-Man 3), wrote an accessible, urgent score that many of his fans consider to be his best. (A powerful effort, indeed, despite a film consistently derided as scientifically implausible.) The two-disc set adds an additional 20 minutes of music than what’s been heard on a composer promotional disc, all mastered from Paramount Pictures’ session master tapes.

The label has also prepped the debut release of Georges Delerue’s score to Rapture, a 1965 drama about a forbidden romance in rural France. A haunting, melodic score  – one of the earliest scores by Delerue that exists in its entirety – the complete score is presented direct from tapes at 20th Century Fox as well as the composer’s personal mono 1/4″ tapes.

Another surprise release comes from French label Music Box Records: the complete score to the 1987 romantic comedy Overboard. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (a real-life couple since 1983) star in the tale of a carpenter whose spoiled client develops amnesia after falling overboard on her yacht. The carpenter takes advantage of the situation by passing her off as his middle-class wife, and hilarity predictably ensues. The score, composed by legendary composer Alan Silvestri and released for the first time anywhere, is limited to 1,000 copies.

Finally, with all the frenzy for Gremlins from Film Score Monthly yesterday, it was easy to overlook another very exciting release from the label: two unreleased scores for two CBS television pilots composed by two music legends. Nightwatch, originally titled Chicago, Chicago, was a suspenseful drama created by Robert Altman, who had successfully brought to CBS a few similar features on Kraft Suspense Theatre, had a young jazz composer named Johnny Williams provide the scores for both those features and Nightwatch. (The pilot was ultimately never picked up, and later aired in 1968 as part of a one-off anthology. John Williams later composed the scores to Images (1972) and The Long Goodbye (1973) for Altman.) Similarly, a 1971 pilot about a doctor and cop who team up to stop a murderer in Los Angeles, Killer by Night, was not picked up for a series, but featured a jazzy score by the legendary Quincy Jones.

Both scores on this release are largely sourced from 1/4″ mono tapes, mixed with a slight stereo ambience. (The theme and format music from Nightwatch are mixed in pure stereo.) And the set, limited to 3,000 copies, is, sadly, the last releases from both composers for the soon-to-be-retired FSM label.

Details and order info for all the scores above can be found after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 4, 2011 at 16:12

Review: Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, “The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings”

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When Frank Sinatra met Count Basie, it was far from a clash of the titans.  No, the “historic musical first” that occurred between the grooves of Reprise 1008 in 1962 was more like a perfect union.  Both were Jersey boys, with Basie’s formative years spent south of Hoboken, in Red Bank, New Jersey.  The men were unusually simpatico, similar in their enormous respect for musicians.  Though Basie titled a 1959 album Chairman of the Board, the title was later bestowed upon Sinatra.  When Basie put his feelings on music onto paper, he wrote, “I think the band can really swing when it swings easy, when it can just play along like you are cutting butter.”  Sinatra’s second album for Capitol epitomized this belief, titled (what else?) Swing Easy! and living up to the title’s promise.  The two chairmen finally paired on record in 1962 for Sinatra-Basie, following that initial effort up with a 1964 sequel, It Might As Well Be Swing.  These albums ushered in a fertile era of collaboration for Sinatra at Reprise, which found him comfortably singing alongside Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim and even Rod McKuen.  Now, Concord and Frank Sinatra Enterprises have delivered The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings (CRE-33152, 2011) of Sinatra and Basie on one packed compact disc, and for an hour or so, all is right in the world.

Might these be Sinatra’s most overtly jazz-oriented albums?  The singer sounds supremely relaxed (even letting the occasional trace of his Jersey roots to appear in his vocals!) in front of this confident band, affording them generous room to breathe.  On Sinatra-Basie, the pianist’s solo introduction makes the first notes you hear on the opening track, “Pennies from Heaven.”  The stereo spread (mixed for this disc by Larry Walsh) allows for thrilling call-and-response between sections of Basie’s band, and the spatial presence of the players is in evidence throughout.  Basie makes his presence on the keys felt with his truly economic style; he delivers minimalistic, reassuring accents that immeasurably enhance the overall sound.  Often he starts the song off, or brings it home with an unmistakable tag.  And the Basie rhythm section smokes – guitarist Freddie Green, bassist George “Buddy” Catlett, drummer Sonny Payne all make an impression.

Earlier in 1962, Sinatra had recorded Sinatra and Swingin’ Brass with arranger and conductor Neal Hefti; though Hefti returned for Sinatra-Basie, his work was less brash the second time around.  Most of the songs were taken at mid-tempo, building to a powerful climax, but the fast-moving exceptions were notable (“Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Looking at the World Thru Rose-Colored Glasses,” “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter”).  Hefti provided a defining arrangement for Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin’s “Please Be Kind” with those exultant reed blasts, and took a number of remakes of Capitol classics to completely new levels.

When Sinatra revisited Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen’s “The Tender Trap” only a few years after introducing it in 1955, he sounded impossibly wiser with just the right amount of vulnerability underneath the surface.  Might he fall into that tender trap again?  The trumpet insinuates as it echoes his vocals.  Just listen to Sinatra’s drawn-out “some starry night…” or his momentary hesitation in “for…for being single” for the indisputable proof as to why he’s the all-time master of interpretation. He modulates the song and the big band backing him with complete and utter control, clearly having a ball, and loosely improvising.

“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” dates even further back at Capitol for Sinatra, to 1954’s Swing Easy! as arranged by Nelson Riddle.  Hefti’s take is clever and singular, with plenty of chances for band solos and some pounding drums!  For George and Ira Gershwin’s “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” Hefti’s new arrangement barrels like a freight train.  It’s unstoppable and mesmerizing, but so very different from Riddle’s 1957 chart.  Sonny Cohn shines on trumpet.  The gentle “Learnin’ the Blues” also differs from Sinatra’s original, and plays like a supreme instruction from the master.  The orchestra taunts the singer, echoing the lyrics, and then it’s just Sinatra, Basie tickling the ivories and the beat: pure bliss.  Frank Wess (also a talented arranger for the likes of Bobby Darin) shines on flute, and his presence on the entire disc sets Sinatra-Basie apart.  Wess stands out, too, in “Rose Colored Glasses” and Sinatra’s tip of the hat to Matt Monro on “My Kind of Girl,” given a vaudevillian spirit by Hefti and featuring some hot soloing by Frank Foster and Eric Dixon on tenor saxophone.

“I Won’t Dance” is another remake from 1957’s A Swingin’ Affair, like “Nice Work.”  It ends the first album on a quiet note.  Despite his protestations, few could have resisted asking Sinatra to dance, especially with this sensual arrangement aided by Wess; Basie’s band almost sighs to the wistful Jerome Kern melody.

Many members of the Basie Band had been playing together for years, but their adaptability to the individualism of Sinatra was nothing short of a miracle: effortless and versatile.  They were likewise able to adapt to another voice as arranger and conductor when Quincy Jones replaced Neal Hefti for 1964’s It Might As Well Be Swing.  Jones was no stranger to the Basie band, having previously arranged for the unit at Reprise, winning a Grammy Award in the process.  The man christened “Q” by Sinatra had large shoes to fill, but proved himself more than up to the task!  Read all about it after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 15, 2011 at 14:51

Another Round of “ICON” Track Lists (UPDATED 4/4)

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UPDATE 4/4: We now have confirmation on the track lists for each set!

Original post: Next week, another batch of ICON compilations will be released by Universal Music Group. This is particularly interesting, considering that all of the track lists for these upcoming sets have yet to be revealed.

Indeed, pre-order links on Amazon and other sites don’t even have all of these track lists, or cover art, finalized. (This is doubly ironic considering another batch of ICON titles is slate for May, and pre-order links are starting to crop up.) Fortunately, we’ve managed to pull together all but one of the sets (the two-disc compilation track list for The Who remains elusive) into one post for your perusal. It’s a mostly classic rock-oriented batch (The Who, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens) with some new and old soul/blues acts (Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Avant), modern rock (Sublime) and a few smaller names (Nonpoint, Local H) thrown in for good measure. The set by the metal band Nonpoint features some previously unreleased material, which must be one of the first such instances on the usually barebones ICON sets.

Each title comes out April 5. The remaining track lists will be plugged in when they’re confirmed; the rest are after the jump!
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 29, 2011 at 11:59

ICON Updates from Universal

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The next batch of Universal’s ICON series is out in a few days, but we’re already seeing more on the horizon.

Two Icon country titles are coming out on March 22: one by Josh Turner, who enjoyed his biggest hit on the country charts last year with the No. 1 single “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” and Billy Currington, who’s racked up an impressive nine Top 10 singles on the country charts since his debut in 2003.

But that’s not all – April 5 is going to see another batch of ICON discs from all corners of the Universal catalogue according to Amazon, including Eric Clapton, The Who, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Sublime, Cat Stevens, Joe Cocker, Avant and Local H. Only track lists for the last two (admittedly lesser known) bands have surfaced, but both sets actually boast a handful of previously unreleased tracks. While the bigger names likely won’t spoil fans with rare content on a budget title, we’ll surely find out soon enough.

Check out the track lists for Currington and Turner’s sets after the jump, and keep it here for more information on these compilations as it happens.

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 26, 2011 at 14:36

Reissue Theory: Quincy Jones, “Back on the Block”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. This week, Quincy Jones’ latest mingling with a new generation of artists leads to a recollection of the first (and best) time he did it.

Last week saw the release of Q: Soul Bossa Nostra, the first full-fledged studio album by Quincy Jones since Basie and Beyond back in 2000. Now, Q is one of the greatest figures in pop and soul music alive today. He’s been nominated for more Grammys than anyone (79 nods, 27 wins), produced the highest-selling album of all time (Thriller, naturally) and maintains a healthy role as musical elder statesman and social activist, even at 77 years old.

Naturally, the album is exactly what you’d expect it to be: part victory lap, part reach across the aisle to a new generation of artists and almost entirely unnecessary on a Santana post-millenial level. “Ironside,” “The Streetbeater (Sanford & Son),” “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Pretty Young Thing” aren’t screaming out for guest appearances by Akon, Ludacris, John Legend, T-Pain, but they’re all bizarrely recast here. And that list doesn’t even mention the truly insane cover of “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite),” a 1989 quiet-storm jam that originally featured Al B. Sure!, James Ingram, El DeBarge and Barry White but now features Usher, Tyrese, Robin Thicke, LL Cool J, Tevin Campbell and the vocal track of Maestro White echoing from beyond the grave.

It’s not that the all-star/new-generation formula is alien to Jones; hell, he practically pioneered it two decades ago with Back on the Block, the album from which “Secret Garden” came from. That disc also featured appearances by Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, Siedah Garrett, Tevin Campbell (one of his first appearances on record), Ice-T and, in their last recorded appearances, blues/soul legends Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Call it ridiculous if you want, but Back on the Block easily predicted the success of Santana’s Supernatural and the like by peaking within Billboard‘s Top 10 and winning seven Grammys including Album of the Year. Unlike Santana, though, this isn’t your contemporary cash grab; there’s a lot of stuff here for everyone, from traditional soul and blues to rap and even some jazz fusion. The formula may be played out (and the artists of today nowhere near as laudable as prior generations had been), but Back on the Block proves, in a roundabout way, Jones’ ability and desire to unite audiences of all walks of life with his music.

After the jump, take a look at our idea of what a slightly expanded Back on the Block could look like, featuring five of the many remixes commissioned in support of the album, including a head-turning cameo by British electronic act 808 State! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 18, 2010 at 15:28