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Product: Audio CD
Title: Live at Birdland
Label: Telarc
Artist: John Pizzarelli
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Live Music At It's Very Best!


Anyone who knows about jazz knows that it is best captured live. This album features these three men in top form. John's voice and phrasing couldn't be any smoother or precise, and for someone who sings as well as he does he is quite equal on the guitar. Ray's piano playing is so swingin' on the uptempo songs and so smooth on the ballads. Martin's bass playing never misses a beat and keeps the trio swingin' as hard as ever. The trio does a very good repertoire between uptempo, ballads, and originals. Alone from all of the excellent music they even have some crowd interaction to which you can hear that the crowd is having a great time.
If you are a fan of jazz vocals, hard driving swing, or music that makes you feel good then you have to put this 2-CD set in your music collection.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Laundry Service
Label: Sony
Artist: Shakira
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
My first taste...and I'm hooked!!!


All right, I must admitt; I hadn't even heard of Shakira at all until about four months ago. But when I first saw her hit, "Whenever, Wherever", on MTV, I loved it. Every time my dad travelled to the States (we are living in West Africa for three years, as my dad is the American Ambassador in Togo) I would beg him to look as hard as possible for the CD. Finally, he did find it, and by the way, I'm listening to it as I write this. Here's a review of each song: 1. Objection (Tango)-I was totally drawn to this song right away, mostly because of its awesome rythm and how it almost perfectly describes the situation I was in at the time...but I won't go into details about that. You can't help singing along to this, and the beat makes you want to get up and dance. 2. Underneath Your Clothes-a lovely song about true love under a show of indifference. Shakira really throws herself into this one, and it's another one to get hooked on right away. 3. Whenever, Wherever-yet another song to make you get up and dance. With a catchy tune and a wonderful display of Shakira's vocal talents, this is certainly a hit track. 4. Rules-a happy song, with a bit of pop and sounding a bit 90's. Not that it's bad at all! A feel-good song, about sticking together and staying faithfull because we are meant to be. 5. The One-this song leans more towards a ballad, but with the guitar techniques it is turned into something more. Starts off slow, then picks up until you are swept along with the music. 6. Ready For The Good Times-this is about being independent and having a good time only for yourself. A good, strong beat and she really uses her voice. 7. Fool-this song is definitely one of my favorites. I suppose it could be considered soppy, but I just see it as beautiful and I can totally relate to it. Excellent for a broken-heart-but-not-quite-over-it situation. 8. Te Dejo Madrid-another favorite. This is a good song for getting ready to go out and have fun; it's a hanging out, fun song. And she sings just as beautiful in Spanish as in English! In addition, the harmonica solo is done by none other than Shakira herself. 9. Poem To A Horse-more bitter, this one. It may seem a bit weird at first, but is very catchy. It's one of those songs that make you really think. 10. Que Me Quedes Tu-if I had to choose one, this would probably be my least favorite, but that's not to say it isn't good. This is an easy listening song, the kind that would just flow into your head. Another Spanish track. 11. Eyes Like Yours-many have called this a bit odd, but I adore it. It introduces a bit of her Lebanese heritage in it, and has a very haunting beat. It's a great song to work out a dance routine to (I know; I've done it with my Lebanese friend!) and it's one that will stay stuck in your head all day. Plus there's some really cool Arabic singing included. Then there are "Objection" and "Whenever, Wherever" in Spanish, which is very cool although she had to change the lyrics around to make it rhyme. All in all, this CD is one that everyone should buy. Shakira is really admirable; she's been singing since she was 12. Her voice is beautiul and strong, and she puts actual feeling into her singing (unlike many popular artits these days). Many of my friends don't appreciate her like I do, and I can only say "Their loss!" An absolutely wonderful CD (and she even wrote most of it!) Keep up the good work, Shakira! I'll be watching for the next wave.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Mozart - Die Entführung aus dem Serail / Orgonasova, Sieden, Olsen, Peper, Hauptmann, Minetti; Gardiner
Label: Archiv Produktion
Artist:
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Mostly excellent


The more I hear this recording, the more I like it.At first Gardiner's conducting seemed to me a little reserved, lacking the fun and brilliance of a Beecham, but on second and third hearings I have to accept everything is well judged and well done, and the English Baroque Soloists play magnificently for him.The jewel of his cast is predictably soprano Luba Orgonasova, a soprano born to sing Konstanze. Her big and agile voice is what this role needs and seldom gets. There are not too many good Konstanzes on record, and she is one of the best.Lyric tenor Stanford Olsen is a very likeable Belmonte, missing only the aristocratic vocal line of a Schreier or a Wunderlich.I was less happy with bass Cornelius Hauptmann as Osmin, his voice is too light and unmenacing for this role.If you want Die Ent?hrung in period instruments (and you should) this is the recording to have. The recent William Christie recording in ERATO is let down by his too light-voiced Konstanze, and the Hogwood recording in L'Oiseau Lyre is rather bland.



Product: Audio CD
Title: Encore [Decca]
Label: Decca
Artist:
Rating: 1/5
Customer rating - 1 out of 5
Uninteresting CD


Much as I welcome the notion of "cross-over", I must say that this album by Russell Watson will only serve to scare people away from the genre. This album is really of very low quality. The singing, in particular, is impossibly bad. None of the songs here are performed up to standard.
In fact, Mr Watson cannot even hold a note properly - his voice lose quality rapidly whenever he is required to sustain a note. His voice also wavers precariously whenever he puts pressure on the voice. No wonder it leaves little room for him to actually interpret the songs. As a result, the singing comes across as unvaried and generalized.
This certainly is not the best way to start any collection on cross-over music!