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Product: Audio CD
Title: Giant Steps
Label: Atlantic
Artist: John Coltrane
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5

'Giant Steps' overturned many of the stereotypes I had about post-war (more specifically 1950's) jazz. From most of the movies I've seen from that era, jazz was wallpaper music, bland background to the cliches on the screen. Imagine how I felt when I first put on 'Giant Steps'. This is definitely not "easy-listening".

The energized melody of the title track bursts from the record in a relentless attack. The imagination of Coltrane's playing can best be heard on 'Cousin Mary' where he begins with swing before taking the melody on a world tour from the blues to the Far East. 'Countdown' sounds initially like uncomprimising free-jazz but there is a strong rhythm behind it that you can even snap your fingers to and there isn't a more delightful moment on the album than it's whistful ending. Coltrane's playing on the second version included here is even more astounding.

Coltrane takes us on another journey back and forth between jazz's past and future with 'Spiral', swaying between a swinging tempo and a halting, Eastern-thinged descent. It's emotional intensity is a staple of this remarkable album. On 'Syeeda's Song Flute' the master gives the other players a chance to shine with Tommy Flanagan's playing unthinkably cool and unrelenting at the same time. The track segues ponderously into 'Naima' where Flanagan again comes to the fore with some of his most personal playing, while the saxophone smoulders.

'Mr. PC' combines all the best of John Coltrane and the backing trio on this album. His heady mixture of old-time jazz, swing and his own intense improvisations conspire to deliver a hothouse performance with the other players driving hard behind him.

'Giant Steps' is an album that any serious music lover should have in their collection, artistic, cerebral and emotional all at the same time.

Product: Audio CD
Title: White Ladder
Label: RCA
Artist: David Gray
Rating: 4/5
Customer rating - 4 out of 5
David Gray

Great music, great lyrics, great CD, enought said.

Product: Audio CD
Title: U Turn
Label: Motown / Pgd
Artist: Brian McKnight
Rating: 2/5
Customer rating - 2 out of 5
Did I miss something?

The first time I listened to this Cd, I was not impressed. I guess I am going to have to relisten to it again. It just didn't do anything for me. I thought he just through some songs together in a moments notice. Maybe I should have borrowed someones Cd before I purchased mine.

Product: Audio CD
Title: Live From Mountain Stage
Label: Blue Plate
Artist: John Hartford
Rating: 5/5
Customer rating - 5 out of 5
Hartford is at his best when live...

This CD is a good introduction to John Hartford if you are not familiar with his work. Hartford has a twangy, off beat style that is sometimes silly and other times poignant. This collection includes some of his better known works and showcases Hartford's flexibility as a musician.
I wouldn't select it as a favorite, because I like Hartford's quirky songs the best, and this collection tends to lean toward the traditional side of things. Hartford seems to get a kick out of playing for folks, and that side of him comes across well in his live recordings. He's interesting to watch on stage because you never can guess what he's thinking...hard to figure. Sometimes he comes across as remote, but then it turns out that he's really witty and having a lot of fun with things in his own way.
If you like bluegrass or folk music, I'd definitely recommend all of his works. As famous as he is in some circles, Hartford often gets missed by more mainstream folks....what a shame!