This sublime album by an elusive bunch of Scottish Minstrels is one of the best British albums of any decade and a very rare gem. What it is not is "anthemic like U2" and neither does it "compare to Simply Red and Deacon Blue". Let us for the sake of goodwill extend the milk of human kindess and hope that the author of this heinous claptrap was successful in his or her GSCE Music exam since these comparisons are laughable and "Hats" deserves a whole better than these shoddy musical "bedmates". All Blue Nile albums are essentially markers in time and the yawning gaps between their production seems to grow ever longer. Yet the sparsity of their output over the years and a host of great albums cannot hide the fact that "Hats" is the masterpiece.
Out of the Blue finds Mike + The Mechanics – which, in 2019, claims Mike Rutherford as its only original member – revisiting their catalog with the assistance of their 2010s vocalists Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar. The party line behind Out of the Blue is that the group discovered new ways of playing old songs while on tour supporting 2017's Let Me Fly, so they decided to head into the studio to document these versions…
Mirroring his onetime boss and mentor Miles Davis' own protean output, Herbie Hancock has explored hard bop, soul-jazz, fusion, funk-rock, soundtracks, hip-hop-inflected pop ("Rockit"), and many permutations in between. His early work for Blue Note, though, offers the best entrée for newcomers. Compiled from five of his albums for the label and covering a period from 1962-1968, this fine sampler includes highlights from his debut, Takin' Off ("Watermelon Man"), the classic Maiden Voyage (the title track and "Dolphin Dance"), and the early electric album Speak Like a Child (the title track and "Riot"). Add to this more indelible cuts like "Cantaloupe Island" and "One Finger Snap," not to mention the presence of numerous '60s jazz luminaries (Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Thad Jones, Hank Mobley, Billy Higgins, et al.), and you have perfect way to get a taste of some of the best modern jazz committed to wax.
This is a keeper from the word "go." Recorded live in 1995 (but not released until 1998) at Yoshi's in Oakland, CA, Robben Ford is joined by long-time Blue Line trio members Roscoe Beck on bass and Tom Brechtlein on drums, as well as Bill Boublitz on a baby grand piano. Although nearly all of the songs can be found on other Ford albums (most are from Handful of Blues), one of the things that makes this jazzy recording so special is that Ford is playing only an acoustic guitar. The Ray Charles gem "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (which you WON'T find elsewhere) is simply beautiful, and on Paul Butterfield's "Lovin' Cup," it's just Ford and his guitar. The brilliance of his playing and the reason behind why so many guitar players put him at the top of their list can be found in Ford's performance on this release, alternating between lead and rhythm. The Authorized Bootleg also has great (albeit laid-back) versions of "When I Leave Here" and "Tired of Talkin'." Highly, highly recommended.