Randy and Michael Brecker: legends of jazz fusion, both together and apart. Often called upon for individual session work throughout the 70s and 80s, the brothers appeared on albums by Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Dire Straits. Both were among the most gifted players in their prime: separately, they were great, but together, they could be an absolute powerhouse. This is something that comes across with abundance throughout the archive double live disc ‘Live And Unreleased’. A show newly released in 2020 that captures the second Brecker Brothers Band with bassist Neil Jason partway through a European tour in 1980, the Breckers are on fire.
In a relatively short time, Fleetwood Mac had marked their place at the top of the British blues table. With two excellent albums (1967’s ‘Fleetwood Mac’ and 1968’s ‘Mr. Wonderful’) and an indispensable compilation (‘The Pious Bird of Good Omen’, 1969), they showed an ability to take on the genre’s best. In Peter Green, they had a fantastic vocalist and a new guitar hero. Their third album ‘Then Play On’ (released in September 1969) even showed the band branching away from the blues and its mixed bag of styles further cemented Green’s place among the new guitar gods.
What’s more, a run of non-album singles issued throughout ’69 reinforced any belief that this still young band had all the makings one that might just have some longevity. An easy listening instrumental ‘Albatross’ showcased the softer side of Green’s guitar work and appealed to a broader spectrum of listeners, becoming one of their most enduring hits The double whammy of 1969’s ‘Oh Well (Parts 1 & 2)’ paired angry blues with an unexpected foray into something that was closer to Ennio Morricone than JB Lenoir or Elmore James; an aching ballad ‘Man of the World’ showed how Green’s voice was easily capable of conveying a gentle anguish. A trio of more disparate singles you’d be hard pressed to find and yet all were chart smashes, each hitting the #2 spot in the UK.
Often irascible and difficult, sometimes just plain rude, Ginger Baker wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with, assuming most accounts are to be believed. As if often the case, with such difficulty came genuine brilliance. Few could deny that Ginger was one of the finest drummers who ever lived.
Not to be confused with the Transatlantic crooner that once sported two haircuts simultaneously, Michael J. Bolton is a UK based bassist, composer and arranger whose 2019 album ‘Earthrise’ is a brilliant instrumental work inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings. Being a master of the bass, naturally, his instrument is often at the fore, but for lovers of busy jazz keys, complex guitar and even occasional ambient tendencies, this record is one with a huge amount to give.
‘Get Carter’ is widely considered to be one of the great British crime thrillers of the era. The 1971 film really helped to cement Michael Caine’s popularity, but as much as featuring various quotable lines and a timeless performance from the beloved British actor, the film is also fondly remembered for its film score.