SoundStage! Music Online Editor's Pick Archives
September/October 2001

Jacques Loussier Trio - Baroque Favorites
Telarc CD-83516, 2001

SnapShot! Rating:

The latest collection of orchestral music in a jazzy vein from the Jacques Loussier Trio (Loussier on piano, Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac on bass, André Arpino on drums) shows once again why this series of recordings on Telarc works so well: deep respect for the scores, superior sound, and, above all, willingness to dig for the soul of the music. Listen to Pachebel's Canon here, which we all have heard a thousand times, and see if this version doesn't give you newfound appreciation. It's far shorter (not even four minutes) and conjures Vince Guaraldi and George Winston, but gutsier apparitions of both. And you may not think Pachelbel's Canon can swing, but it does here, then shifts to a more reflective mood that's heightened by what precedes it. Handel, Scarlatti and Albinoni are also represented on Baroque Favorites, which they are, and none of the numbers fails to hold interest, especially if you know them inside out. The sound is detailed yet warm, and supported by a serious bottom end -- subwoofer territory....Marc Mickelson

Labour of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe
Telarc CD-83538, 2001

SnapShot! Rating:

Nick Lowe is still at it -- his latest collection, The Convincer, will be released this month -- and the tunes on this tribute disc represent his best songwriting and demonstrate how readily Lowe's songs become covers of distinction (I play "Beast in Me" from Johnny Cash's great American Recordings habitually). From Dar Williams' popish "All Men Are Liars," to Lowe's biggest hit, "Cruel to Be Kind," performed by Marshall Crenshaw, who had to appear somewhere on this disc, it's clear that Lowe's songs are approachable for a diverse lot of musicians. Sleepy Labeef and Clifton Chenier put a Cajun spin on "Half a Boy, Half a Man," and it works. Greg Brown's number on the recent Bob Dylan tribute, A Nod to Bob, was disappointing, but here he picks a perfect song to play in a subdued way, "Where's My Everything." Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Graham Parker, and Elvis Costello contribute too. If you don't know much about Nick Lowe's songwriting (you almost certainly know about his production skills -- for John Hiatt, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, among others), this is a reasonable place to start, which can't be said for too many tribute collections....Marc Mickelson

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