Recommended: not so much for the performance or even the work as for the experience. And even that is not necessarily something you will want to repeat very often. The point is that it may be now or never. Robert le diable, received triumphantly in Paris at its premiere in 1831, took centre- stage in the opera houses of Europe for two or three decades: a pantechnicon of an opera I was about to call it, and then thought to see what the dictionary had to say, finding there ‘the name of a bazaar of all kinds of artistic work’ – and the date 1830!
During the last quarter of the 20th century, and thanks largely to Eric Clapton's remarkable devotion to his memory, Robert Leroy Johnson posthumously became the most celebrated Delta blues musician of the pre-WWII era. Among numerous editions of his complete works and various anthologies that combine his recordings with those of his contemporaries and followers, J.S.P.'s The Road to Robert Johnson and Beyond combines many of his essential performances with those by dozens of other blues artists from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Henry Thomas to Muddy Waters and Elmore James. 105 tracks fill four CDs with several decades' worth of strongly steeped blues that trace the African American migration from the deep south on up into Chicago. This is a fine way to savor the recorded evidence, as primary examples from Blind Blake, Charley Patton, Son House, Charlie McCoy, Walter Vincson, Skip James, Ma Rainey, Tampa Red, Kokomo Arnold, Scrapper Blackwell, Leroy Carr, Lonnie Johnson, and Peetie Wheatstraw lead directly to early modern masters like Big Joe Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Bill Broonzy, Johnny Temple, Leroy Foster, Johnny Shines, Homesick James Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Snooky Pryor, Little Walter, and David Honeyboy Edwards, among many others.
Altoist Warren Hill has never claimed to be a jazz player, but even as a would-be pop star he has an identity problem. Hill comes across as a David Sanborn clone on this popular release and seems to have spent much less time working on developing an individual sound than he has posing for cameras; there are eight photos of Hill included in the booklet of this CD. As far as the music goes, this set of originals is essentially derivative if pleasant background music, suitable for dancing but not for close listening.