Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Various Artists - Casino Lights (1982)

Recorded live at Montreux, Switzerland, July 14 & 15, 1981 at the Montreux Casino.

In which Warner Bros. takes all their top smooth jazz artists to the 1981 Montreux Jazz Festival and record a fantastic live album with Tommy LiPuma producing.  Check out this star-studded group of names:

click to enlarge

Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin and Pages/Mr. Mister vocalist Richard Page are singing back up, for chrissakes!  Overall, a nice sampling of smooth jazz/pop/R&B from a variety of artists.  The sound quality is very good for a live recording; there was obviously some overdubbing and production tricks thrown at this one, but that doesn't bother me much. This CD does come with a trade-off, however:  we get four extra tracks that weren't on the original vinyl release but the vinyl has extensive liner notes that are missing from the CD booklet.  I can't find the liner notes anywhere online and I would type them up for you here, but when I say "extensive," I mean "extensive" - the kind that start on the back album cover and then finish up on one full side of the inner sleeve.  So, because I'm lazy, forget the notes and just enjoy the music on this one.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #63
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #1
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #32   
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #80

Tracks:  My favorites are Randy Crawford & Al Jarreau teaming up for Who's Right Who's Wrong and a cover of Your Precious Love, along with David Sanborn's Hideaway (where bassist Marcus Miller steals the show with his solo.  Yeah, you read that right: a bass solo steals the show).  I'm not crazy about Crawford's cover of John Lennon's Imagine, but that's the only track I'm tempted to skip.  Of the four extra tracks, I particularly like Sara's Touch, but that just may be because of the strong Steps Ahead connection, thanks to Mike Mainieri and Michael Brecker.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None.  I didn't have this on vinyl back in '82 and I have no reasonable explanation as to why since this would have been squarely in my wheelhouse back then.

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