New Releases

One Day Like This

Rhydian

Billy's Back On Broadway

Billy Porter

The Mission / How Great Thou Art

The Piano Guys

Solace in the Sun

Jimmy James

Piano Recital 1988

Jorge Bolet

Green Eyes

Enoch Light

Something to Turn To

Jim Chappell

Filmatica

Steen Thottrup

The Legacy Continues Phase II

Swanee Quintet

Ferradini: Al santo sepolcro

Roberta Invernizzi

Straight into the Jungle

The Crystalairs

Wir Geh'n Auf Dieselbe Schule

The Crystalairs

Bartók: Piano Pieces, Vol. 7

Jeno Jando

O Piano de Antônio Adolfo

Antonio Adolfo

Swing Driven Thing

Fiona Pears

Bossa Nova Tunes

Deboa de Bahia, Coco Briaval

Top Albums

Come Away With Me

Norah Jones
Norah Jones' debut on Blue Note is a mellow, acoustic pop affair with soul and country overtones, immaculately produced by the great Arif Mardin. (It's pretty much an open secret that the 22-year-old vocalist and pianist is the daughter of Ravi Shankar.) Jones is not quite a jazz singer, but she is joined by some highly regarded jazz talent: guitarists Adam Levy, Adam Rogers, Tony Scherr, Bill Frisell, and Kevin Breit; drummers Brian Blade, Dan Rieser, and Kenny Wollesen; organist Sam Yahel; accordionist Rob Burger; and violinist Jenny Scheinman. Her regular guitarist and bassist, Jesse Harris and Lee Alexander, respectively, play on every track and also serve as the chief songwriters. Both have a gift for melody, simple yet elegant progressions, and evocative lyrics. (Harris made an intriguing guest appearance on Seamus Blake's Stranger Things Have Happened.) Jones, for her part, wrote the title track and the pretty but slightly restless "Nightingale." She also includes convincing readings of Hank Williams' "Cold Cold Heart," J.D. Loudermilk's "Turn Me On," and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You." There's a touch of Rickie Lee Jones in Jones' voice, a touch of Bonnie Raitt in the arrangements; her youth and her piano skills could lead one to call her an Alicia Keys for grown-ups. While the mood of this record stagnates after a few songs, it does give a strong indication of Jones' alluring talents.

David R. Adler, Rovi

Sinatra: Best Of The Best

Frank Sinatra
Finally, a disc that combines Sinatra’s hits for Capitol and his hits for Reprise! Of course, since Capitol is the label releasing Sinatra: Best of the Best, the collection leans heavily on his Capitol sides, but the addition of such ‘60s staples as “It Was a Very Good Year,” “Strangers in the Night,” “Summer Wind,” “That’s Life,” “My Way,” and “Theme from New York, New York” to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Come Fly with Me,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Fly Me to the Moon” makes this 23-track collection a superb sampling of Frank songs everybody knows by heart. Initial pressings in the fall of 2011 included the then out of print '57 - In Concert, a heavily circulated (and quite good) concert performed with Quincy Jones’ band in Seattle during 1957.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

To Be Loved

Michael Bublé
To Be Loved is the eighth studio album from Canadian crooner Michael Bublé. Featuring a mix of classic covers ("You Make Me Feel So Young," "Have I Told You Lately," "To Love Somebody") and special guest appearances from Reece Witherspoon, Bryan Adams, and the Puppini Sisters, this is a charming return to form for the popular singer and will surely delight his legions of fans. It also includes the original composition "It's a Beautiful Day."

Aneet Nijjar, Rovi

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
Like any record company worth their salt, MCA knows a good gimmick when they see it, and when the millennium came around -- well, the 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection wasn't too far behind. Supposedly, the millennium is a momentous occasion, but it's hard to feel that way when it's used as another excuse to turn out a budget-line series. But apart from the presumptuous title, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection turns out to be a very good budget-line series. True, it's impossible for any of these brief collections to be definitive, but they're nevertheless solid samplers that don't feature a bad song in the bunch. For example, take Louis Armstrong's 20th Century volume -- it's an irresistible ten-song summary of his latter-day Decca/MCA recordings. There may be a couple of noteworthy songs missing, but many of his best-known songs of the era are here, including "What a Wonderful World," "Hello Dolly!," "Dream a Little Dream of Me," "Blueberry Hill," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Gone Fishin'," and "When It's Sleepy Time Down South." Serious fans will want something more extensive, but this is an excellent introduction for neophytes and a great sampler for casual fans, considering its length and price. That doesn't erase the ridiculousness of the series title, but the silliness is excusable when the music and the collections are good.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

My Love Essential Collection

Céline Dion

Serenity (Sleep Music)

Deep Sleep Band

The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere

Andrea Bocelli

Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage

Susan Boyle
Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage is the fourth studio album from Susan Boyle. This album documents the singer’s love of musicals from the stage and screen. Packed with iconic songs, Boyle’s renditions of classics such as ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, ‘Send In The Clowns’, ‘Memory’ are show-stoppers. With collaborations with Michael Crawford on ‘The Music Of The Night’ and with Donny Osmond on ‘All I Ask Of You’ and ‘This Is The Moment, Rovi

Ultimate Manilow

Barry Manilow
Unlike some other MOR pop stars, Barry Manilow never enjoyed the sort of swinging-hipster revival that made him a hot name to drop, ironically or otherwise. Incredibly enough, until the release of Ultimate Manilow in early 2002, there was no comprehensive single-disc hits package on the market -- a shockingly long wait for one of the most popular hitmakers of the '70s, hip or not (and clearly the demand was there; Ultimate Manilow entered the charts at number three). The 20 selections on Ultimate Manilow are arranged in the chronological order in which they became hits, and the emphasis here is on "hits" -- i.e., chart singles. Between 1974 and 1981, Manilow reached the Top 40 20 times, and 18 of those songs are present; the other two (minor early-'80s hits) were bumped by "Bandstand Boogie," Manilow's well-known version of the American Bandstand theme song, and "When October Goes," a track from his 1984 jazz-pop album, 2:00 AM Paradise Café. It's an extremely straightforward approach to a greatest-hits compilation, which is actually something to be commended given Arista's botched Whitney Houston best-of (where they omitted several songs to protect back-catalog sales, although that's not likely a concern with Manilow). So is anything missing? Nothing crucial; the only potential disappointment is for fans who love Manilow's detours into flamboyant, Broadway-style production numbers. The concentration on hits means that several great B-sides in that vein ("New York City Rhythm," "Riders to the Stars," "Beautiful Music," the endearingly awkward "Jump Shout Boogie") are not included. But that's really a small quibble, and there simply wasn't room for them anyhow. Ultimate Manilow lives up to its title by including everything a casual fan would want. The only question is, what took so long?

Steve Huey, Rovi

Classic Sinatra: His Great Performances 1953-1960

Frank Sinatra
A good single-disc compilation of his Capitol years, covering 1953 to the beginning of the 1960s. His Capitol output was so extensive that it's impossible for a 20-song anthology to give a comprehensive overview even of the highlights. Also, as this focuses on the albums he made with Capitol, some of his biggest hits of the time are omitted, such as "Learnin' the Blues," "Hey! Jealous Lover," and "High Hopes." Still, a lot of the performances much of the public identifies with the singer are here, including "I Get a Kick out of You," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "Witchcraft," "All the Way," "Come Fly With Me," "One for My Baby," "Young at Heart," and "I've Got You Under My Skin."

Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Dream With Me

Jackie Evancho
Dream with Me, the long awaited full-length (non-seasonal) debut from "then" ten-year-old soprano Jackie Evancho, was produced by David Foster and comes stocked with all of the arias, show tunes, and pop classics one has come to expect from classically trained phenoms like Evancho, Charlotte Church, and Josh Groban. As far as classical-pop crossover collections go, Dream with Me hits all of the right notes, though there are few surprises or big moments to be found. Opening with an age-appropriate, sweetly sung rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star,” the collection offers up duets with Barbara Streisand (“Somewhere”) and Susan Boyle (“A Mother’s Prayer”), a lovely cover of Sarah McLachlan's “Angel,” a pair of Puccini arias (“Nessun Dorma,” “O Mio Babbino Caro”), and a handful of handcrafted originals from Foster and friends, resulting in a solid “official” debut from a rising star at the dawn of her career.

James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Phase II

Prince Royce
Having taken a few more cues from the R&B crowd -- like dropping his trademark "Royyyyyccce" at the beginning of tracks -- Prince Royce's mix of urban, bachata, and Latin pop felt especially fresh and exciting as this sophomore effort landed on shelves, but this ballad-driven release is far from gimmicky. From the massive "it's the little things" hit "Los Cosas Pequeñas," to the broad and uplifting dance-pop of "It's My Time," Prince Royce proves himself to be a talented, heartfelt singer, pulling a lot of soul out of a soft, amiable -- you could even call if featherweight -- voice. It's that light bit of his delivery that makes him approachable, and even if he's got the pedigree of a Dominican kid growing up in oh-so-cool N.Y.C., he's both hip and growing increasingly true to the music, delivering the album's more Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, and Selena moments in a style that's connectable over just crossover. With the genre-spanning and the man's delivery both more natural, the rewarding Phase II is a substantial step up from Royce's debut.

David Jeffries, Rovi

Cry Me a River

Julie London
Copyrights on recordings extend only 50 years in Europe, and reissue labels like Great Britain's Prism Leisure watch carefully to see what enters the public domain each year on January 1. The start of 2006 brought a new artist into the world of unlicensed repackaging: Julie London, who started her recording career in 1955 with her first LP, Julie Is Her Name, released before the end of that year, with her second, Lonely Girl, though not issued until 1956, also recorded in 1955, and therefore available as well. Prism Leisure could have simply thrown the two 13-track albums together on a single CD, but instead the label has chosen 11 titles from Julie Is Her Name ("Cry Me a River," "I Should Care," "I'm in the Mood for Love," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "I Love You," "S'Wonderful," "Say It Isn't So," "It Never Entered My Mind," "No Moon at All," "Laura," and "Gone with the Wind") and nine from Lonely Girl ("How Deep Is the Ocean?," "All Alone," "Fools Rush In," "I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City," "It's the Talk of the Town," "Where or When?," "Mean to Me," "When Your Lover Has Gone," and "Remember") and mixed them up on a 20-track, 46-minute disc with the unimaginative but probably inevitable title Cry Me a River (London's sole singles chart hit and signature song). This makes it at least the fourth Julie London album to be called Cry Me a River, but of course Prism Leisure couldn't care less about the confusion; if anything, it probably works to the company's advantage. Although taken from two different albums, the songs sound fine together. Julie Is Her Name used only guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Leatherwood as accompanists, while Lonely Girl cut that down to one musician, guitarist Al Caiola. More of a problem is that the spare arrangements allow lots of the pops and scratches from the LPs Prism Leisure used for the transfers to remain audible, meaning the sound quality here is not great. Also, as is typical of unlicensed reissues, the annotations are suspect, with "It Never Entered My Mind" mistakenly credited to Rodgers & Hammerstein instead of Rodgers & Hart, and poor David Raksin, composer of "Laura," having his name misspelled "Raskin" for the umpteenth time. Sticking to the original albums is a better idea, of course, but, as is also typical, the Prism Leisure disc is inexpensive.

The Greatest Doo Wop

Various Artists

50s Jukebox Hits

Various Artists
With 60 tracks spread over three discs, this budget box set actually presents a pretty varied survey of what played on American jukeboxes in the 1950s, with selections ranging from the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" to the raw, loose power of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues," the soulful honk of the instrumental "Raunchy" by Bill Justis, the Kingston Trio's reconstituted folk murder ballad "Tom Dooley," the easy country of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me," and the wonderful throwback pop of the McGuire Sisters' "Sugartime." That's pretty varied, and there's plenty here, making this a nice, affordable travel package for that trip back in time.

Steve Leggett, Rovi

Minecraft World

Wildlife

Nothing But The Best (Remastered)

Frank Sinatra

Call Me Irresponsible

Michael Bublé
More than any of his contemporaries, vocalist Michael Bublé has bridged the gap between standards-oriented vocal pop and more contemporary pop vocals. Having perfected the mix on his superb 2003 effort, It's Time, which found the Frank Sinatra-influenced singer covering both "I've Got You Under My Skin" and Leon Russell's R&B ballad "A Song for You," Bublé wisely doesn't mess with a good thing on 2007's Call Me Irresponsible. Once again delving into a mix of swinging big-band numbers and classic pop hits such as the wickedly hip '60s standard "Comin' Home Baby" (featuring backing vocals from Boyz II Men), the album is a breezy, stylish good time. And while such cuts as "The Best Is Yet to Come" and the laid-back title track comfortably cast Bublé as a modern-day crooner consistent with his billing, the unexpected reworkings of contemporary pop songs often make the biggest impact. To these ends, his bossa nova duet with vocalist Ivan Lins on Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" and the reharmonized Willie Nelson perennial "Always on My Mind" work particularly well here, not as cheeky cabaret but as artfully crafted and devastatingly moving ballads. And it's not just the cover tunes that drive the album; on the contrary, much like the Bublé co-written ballad "Home" defined the mood of It's Time, his sparkling melodic pop original "Everything" helps make Call Me Irresponsible a truly welcome pop album by any standard. This CD was nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 as Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and "Everything" was nominated for Best Male Pop Performance.

Matt Collar, Rovi

Timeless: The Selah Music Collection

Selah
Timeless: The Selah Collection is a rarity by Christian music standards. For one, the genre isn't too polite to veterans or legacies of any kind, so you'd be hard-pressed to find comprehensive, handsomely packaged retrospectives celebrating an artist's musical heritage, however big or small that heritage might be. The thing is, Selah have only been around for a decade or so, so they're not quite due for a box set of this caliber. Even more peculiar is the fact that Selah sing inspirational music -- a niche of gospel music whose profile has decreased significantly since praise & worship took over airwaves and sales charts at the close of the 1990s. This downturn didn't deter Selah from pressing on and safeguarding their place as the most popular inspirational group in all of CCM, accruing more than a million discs in lifetime sales and earning Dove Award honors for each of their non-holiday, non-special event albums -- three albums in all. Timeless collects all three projects and adds a fourth disc of unreleased material, demos, and semi-exclusives -- nothing eye-opening, but a thoughtful inclusion nonetheless. Through the duration, Selah remain consistently inspirational, performing reverent, heartfelt classic hymns, church standards, and spirituals like only members Todd Smith, Nicol Sponberg, and Allan Hall can. (Sponberg has since left the group; short-lived replacement Melodie Crittenden shows up in a couple of songs on the bonus disc, while new member Amy Perry shines in a few others.) Their harmonies and methodology are never groundbreaking -- just dependable, earnest, and worshipful, just like inspirational music ought to be. The bonus disc and extensive liner notes are the only reasons for Selah diehards to get the whole set -- a few selections from the group's likable Christmas album would have certainly added some value to it. Overall, Timeless is not by any means essential, but it's still a nice little homage to Selah, as well as a nice gesture for those who are yet to catch up with the trio's church-friendly repertoire.

Spa Music

Spa Music

Measure Of A Man

Clay Aiken

Great Songs of WWII

Various Artists

The Other Side of Down

David Archuleta
As the second-hardest-to-market "American Idol" runner-up, David Archuleta stumbled out of the gate in 2008, nobody quite knowing whether to embrace his youth or his granny appeal, so they wound up with a mediocrity that appealed to neither camp. The Other Side of Down, his 2010 sequel, firmly favors the former, borrowing heavily from Ryan Tedder’s chilly stainless-steel sheen, its glassy wall of synths, looped hooks, and rhythms reflecting radio-ready sounds of 2009-2010. It’s a style that doesn’t showcase the singer but Archuleta is already an old pro, fitting the contours of what he’s been given, which makes sense since he’s largely responsible for the songs here, bearing writing credits on ten of the 12 cuts. As a writer, Archuleta certainly is a follower, not an innovator, but he’s sharp enough to hire collaborators to coax comfortable commercial pop out of him -- something that is much more difficult than it appears, if his debut is to be trusted -- and beneath the gloss there are signs that the "AmIdol" finalist has been searching his soul, looking for what is “The Other Side of Down” as he’s trying to figure out “Who I Am,” knowing that “Things Are Gonna Get Better.” But don’t mistake this for a confessional, even on the level of Lindsay Lohan’s A Little More Personal (Raw) -- this is a middle-of-the-road pop album pure and simple, arriving perhaps two years too late, but it nevertheless proves that Archuleta has pop chops.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Relaxing Music

Relaxing Music

Top Songs

Don't Know Why

Norah Jones

It's A Beautiful Day

Michael Bublé

You Raise Me Up

Josh Groban

Fly Me to the Moon (in Other Words)

Frank Sinatra

My Way

Frank Sinatra

Haven't Met You Yet

Michael Bublé

Let It Go

The Piano Guys

Close Your Eyes

Michael Bublé

The Power Of Love (Radio Edit)

Céline Dion

Feeling Good

Nina Simone

Stand by Me

Prince Royce

Con Te Partirò

Andrea Bocelli

Your Great Name

Natalie Grant

Incondicional

Prince Royce

Beethoven - 5th Symphony

Beethoven

I Dreamed a Dream

Susan Boyle

When You Say You Love Me

Josh Groban

My Rifle, My Pony and Me

Dean Martin

The Bare Necessities (Soundtrack)

Phil Harris