Willie "The Lion" Smith

Pork and Beans

November 8, 1966

Early Jazz

One of the last of the major stride pianists, Willie "The Lion" Smith pays tribute to some of his contemporaries during this solo studio set. Smith performs four numbers by Luckey Roberts, three by Eubie Blake, two apiece from Fats Waller and George Gershwin and four veteran standards. Smith was in the last part of his musical prime and is still quite strong on this spirited and definitive late-period program, infusing his hot stride with impressionistic ideas.

- Scott Yanow

Mercury Rev

Deserter's Songs

1998

Alternative Pop/Rock

The band's fourth long-player exchanged the volcanic noise and twisted sensibilities of earlier releases for ornate arrangements and ethereal strings, unlocking a beauty previously hidden just below the surface. The album's lush harmonics and soothing textures bathe in an almost unearthly light. Standouts including the exquisitely waltz-like "Tonite It Shows" and the celestial "Endlessly" are like lullabies, their music-box melodies gentle and narcotic.

- Jason Ankeny