Mannheim Steamroller

Fresh Aire Collector's Box, Vol. 1-8

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Mannheim Steamroller is actually Chip Davis, a virtual one-man band of several talents. This eight-disc collection contains all of Davis' monumental Fresh Aire series, starting in 1974 and concluding with the eighth and (supposedly) final disc from 2000. The Fresh Aire sessions not only encompassed the combined elements of new age and neo-classical but also created many of them. These records initially appealed to audiophiles as state-of-the-art (of the time) technology was utilized, enhancing the listening experience. Eventually, the albums were taken at face value and admired for the various themes Davis employed. Some of these records, mainly the first four, addressed the universal themes of the seasons, evoking emotions surrounding fall, spring, summer, and winter. The succeeding discs delved into interpretations of Greek mythology, futuristic explorations, and a mega-successful Christmas disc. On disc number eight, Davis attempts to summarize all of the above in titles like "Big Bang (Infinity in Cosmology)," "Leonardo (The Infinite Thinker)," and "Waterfall (Infinity in Art)." While this is a costly set with a lot of material to digest, fans of Mannheim Steamroller will want it. For the novice, start with any of the first four.

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