Various Artists

Narada Decade, Vol. 2: Evolution 1992-2001

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Launched in 1983 with the release of Pianoscapes by Michael Jones and Heartsounds by David Lanz, Narada Records quickly became a new age mecca and trendsetter for other labels in the fast growing genre. Many years ago, when the label released a compilation of its first decade, the songs were mostly acoustic-based, melodic, and atmospheric gems by artists (including Tingstad & Rumbel and Spencer Brewer) who rarely crossed boundaries. The exception to this rule was the ambitious David Arkenstone. In the early '90s the focus changed dramatically, and, since then, Narada isn't just a new age haven anymore. A few of the opening tracks here reflect the joys of the "old" label-most notably -- those by Michael Gettel, Peter Buffet, and Arkenstone -- but, for the most part, this exciting 29-song collection celebrates the diversity of a label gone world-wild and more jazzy. There's Celtic music, African vocal music, acoustic guitar fingerstyling with Billy McLaughlin, energetic flamenco-based guitar (Oscar Lopez, Jesse Cook), meditational joys (Sheila Chandra), Brazilian (Flora Purim), and even selections from Narada Jazz's growing catalog, featuring Warren Hill, Ramsey Lewis, and Keiko Matsui. The music here offers a powerful glimpse back, but it's clear that the new directions point to the future. We can still call it "new age," but in a different sense than in the original vision for the label. With Narada forging down the roads less traveled by, it seems clear that the true new age of modern music is yet to be explored. Celebrating its exciting legacy, the label invites its fans to expand their minds and stay aboard as the challenges unfold.

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