Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Heaven & Hell
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classical
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For rock and classical fans alike
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 10/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm over 65 and listen primarily to classical music and, to tell the truth, had never even heard of Joe Jackson. But a friend whose judgment I trust praised it so I took the plunge and bought it. I have to say that it knocked my socks off. I was expecting something pretentious and amateurish - as pop musicians' forays into classical music often are (remember Barbra Streisand's classical album?) - but it is a thoughtful, inventive, moving work. The classical musicians who participate clearly give their serious attention to the project, and for good reason: this is substantial music-making. Joe Jackson apparently had classical training and it shows. I have recommended it to several friends and they have all been impressed. If you are a pop/rock/jazz lover wanting to broaden your tastes or if you are a classical lover wanting to try new things, this is for you. You'll find yourself reaching for it often."
A modern song cycle
Valerie Archambeau | 09/11/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very encouraging, especially after the leaden "Night Music." This is a modern song cycle, based on the seven deadly sins; Joe's strong melodies are back, the arrangements are much improved, the guest vocals for the most part are well selected, and the idea behind the whole project is quite original. There's gluttony ("More is More"), lust ("Angel", embodied by Suzanne Vega, who I love, but she certainly seems uncomfortable in the guise of a hooker), greed ("Tuzla"--wonderful/horrible depiction of foreign civil war), sloth ("A Bud and a Slice", sung appropriately deadpan by the guy from Crash Test Dummies), anger ("Right", where that old Jackson bile comes back with a vengeance), envy ("The Bridge"--utterly gorgeous with Jane Siberry singing lead), and pride ("Song of Daedalus", which brings this to a fitting end). This is so well conceived from beginning to end. It's unfortunate that probably a lot of people who would appreciate this (classical music lovers?) will not be aware of it. It could easily be performed in a concert hall--there was a wonderful example of that on "Sessions on West 57th" on PBS, with Joe and most everyone else involved, I believe. Very worthwhile; with this, Joe has made the transition to a more "adult" music, if you will."
Joe Jackson's Masterpiece
Valerie Archambeau | Highland Park, Illinois | 01/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This write-up may represent one of the longest delays between a purchase and a review. I purchased this CD in 1997, and I have listened to it repeatedly for over ten years.
The seven deadly sins have never been so perfectly portrayed as they are in this collection - Jackson borrows imagery from the Bible, Dante's Inferno, and Greek mythology -- crafting lyrics and music to evoke each of the sins. Jackson wisely uses his guest vocalists to heighten the effect of the musical mood: Suzanne Vega and Dawn Upshaw on "Angel (Lust)" contribute lovely and contrasting vocals and come-ons, while Brad Roberts (you may remember him from Crash Test Dummies) intones a wonderfully lugubrious baritone on "Passacaglia - A Bud and A Slice (Sloth)." The music here balances upon the precise intersection of classical and alt-rock music, and may appeal to fans of both genres. And while little seems to connect the stories on the individual tracks together, (apart from the over-arching theme and the musical arrangement), the album works best when listened to as a whole -- which, if you're like me, you'll want to do over and over again. Would make a good companion piece to The Juliet Letters by Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet."