Engineer/producer Alan Parsons and his colleague, songwriter and lyricist Eric Woolfson, formed the Alan Parsons Project in 1975. Throughout their career, the Alan Parsons Project recorded concept albums (including adaptations of Poe and Asimov books) with a revolving cast of session musicians. Released in 1982, Eye in the Sky was their greatest success; the title track charted in the Top Ten on the pop charts and the album went platinum. Although they weren't able to repeat that success, the group maintained a devoted cult audience, even after they stopped recording following 1987's Gaudi.
The 12 tracks that appear on The Best of the Alan Parsons Project include some of their greatest singles, like "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" from 1977's I Robot and the inducing "Games People Play" off of The Turn of a Friendly Card. Even though these songs are splendid all by themselves, they seem to lose their conceptual weight when taken away from their original albums. As singles, they do act as a fine representation of how The Alan Parsons Project's music sounds and conveys its mysterious air, but even with a dozen singles on this album there's just too much of their other worthy material that is sadly left off. Present is their biggest single and most alluring piece, "Eye in the Sky," from the album of the same name, and the entrancing "Time" from Turn of a Friendly Card. "Pyramania" and "You Don't Believe," representing both Pyramid and Ammonia Avenue, are also included, as are some of their finest ballads with "Old and Wise" and "Don't Let It Show."
Co-founder, writer and drummer of Soulive for over 15 years, Alan Evans proudly presents his newest creation, the Alan Evans Trio; an inspiring and fresh organ trio lineup. With Danny Mayer on guitar and Beau Sasser at the Hammond B-3, the trio's sound proves hard driving and groovin' with dark funky rhythms and blues lick solos. Alan Evans and his trio appeared for a live in-studio recording as the first of the Woodstock Sessions series. The Alan Evans Trio opens a window into another side - an emotional introspection, as dark as it is powerful.
Following the success of her 2011 album, Diva Divo, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato presents an exciting collection of virtuosic arias in her 2012 release on Virgin, Drama Queens. Drawing on royal roles in Baroque operas by Handel, Monteverdi, and Haydn, as well as selections from such minor composers as Orlandini, Porta, Keiser, Hasse, Cesti, and Giacomelli, DiDonato demonstrates both her impressive vocal abilities and a wide range of characterizations. Supported by the period ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, conducted by Alan Curtis, DiDonato sings with dynamic power and exquisite embellishments, executing runs and ornaments with sparkling brilliance and projecting her voice with ease. But even more important than her technical prowess is her charismatic presentation of these 17th and 18th century opera heroines, whose passionate emotions and exaggerated behavior are wonderfully realized in DiDonato's dramatic interpretations. Since Baroque opera has become something of a specialized interest of early music connoisseurs, DiDonato's album is a welcome introduction for listeners less familiar with this period, and her faithful performances make the era come to life with appealing freshness and vitality.