The Verve collection of Ella Fitzgerald’s sublime jazz singing is still the best. This recording made of her standout performance in 1960 before one of Europe’s toughest audiences brought her two Grammys and immortality. Her sincerity and gifts as an impressionist still shine through as they did then. Mack the Knife superb.
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA
Successors to The Beatles in terms of producing music with both beat and melody, and maintaining a lyric line, ELO produced Out of the Blue in 1977. Still played regularly on classic rock stations all over the world, its enduring status means that it has never gone out of production. Incorporating a “Concerto for a Rainy Day”, this album includes some of the best staying at home music ever made.
A sound track album with a difference. Surviving long after the eponymous NHK films, and with 3 or 4 successors, this music was composed, arranged and played by Kitaro on Korg, Roland, Yamaha, Prophet and Moog synthesizers, together with the more conventional guitar, drums, Quena, Mellotrone and Santur, to name but a few of the assortment of instruments used. Distinctive haunting melodies that have stood the test of time, this purely instrumental work manages to be Chinese and Japanese, yet unequivocally Western at once.
Another 1977 classic as popular today as it was when it was first sold; this album re-established Fleetwood Mac at the top of the rock/pop world and sold in the millions. It sold yet more millions with the advent of the compact disk as everyone who had a vinyl version upgraded to get the sound afresh.
OTTMAR LIEBERT & LUNA NEGRA
Ottmar Liebert uses a flamenco guitar and techniques, but this isn’t Flamenco music. It is hard to say what it is, except that it is contemporary, poetical, and intelligent; and has the heat, heart and soul of the Spanish gypsy. All the music is composed by Liebert, who is himself an eclectic mixture of cultures, and his music is distinctive, refreshing and one of the best things to have come out of the modern music movement in years.