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WILL CAVINESS SEXTET/A Walk: Here's a trumpet playing jazzbo that has no compunction about letting you know he loves daddio jazz as well as the bopping cats that were the movers behind it. After landing in New York, he found other like minded cats that know how to bring the daddio as well and created a swinging date that sounds like it could have been from back in the day without having the hang over of homage or tribute. Smoking stuff that keeps the future of jazz in good hands no matter what flavor you want to coat it with. Well done.

THE 75 BEST JAZZ TRACKS OF THE EARLY 1960s/various: You know it's Christmas time in the record business when the labels look around the warehouse and try to figure out which previously released sets are laying around in sufficient quantity to wrap a new sleeve around and try to sell off one more time. The six discs in this fatty collection are actually the previously released twofers "The Best 25 Jazz Tunes of 1960", "The 25 Best Jazz Tunes of 1961", and "The Birth of Soul Jazz", not that such is necessarily a bad thing. What was once a bargain priced daddio jazz bonanza is now a bargain priced treasure trove of a ton of some of the greatest daddio jazz extant. With everything from "This Here" to "Dat Dere" on board, you won't be moaning when the watermelon man comes to town with the truth as told by Hancock, Coltrane, Mobley, Adderley, Newman, Crawford, Garland and loads more that might have never had the elusive hit but left a firm imprint with tunes that became classics in spite of themselves. You can out hipster any hipster once you release this set from it's packaging confines and let the good vibes fly. Hot stuff.

STEVE LAWRENCE & EYDIE GORME/Side by Side: The proverbial nice young couple that got washed away by the Beatles tsunami that upended the music biz, Sinatra and Presley showed that new and old could co-exist but a few years later, Beatles wiped that slate clean. The 50 tracks on this twofer, from unidentified sources, show that they were keeping the Sinatra ethos alive even while being early champions of Carole King and the new Brill Building breed even making chart showing with same just as handily as they did with Steve Allen tunes. A paragon of rec room swing for late 50s nu suburbia, they might seem cornball as they work their way through the classics and chestnuts, but if you listen closely, you'll really hear otherwise. Easy swing backed by great big band arrangements bring this set together into a nice whole that reflects a simple joy of a time that appeared to be innocent (on the surface). Fun stuff throughout.

ART BLAKEY/Complete Blue Note Collection Part 1 1954-57: Anyone who has ever spent any time combing bins in a used record store had to come away with the impression that Blakey made records at a rate of about one every 24 minutes. This fatty collection, the first of three covering his Blue Note years from 1954 through 1962 is only part of the parcel the 24 albums he made in those 8 years. While Miles Davis' rotating bands were jazz's finishing school, Blakey's rotating cast of jazz messengers where the foot soldiers in Blakey's jazz boot camp. Already an in demand session drummer before putting the first edition of the Messengers in play, this collection of his first eight albums shows his vision was firmly in place as he put the first of his crews through their paces. A hard bopping daddio from the moment Billy Eckstine's band broke up and all the beboppers on board went their separate ways, this collection is sure to whet the whistle for more daddio jazz to come. With three of the best of the bop sets made on board here, there's plenty along with it to keep you grooving all night. This is what journey's through the past should be about.

ART BLAKEY/Complete Blue Note Collection Part 2 1957-60: The eight records from this three year period were so towering, they were heady and heavy enough to keep Blakey on Blue Note's roster no matter what time and tide brought right up until the end of the the label's golden period in the mid 70s. With "Moanin'" at the center of this, with author Bobby Timmons right in the center of the Messengers at the time, daddio jazz perfection was attained. Blakey was pretty radicalized for the times and this playing reflects that energy. Influenced by his trips to Africa and the work of other heavy duty drummers he was keeping an ear on, these albums would be classics even without the internal classics that propelled them. Right on stuff like this shows why the power and influence of killer daddio jazz will never die. There's so much here to digest, this could easily be the only classic jazz collection you buy all year.

ART BLAKEY/Complete Blue Note Collection Part 3 1960-62: So tell me what you can say about a leader that had the foresight to have Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, Curtis Fuller, Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton under his watchful eye in the course of the two years these albums were recorded in? ‘Wow' good enough? Going more for the groove after Miles laid down the law with "Kind of Blue", there's still plenty of bop here to go around for everyone. With 30 years of life and recording still ahead of him, Blakey was playing like a cat at least 2/3s his age and pushing on as well as pushing boundaries. Music made for filter less ciggies, dark clubs and waitresses in dark clothes, slip on some Bose headphones and let this fatty collection take you the club in your mind where dames mixed wit' guys who said ‘deese' and ‘dose' and let the good times roll. Hot stuff throughout.

PHINEAS NEWBORN JR/The Classic Albums 1956-62: A jazz piano cat with the chops of Tatum and the commercial smarts of Jamal, Newborn went from being an early running mate of Willie Mitchell, a backer of B. B. King and a road musician with Jackie Brenston to being just another great American tragedy as various matters led him to unwind and become undone much to the jazz world's loss. These nine albums are culled from his greatest period and don't sound at all dated considering they are older than your grandpa. Whether solo or in august company, this pro plays like a champ and is well deserving of rediscovery. You'll have to look far and wide to find better jazz piano than what's on display here. Check it out.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III/Late Night Calls: Recorded in 1972 for a radio broadcast right on the heels of "Dead Skunk" blowing wide open and becoming his signature song, Wainwright was still well into his earnest, young man stage even after honing his act in countless folk clubs prior to this. Balancing wit and snark that were part an parcel of the ammunition fired in the generation gap wars, this collection of tracks from his first three albums, soon to be released albums and never before committed to wax numbers, this is sure to take old timers back to when they first fell under his spell. A fine remembrance of staying out late and not caring if you made your nine o'clock class or night.

STEVIE NICKS/Gold Dust Woman: In the throes of the 1987 economic recession, even La Bella Nicks had to deign to do a radio concert for Westwood One to keep the shine on her platinum career. Pulling tracks from her solo sides as well as her best moments from the Big Mac, this set gets docked a notch for audio quality. Nicks is clear and on point delivering a heartfelt performance that's anything but perfunctory, but what should have been a board mix sounds like it was recorded from another source. Culled from the period from before Nicks withdrew for various reasons, real Nicks lovers won't let the sound stand in their way as this date was something on the road to a last hurrah for a time.

DEBORAH SHULMAN/My Heart's in the Wind: Sometimes you just have to go off the beaten track. The vocal coast for Ronstadt, David Lee Roth and Jennifer Warnes among many others, Shulman rounds up some first call, underexposed west coast jazzbos for a cabaret inspired trip through the American songbook that stands proudly next to anything the Callaway gals could summon up. Seemingly targeted toward cabaret tastes, this well wrought vocal set is a treat not to be missed by anyone not afraid to open their ears beyond their normal comfort zone. Well done.

Volume 39/Number 49
December 19, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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