AMERICAN JAZZ CLASSICS
COUNT BASIE/Kansas City Suite: More subtle than the titles of the times with ‘Meets‘ in them between two soloists, this pairing of Basie on a special set of works for Basie by Benny Carter is a little out of character for both of them but Carter, as always, turns in an amazing effort making this sound more like a Basie record than a Carter record. One of Basie's better loved album length statements, the original session is filled out with further sessions by many of the same first call soloists on board for the original (making you wonder why they didn't just couple it with the only other pairing of Basie and Carter). With more snap than period old man jazz, both talents must have had their eye on being remembered in the future. Hot stuff throughout.
GARY BURTON/New Vibe Man in Town: Burton has been in our consciousness for so long that it's almost funny to think about him making a debut album that could be in our collective memory. Unleashing his mallets on the world at 18 years old, this twofer that adds a complete session with Hank Garland to the titular set is a vibe lover's paradise. Obviously under the record company thumb more than he would have liked to be, Burton turns in a solid and winning performance on standards that might not have been to his choosing but certainly don't leave the studio without his personalization. Holding his own with Dave Brubeck's drummer, this should have been labeled an auspicious debut foreshadowing good things to come. It really wouldn't have been that tough a call. Still a winner throughout today.
TEDDY EDWARDS-HOWARD McGHEE/Together Again: Blowing together for the first time in 15 years, these two west coast jazzbos hung out the shingle for what would be their last session together for another 20 years, but that didn't stop them from blowing up a storm this time out. A hard working west coast cat, Edwards never really got his due but he kept plugging away. The marquee set is paired with a small group Edwards led that included young Les McCann. A solid showing of the kind of stuff that brought you down to the club night after night, back in the day.
ESSENTIAL JAZZ CLASSICS
ELLA FITZGERALD/Like Someone in Love: The fun thing about this album is that if you are new to Ella at this stage of the game, this might be the best place for you to jump in. With a long discography of high water mark winners, it might be too frustrating to figure it out from scratch. As legendary as her songbooks are, what if you don't dig Gershwin or Porter writing them off as too old or too highbrow? In a pop production headed in populist fashion by Frank DeVol with a bunch of the era's first call jazzbos in tow, this work out on ballads is a little out of character but hit's the bulls eye throughout. One of those sessions that almost no one doesn't like, no matter how much of an Ella fan they were/are, the lush romanticism is the hall mark of an era that casts echoes today. Killer, killer stuff for when love is in the air. The original release is augmented by some extra cuts from the same session as well as a Stan Getz instrumental work out on a complimentary cut that he shows up on. Check it out!
ELLA FITZGERALD/Ella Swings Lightly: There was so much jazz world talent in the 50s that it's hard to believe that with all the albums Fitzgerald made, she only had time for a little more than an album in collaboration with Marty Paich and his dectette prior to 1966, this being a time when both talents were really in flower. An album length statement when albums were still little more than collections of singles with some filler, this isn't a singles dependant album when it's the swing that's the thing. Unfairly not included in the list of her landmark works, this is a treasure to say the least and it'll be with you a long time before wearing out it's welcome. Hot stuff.
ELLA FITZGERALD/Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie: Yes, kids, once upon a time, a bunch of different singers could cover the same song, and as long as they brought their own special sauce, there was no derision about it. Fitzgerald could have covered the phone book if she wanted to and have it go gold. This set is heavy on covers of the day, but this set is about the personality that comes through and the small groups that know how to make the setting that really let's her shine on up close and personal performances. This set is augmented with a live 1954 date that is previously unreleased and gives you a solid dose of Ella live in her prime. Cats and kiddies, the joint is jumping!
ELLA FITZGERALD/Ella Swings Brightly With Nelson: For all the great stuff Fitzgerald did, her enduring and best loved works came when under the baton of a populist. This time around, she won a Grammy for her sessions with Nelson Riddle, the brilliant but financially over extended arranger who was the go to guy when you needed brilliance on a budget turned in yesterday. This set collects the winning session, extra cuts from those sessions and unused cuts from their Gershwin songbook album making this quite a powerful dose of Fitzgerald. Long before someone decided that shoe gaze was where it was at, swinging like this was the norm and not the exception. The only question back then was who could swing the best. Here's a mighty contender for you.
MIKE OLDFIELD/Platinum (Deluxe Edition): This expanded twofer might not be for the casual Oldfield fan looking for more "Tubular Bells", but for fans of adventurous music by a skilled practitioner that isn't afraid of falling on his face, who can resist the allure of tackling cover versions of Phillip Glass, live even? The second disc of the twofer has some live work that's a trip to the netherworlds of electronic music taking it to different levels of the game, even going back 30 years making it much more genre impressive. Head music that goes to wild places even before today's aficionados were born.
Volume 35/Number 307
August 23, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record
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