ORIGINAL JAZZ CLASSICS REMASTERS
THELONOIS MONK-GERRY MULLIGAN/Mulligan Meets Monk: When east coast cool met west coast cool two afternoons in 1957, everyone expected the clash to brew up a storm. Didn't happen. Instead, an enduring classic of cool that has transcended the ages. The piano/sax mash up colored outside the lines all the way. This cd edition has four alternative takes that weren't on the original set that show just how far these cats were willing to go. Certainly a genre hallmark of sitting down jazz for finger popping daddios looking to take five rather than an egghead delight, this is hipster cool that is sure to be eternal.
GILLESPIE PASS BROWN ROKER/Dizzy's Big 4: When you've got a date where Mickey Roker is the runt of the litter and the front line is be boppers that have been simpatico for 30 years (as of this 1974 recording), sparks are going to fly. Joe Pass steps up to match the speed and passion of the core be boppers and Roker does more than just keep time on this high time. Speaking of time, whether jitterbugging or illuminating Kurt Weill, this is a fine time. Even at this late date, the vaults were holding some unreleased tracks that makes this special date even more special. Hot stuff that time hasn't dimmed a whit.
DUKE ELLINGTON & HIS ORCHESTRA/The Ellington Suites: Recordings that stretch back as far as 1959 but were only released posthumously make up the side of Ellington not often on display. With all the greats that kept him great in tow, this was more than Norman Granz providing a platform for those who had been with him loyally for so long. Rounded out with a recording that debuts on this set by Ellington & Strayhorn, his centennial celebration still glows brightly 14 years after the fact. A must for any serious student/listener of classy and classic jazz.
OSCAR PETERSON-STEPHANE GRAPPELLI/Skol: This was really a step outside the lines for Granz in the 80s. Grappelli was in the middle of a late career resurgence and wasn't really a member of the Granz camp. NHOP was a rising bass star that was getting farther and farther into the new regime and of course, Peterson, Pass and Roker were Granz mainstays. Recorded at Tivoli Garden, hitting a solid set of standards that Grappelli and Peterson knew their way around, Grappelli let it all hang out with solos like you would have had to be around in the 30s to have heard and enjoyed. Everyone else pulls their weight admirably making this more of an ensemble recording than a staged jam session. Utterly top shelf listening jazz by first class pros, this is another Pablo date that's one for the ages. Killer stuff that'll be hard to match by a cast that basically won‘t be coming this way again. The previously unreleased tracks that aren‘t alternate versions of what‘s on the original recording serve to make this package extra special. You have to remember, this newly released stuff wasn‘t second rate, it‘s just that lps only had so much playing time.
ART TATUM/Solo Masterpieces V. 1: What is there to say? Culled from the monumental box set that covered every solo note Tatum laid down for Norman Granz back in the day, this collection that pulls from the original set and from volume nine of the collection, is a testimony of what ten fingers can do in the right hands. A masterful showcase of nothing more than the joy of playing by an unassuming master, this is what solo jazz piano is all about. It's utterly amazing what one person can do when they are at one with what they are doing. Top shelf all the way!
ZOOT SIMS/And the Gershwin Brothers: Youngbloods better know how to read and comprehend because Sims isn't facing off against the Gershwin's, he's playing their songs in non-pareil fashion with a line up of what were the Pablo All Stars in the early 70s. Pablo was a home for the jazz greats of previous eras that still had it even if time and tide had moved in different directions. This set shows Sims was still ready to show up and blow his sax like he was still a youngster on the road with the big bands. Tooting away on a set card that was well trod by the jazzbos of his era, all on board could have played his in their sleep, but they don't sound at all like it. A wonderful, jumping session that certainly deserves to escape from the vaults every so often, this is a fine set to be one of leaders of the celebration of Pablo's 40th anniversary. Hot stuff now and forever.
ALBERT KING/Roadhouse Blues: I think it really says a lot about King that he's been dead for over 20 years and I still can't bring myself to throw out his Rolodex card. This no fat distillation of the best of the best of his stuff for Stax is a must for any contemporary blues fans that haven't fallen under his spell. Certainly one of the masters, this collection cuts to the chase and will give you one of the best cases of the blues ever. Well done.
STAX NUMBER ONES/various: There's been a lot of great Stax collections over the last 20 years but this one boils it all down to even something more than the essence. Collecting all of the label's number one hits from the 60s and 70s, this is why it's so sad that bankers let the label fall into such disrepair, much like they did with other mighty soul labels from the period that didn't deserve to die ignominious deaths. No matter what your taste is in Southern soul, this collection isn't homogenized but fans of grittier stuff than Motown will be flipping this lids. A killer no fat collection of timeless tracks that just doesn't quit. Check it out.
Volume 37/Number 323
September 20, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record
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