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ZOOT SIMS/Down Home: As much as it's way too easy to say things like ‘it doesn't get any better than this', what else can you say about a quartet with Sims and Dave McKenna in their 50s glory? Giving voice to songs that were chestnuts almost 60 years ago when this was recorded, you can hear and feel that it was a different world back then but killer playing is timeless. "Bill Bailey", "Avalon" some Basie chestnuts--did you ever think you'd care if you heard any of them again? You will if you just snag a 30 second taste of any of these on a sound post. It might be old, but it's just like one of those old bottles of wine you'd over pay for just because it had so much legacy behind it. A sure course in killer blowing 101, this is the stuff that gives you everything you need in great jazz with lots of swing along the way.

BOBBY TROUP/Songs of: No wonder the Russians didn't trust us in the 50s. How can you call a record The Songs of Bobby Troup if just about the whole set card is Johnny Mercer songs? Well, ya see, these are songs Troup sang in his night club act when the hipster faced off against the songbird of Savannah. Got that? No "Route 66" calling you baby all the time here. With four beyond reproach cats all worthy of being name checked on their own in tow, Troup shows why cool cats on the west coast stayed up late to get to closing time with him to toast one more for the road (even if it meant he was going home to Julie London!). Whether or not you think of Troup as a vocalist, he showed he knew how to deliver the goods here. Prime stuff.

DONALD BYRD-PEPPER ADAMS/Motor City Scene: You've no doubt seen this in several configurations over the years but here it is in it's original presentation. And, if after all this time you've only seen it but never heard it, boy, are you in for a treat. Here we have half a dozen young lions, all clawing their way out of Detroit and all would eventually change the face of jazz--or at the very least, make their mark known. From the opening of the opening track, "Stardust", you can't help but feel there's something very special going on here. Killer stuff that's great to see restored to the glory it deserves.

HERE'S EDIE: This is the kind of collection that just could never come about with a son's love and admiration for his mother. While the son that put this together wasn't even born yet when these shows were made, one of the great mid period boomer MILFs was bound and determined not to let being a young widow whose husband left her a big tax bill hold her back. Kicking off her prime time series with a Kurt Weill medley in the original German, and going with ‘Bilbao Song' rather than "Mack the Knife", you knew right away she knew what she was doing and wasn't afraid to go for it. This four disc set, giving these shows their first airing since they were run on TV (and you thought there was nothing left in the vaults but public domain movies) includes the entire run of Adams' show and loads of extras. Topped off with old school Hollywood variety with all the big names, classic Muriel Cigar ads, bits from Kovacs and more, this Emmy nominated classic is finally getting the props it deserves. A wonderful trip through the way back machine for anyone that misses what real entertainment was really about.

Volume 38/Number 39
December 9, 2013
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2013 Midwest Record

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