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SONNY STITT/Low Flame + Feelin's: Two Stitt records from 1962 find a pairing for two sets from two labels but with the same crew on board both times. Each set reflects the different producer's outlook but Stitt's honking sax is a constant. This collection contains the entire recorded output by the quartet in question. Always the gasser, Stitt shines even when faced with songs like "Fine & Dandy", "Put Your Little Foot", "O Sole Mio" and others like that, but he also really shines when he gets to kick it out on his own originals. Rather than stand on various historical ceremonies, your time and effort is better spent enjoying one of the best post bop sax men as he made his way. Fine stuff.

SONNY STITT/Sensual Sound of + & the Top Brass: If it seems like there's a lot of Stitt out there to pick from, this set collects a 1961 set from Verve and a 1962 set from Atlantic showing how he was honking his sax all over the lot in a short time. Records reflecting the vision of the label that launched them, they are quasi thematic sets that plunk Stitt right down in the middle of surroundings that serve him well. This set has the added surprise of including a one off session with Stitt and Dexter Gordon recorded for Blue Note. The kind of stuff that can make you push your smooth jazz sets to the side, Stitt knew his axe and he always put that knowledge to good use. Check it out.

GRANT GREEN & IKE QUEBEC/Complete Instrumental Sessions: With a renewed interest in Green currently sweeping in, it's not surprising that the marketing people behind this set top line Green on what were really Quebec sessions. Recorded for Blue Note with Rudy Van Gelder at the controls, these sets are rounded out with tracks that weren't part of the original sessions but have enough fire power that should be liberated from the vaults. Swinging stuff from the turn of the 60s, this is loaded with the kind of groovy, groove filled sounds that kick started soul/jazz. A wild twofer that just keeps it coming.

CROSBY STILLS NASH YOUNG/CSNY 1974: Due to the fact there's always been a smoke and mirrors effect to most live albums, CSNY get points for admitting up front that these tapes were culled from the entire 1974 arena tour and edited into a ‘dream night' of killer performances from all over the lot. 3 cds and 1 DVD take you back 40 years to the heady times of Nixon resigning, the dawning the of the arena rock tour and more glory of rock times and attitudes. The quartet was 40 years younger, not the punch line of jokes and really feeding on the love the massive audiences were giving. It's probably hard for today's youngsters to see how bag breaking this was at the time, but the energy shines through. The performances live on and they still smoke across the divide of time. Hot stuff for all generations no matter where their heads are at these days on the time/space continuum. Much more than an historical document, this is a snapshot of how it was when music drove the culture and ‘festivals' were still about the music as opposed to fashion and selfies. Well done.

VAN DYKE PARKS/Super Chief: Parks says this is an orchestral fantasy based on the first train trip he took. He's done of lot of film work and the titles and attitudes here suggest this might be from films he's worked on. Whether it is or it isn't, this is the best Henry Mancini film score album that Mancini had nothing to do with. While we can all acknowledge Mancini as one of the grand masters of film music, we shouldn't hold it against Parks that he once said ‘no job too small' as he's quietly and unassumingly become one of the great go to guys in film music. Utterly smoking instrumental pop from one of the unrestricted geniuses that gladly doesn't fit the format. Above all else, this is a great record that's an antidote to noisy times without it consisting of pablum. Parks has majestically colored outside the lines once again.

Volume 38/Number 279
August 6, 2014
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2014 Midwest Record

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