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RAY CONNIFF/Collection 1938-62: If your ears came of age during Beatles run, when you think of Conniff, if you think of him at all, you think of him as the MOR schlockmeister of the 70s. Time can be so unfair. With a career full of high spots that was 25 years running even before Beatles figured out their sound, Conniff was a wild swinger even before WWII was in full swing. This fatty collection starts out with his work in all the big swing bands of the day and proceeds with a great sampling of his work for himself and others over the next quarter century showing how he knew how to roll with the changing tides. The older stuff should actually bring a smile since it sounds like cartoon music, you certainly have nothing to lose by opening your ears to some solid stuff you missed along the way---especially if you weren't even here yet.

WES MONTGOMERY/Classic Recordings 1958-60: In which we find the initial years of Montgomery's return to recording after leaving Lionel Hampton a decade before. Well representing his World Pacific years with his brothers in the band, he was able to reel off 8 albums in two years because this collection is loaded with recordings with his brothers as a band and others as leaders. Always the smoking cat, you can draw a short line from Charlie Christian to Montgomery as quintessence, protean jazz guitar players. Swinging so hard 60 years ago that "Summertime" still sounds like no version of it you've ever heard, this documents some of the underexposed sides that created the legend when the older, wiser Dick Bock knew to trust Montgomery more than the younger, hopeful Bob Weinstock was able to let go and let Montgomery do his thing. Quite the wonderful collection of jazz guitar throughout.

WES MONTGOMERY/Classic Recordings 1960-62: Once again we find Montgomery turning in 8 albums over two years, once again in fairly the same type of configuration as the set covering the previous two years. This time around, the bouquet has come certified classics in the bunch, like his duet with Milt Jackson that is one of the most enduring recordings either has been on. Running almost up to the period when Creed Taylor turned him from a bebopper to a pop star, this is solid, straight to the heart jazz guitar that shines no matter what the configuration. Killer stuff at every level of the game, you aren't a real daddio unless you know these sides back to front.

ZOOT SIMS/12 Classic Albums 1956-62: It just doesn't get anymore daddio than this. 12 albums over 6 years on almost as many different labels, and none of these titles co-billed with Al Cohn, the proof is in the tracks that this high school drop out knew the language of swing and bop well, even knowing how to properly take it to Brazil. A saxophonic collection, there's never a dull moments and the whole thing plays like one big, greatest hits set. We might be stretching back 60 years here but dang if it all doesn't feel like it's in the moment. Check it out.

JOHN GREAVES-PETER BLEGVAD/Kew Rhone: Well uber fans, the unfindable has been found once again, but as always as it's been in the past, for how long will it stay found? An impossible to find set when it first was released in the 70s, some of the Henry Cow bunch decamped to Carla Bley's Woodstock studio and let their freak flags fly with the kind of stuff she was doing in earlier in the decade----art jazz taken someplace else indeed. Do you have to be too hip for the room to get this? It certainly doesn't hurt. The funny thing is, if you just like stuff that's weird for the sake of being weird that has a professional, internal consistency to it, this is going to fill some strange, Zappa jonesing, sweet tooth missing his excursions into jazz from hell. One of the great gonzo classics of all time, it can descend through the generations without mussing a hair along the way.

JJ CALE/Ebbets Field 1975 Broadcast: The Colorado club was a hot spot for FM and underground acts to give live broadcasts from in the mid 70s and this set is no exception to the vibe extant. Oddly enough, with his first two albums well in his rear view mirror, he chose to do cuts from those albums rather than promote the stuff in the pipeline, not that we're complaining. Bringing the Tulsa sound in full bore, here's a taste of original roots/Americana for you, well seasoned indeed. Since the concert was so short, this set is bottomed out with both sides of three singes from the turn of the 60s showing just how far the would be 50s rocker had moved along. One of those cool snapshots of a time and place never to be found again.

NIKKI CARR/Trophy Wife: What was once outré slowly but surely becomes mainstream. Carr was late in coming to comedy because it took the middle a while to catch up to the observations of an overweight, black, lesbian grandmother who really could speak easily to all the races as some things, especially tough times, are universal. Apparently always keeping her sense of humor in tact no matter what, this new ‘over night sensation' hits it out of the park on her well seasoned debut. Already proving her show biz mettle in movies, on tour and on the tube, here's the walking, talking proof that noting really matters in comedy except knowing how to get the laughs, something where Carr shows she's a genius. Give it a spin and have a great time.

Volume 38/Number 227
June 15, 2015
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2015 Midwest Record

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