This is Django Reinhardt during the war years, without the services of perennial partner Stephane Grappelli and leading a large band in Paris (Grappelli would return for stretches after the war). Even sans his friend's simpatico violin, Reinhardt is still impressive on these 21 quality sides, picking nicely throughout. Heavy on his own material, set highlights include a two-part "Improvisation No. 3," "Belleville," and "Douce Ambiance." The sound remains anchored in Reinhardt's earlier Hot Club days of the late '30s, touched by a bluesier-than-normal strain and some hardened swing. A nice bet for dedicated listeners.
Documenting Stan Kenton's always controversial but never sleepy music, the seven-CD Complete Capitol Studio Recordings of Stan Kenton 1943-47 features the orchestra at a time when it was reaching its greatest popularity, evolving from using the artist's charts into the Pete Rugolo era. In addition to some unreleased tracks, there are also several rare sessions included that were recorded at the time strictly for radio airplay. Most of Kenton's biggest hits ("Artistry in Rhythm," "Eager Beaver," "And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine," "Tampico," "Southern Scandal," "Artistry Jumps," "Intermission Riff," "Across the Alley From the Alamo," and "The Peanut Vendor") are here, as are many concert works. A classic reissue.
This fourth volume in Pearl's series Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era includes 26 tracks of piano-roll recordings by Zez Confrey, a gifted pianist with nimble fingers and a light touch. Barring the four versions of "Kitten on the Keys," the selections here – "Coaxin' the Piano," "Poor Buttermilk," "You Tell 'Em Ivories," "Mississippi Shivers," and "Charleston Chuckles" – will be unfamiliar to most. It's an enjoyable collection nevertheless, and a fascinating document from nearly a century ago.
Pauline Alpert was known as a "whirlwind pianist" during the novelty era. She played within orchestras and as a solo artist. She also appeared in movies and videos, and was a contributing artist to many musical releases. Here is a wonderful variety of selections recorded by the phenomenal Pauline Alpert taken from her 1940's 78's. They are very finely remastered, and the overall quality is outstanding. A highly recommended CD by this artist.
In a perfect world, Lucy Reed would have been much better-known and would have built a large catalog. But regrettably, the obscure Midwestern jazz singer never became well-known, and she only recorded a few albums. Recorded at various sessions in January 1957, This Is Lucy Reed is the second of two albums she provided for Fantasy. This album, which Fantasy reissued on CD in 2001, finds Reed backed by some of bop's heavyweights, including trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, bassist Milt Hinton, arranger George Russell (who is heard on drums), and arranger Gil Evans (who plays piano on four selections).
2010 eight CD box set from the legendary Jazz pianist, composer, arranger and Big Band leader. This box set contains a plethora of material that Ellington recorded at the legendary venue, Carnegie Hall, during the height of the Big Band movement. Spanning the years 1943-47, this box set features 85 performances by Ellington backed by some of Jazz's greatest musicians including Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Junior Raglin, Al Hibbler, Claude B. Jones, Harry Carney, Oscar Pettiford, Sonny Greer, Ray Nance, Jimmy Hamilton, Al Sears and Ellington himself.
While it may be likely that serious fans of Art Tatum may own many or all of the recordings in this two-CD compilation released by Storyville with the blessings of the late pianist's estate, the acquisition of this particular edition should still be considered. First of all, the remastering exceeds all of the earlier LPs put out by various labels and equals or exceeds any other CD versions. ~ CDUniverse
This four-disc, 97-track collection compiles the highlights of the first major period of Frank Sinatra's solo career, beginning with 1943's "Close To You," and ending with 1952's "Why Try to Change Me Now." Sinatra was the preeminent singing idol of American teenagers (the female ones, at least) during this period, thanks to the dreamily smooth crooning style he exhibits here on "People Will Say We're in Love," "I Should Care," "Embraceable You," and dozens of others. Sometimes the still-callow singer isn't up to the material ("Ol' Man River"), sometimes the material isn't worthy of the singer ("The Hucklebuck"), and Sinatra would certainly go on to greater artistic achievements during his Capitol and Reprise years. Still, this box set is an absolutely essential purchase for any self-respecting Sinatra fan. –Dan Epstein
Dinah Washington was at once one of the most beloved and controversial singers of the mid-20th century - beloved to her fans, devotees, and fellow singers; controversial to critics who still accuse her of selling out her art to commerce and bad taste. Her principal sin, apparently, was to cultivate a distinctive vocal style that was at home in all kinds of music, be it R&B, blues, jazz, middle of the road pop - and she probably would have made a fine gospel or country singer had she the time. Hers was a gritty, salty, high-pitched voice, marked by absolute clarity of diction and clipped, bluesy phrasing. Washington's personal life was turbulent, with seven marriages behind her, and her interpretations showed it, for she displayed a tough, totally unsentimental, yet still gripping hold on the universal subject of lost love…