Orbison recorded the majority of his best work between the mid ‘50s and the early ‘60s, including hits like “Only the Lonely,” “Ooby Dooby,” “Running Scared,” “Crying,” “Dream Baby,” and “Workin' for the Man,” to name just a few. The aforementioned songs, and many others, have been included on this essential CD, which compiles all of Roy Orbison's 7” singles (A & B sides) released between 1956 and 1962 by such iconic labels as Sun, RCA, and Monument. The original gems presented here have been brilliantly remastered to achieve the most pristine sound. These sides helped to consolidate “The Big O” (Orbison's nickname) as one of the all-time-great singers.
Although undoubtedly an expensive acquisition, this ten-CD set is perfectly done and contains dozens of gems. The remarkable but short-lived trumpeter Clifford Brown has the second half of his career fully documented (other than his final performance) and he is showcased in a wide variety of settings. The bulk of the numbers are of Brownie's quintet with co-leader and drummer Max Roach, either Harold Land or Sonny Rollins on tenor, pianist Richie Powell, and bassist George Morrow (including some previously unheard alternate takes), but there is also much more.
The seven sides that make up the all-star outing Picture of Heath (1961) might be familiar to fans of co-leads Chet Baker (trumpet) or Art Pepper (alto saxophone), as Playboys (1956). Perhaps owing to trademark-related issues with the men's magazine of the same name, Picture of Heath became the moniker placed on the 1961 Pacific Jazz vinyl re-release, as well as the 1989 compact disc. Regardless of the designation on the label, the contents gather selections recorded on October 31, 1956 – the third encounter between Baker and Pepper.
Two former LPs by big bands led by bassist Oscar Pettiford (who doubles on cello) are reissued in full on this single CD. The arrangements by Gigi Gryce, Lucky Thompson, and Benny Golson feature a lot of concise solos, an inventive use of the harp (either by Janet Putnam or Betty Glamann), and colorful ensembles. Among the many soloists are trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonists Jimmy Cleveland and Al Grey, the French horn of Julius Watkins, the tenors of Thompson or Golson, and the bassist-leader. This formerly rare music is highly recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans, for it is full of fresh material and subtle surprises.
This 1989 CD issue compiles all known sides cut during a July 26, 1956, session led by Chet Baker (trumpet) and Art Pepper (alto sax). Keen-eyed enthusiasts will note that this particular date occurred during a remarkable week – July 23 through July 31 – of sessions held at the behest of Pacific Jazz label owner and session producer Dick Bock at the Forum Theater in Los Angeles. The recordings made during this week not only inform The Route, but three other long-players as well: Lets Get Lost (The Best of Chet Baker Sings), Chet Baker and Crew, and Chet Baker Quintet at the Forum Theatre.