While its title and cover certainly suggest a record firmly in the bachelor pad/lounge music camp, Cool and Sparkling: The Liquid Sounds of Paul Smith nevertheless boasts a melodic ingenuity and technical emphasis that reward deeper listening. What keyboardist Smith dubs "liquid sound" is in fact a space-age pop precursor to soul-jazz, with an energy and groove all its own. Aided by clarinetist Abe Most, guitarist Tony Rizzi, and bassist Sam Cheifitz, Smith is too good a player and too clever a composer to settle for mere background music – structure is as important here as sound, and while Cool and Sparkling blends effortlessly with its surroundings, it never sacrifices substance for style.
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.
When one thinks of altoist/flutist Bud Shank's recordings of the 1950s, it is normally of his work with Stan Kenton's orchestra or collaborations with Laurindo Almeida or Bob Cooper. However, Shank led a superior quartet from 1956-1958 that also included pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and either Chuck Flores or Jimmy Pratt on drums. This typically magnificent five-CD limited-edition box set from Mosaic has the quartet's four albums (including a set that was recorded in Johannesburg, South Africa), a selection by Shank with a sextet that includes vibraphonist Larry Bunker, and three slightly later sets.
Before it was more common for jazz players like Wynton Marsalis to play both jazz and the "straight" music from stage, screen, and concert hall, trumpeter Joe Wilder broke the mold as a regular in Broadway pit bands and as a staff musician at ABC-TV from 1957-1973. After fleshing out his formal studies via stints with Lionel Hampton, Jimmie Lunceford, Lucky Millander, and Count Basie, Wilder augmented his "day job" at ABC with several dates as a leader. This 1956 Savoy session finds him in the sympathetic company of pianist Hank Jones, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Kenny Clarke.