Art Blakey's 1963 Jazz Messengers (which included trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenor-saxophonist Wayne Shorter, trombonist Curtis Fuller, pianist Cedar Walton and bassist Reggie Workman in addition to the drummer-leader) was one of his finest. The CD reissue (which adds two songs to the seven on the original LP) has plenty of strong moments, particularly on "Ping-Pong," Shorter's feature ("I Didn't Know What Time It Was") and the memorable "One by One." This high-quality hard bop session is recommended. [Ugetsu was reissued in 2006 and includes bonus tracks.] …amg
Hungarian guitarist Elek Bacisk is a cousin of Django Reinhardt, and has continued his tradition of blending swing and gypsy elements into a coherent, expressive jazz mode. Bacisk initially studied classical violin and played gypsy songs in Budapest, then switched to jazz guitar. As a teen, he recorded in a band with alto saxophonist Geza Szabo and trumpeter Jozsef Quitter, then later toured Europe with Mihaly Tabanyi's band. Bacisk moved to Paris in 1959, and through the early and mid-'60s recorded and played with visiting American musicians, among them Art Simmons, Quentin Jackson, Lou Bennett and Dizzy Gillespie. He also did sessions heading his own bands. Bacsik came to America in 1966, and worked from 1967-1974 with Teresa Brewer before cutting his own sessions. He appeared at the 1974 Newport Jazz Festival and 1984 Olympic Games Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
Pierre Michelot was one of the very best jazz bassists in Europe, though few fans think of him as a bandleader, composer, or arranger. This reissue of an LP made for Mercury dates from 1963, where Michelot is joined by some of the top players on the continent. In addition to fresh arrangements of standard fare like "Cherokee" and "Bye, Bye Blackbird," the leader penned five compositions, including the tasty blues "Akkilino," which is an extended feature for his bass and Roger Guerin's muted trumpet. "Elephant Green" showcases flutist Raymond Guiot and Pierre Gossez's robust baritone saxophone in a melancholy ballad setting. Like many of Verve's Jazz in Paris CD reissues, this recording is a sleeper that is well worth acquiring, even if its running time is a tad miserly at around 32 minutes.