Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis 1963-1964 is an anomaly among the retrospective sets that have been issued from the late artist's catalog. It does not focus on particular collaborations (Miles with Coltrane, Gil Evans, the second quintet), complete sessions of historic albums (Bitches Brew, In a Silent Way, and Jack Johnson), or live runs (Plugged Nickel and Montreux). Instead, it is a portrait of the artist in flux, in the space between legendary bands, when he was looking for a new mode of expression, trying to find the band that would help him get there. These seven CDs begin after the demise of bands that included John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, and Wynton Kelly, after his landmark Gil Evans period, and even after his attempts at creating a new band with everyone from Frank Strozier and Harold Mabern to Sonny Rollins and J.J. Johnson.
Though on the surface Bitter Tears is just another installment in the seemingly endless series of Americana albums that Johnny Cash released in the '60s, it was a more daring collection than any of its predecessors or successors. Where Cash's previous Americana albums had previously concentrated on cowboys and Western pioneers, Bitter Tears is all about Native Americans and their trials and tribulations. It isn't a crass move – it's a sensitive, clear-eyed take on the unfair treatment of the American Indian that uses traditional folk ballads and newly written songs in the same vein. It's stark and moving, his best Americana album of the '60s.
Pianist Don Friedman first collaborated with Hungarian guitarist Attila Zoller as part of Herbie Mann's 1964-66 rhythm section. But the pair first explored the depths of their musical relationship in this excellent and aptly titled quartet session. Recorded in 1964, the same year Zoller won Down Beat's Talent Deserving Wider Recognition award, Dreams and Explorations is a challenging, evocative program of creative, improvised music that is never as predictable as traditional bop nor as ponderous, pretentious or piercing as free jazz.
Unlike some of his other Riverside recordings, the accent on this Jimmy Heath CD reissue is very much on his tenor playing (rather than his arrangements). Heath is in excellent form with a quintet that also includes pianist Wynton Kelly, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath. The instantly recognizable hard bop saxophonist performs four standards and three of his own compositions, including the original versions of "Gingerbread Boy" and "Project S." It's a good example of his playing talents.
Digitally re-mastered reissue of Sergio's debut album with his trio. Initially, Sergio moved from Brazil to New York to work as pianist with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Art Farmer (amongst others). He recorded this album plus a second album entitled Girl from Ipanema before forming the band that would eventually become Brasil '66. Bossa Nova York is closer to authentic Brazilian music than his later, more commercial recordings and these early sides are adored by Jazz purists. Originally recorded in New York and released in 1964.
In 2010 Universal Japan reissued a series of Impulse! classic jazz records on limited-edition CD. 20bit K2 mastering. One of the most accomplished jazz vibraphonists, Terry Gibbs made one of his best small group recordings for Impulse! in 1964. With Kenny Burrell and the strong rhythm section consisting of Sam Jones and Louis Hayes who were at the time working for Cannonball Adderley, Gibbs turns in a superb performance that is bluesy, swinging and modern!
Bennie Green was no where near the technician Stitt was. In fact, his trombone vocabulary precedes J. J. Johnson's and the bebop revolution of Bird and Diz. Nevertheless, Sonny and Bennie sounded like soul mates on the two occasions I caught them together at McKee's Show Lounge 63rd and Cottage in Chicago. Their meetings didn't produce the sparks of Stitt and Jug (Gene Ammons) but a spirit of rare camaraderie (Stitt could be an ornery loner).
By the time Oliver Nelson and his big band had recorded Fantabulous in March of 1964 for Argo, the great composer, saxophonist, conductor, and arranger was a man about town in New York. He had released some truly classic dates of his own as a leader in smaller group forms – Blues and the Abstract Truth and Full Nelson among them – and had done arrangement work for everyone from Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Hodges, Nancy Wilson, Frank Wess, King Curtis, Etta Jones, Jimmy Smith, Jack Teagarden, Betty Carter, Billy Taylor, and Gene Ammons, to name more than a few. For Fantabulous, he took his working big band to Chicago for a gig sponsored by Daddy-O-Daylie, a famous local disc jockey.
This is a reissue (first time on CD) of the seminal album by legendary German clarinetist/composer Rolf Kuhn (born 1929), recorded with a quintet, which also included his younger brother pianist/composer Joachim Kuhn (born 1944), bassist Klaus Koch and two Polish Jazz legends: saxophonist Michał Urbaniak and drummer Czesław Bartkowski. The album presents six pieces: three original compositions by Rolf Kuhn, two original compositions by Joachim Kuhn and one arrangement of a folk tune. Over the years this album achieved a legendary status and became a highly sought after collector's item, because of its political implications, as well as being one of the earliest East European Jazz recordings and an important cornerstone of European Jazz in general.