The second Concord album was recorded the day after the first with the same lineup: guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna. Pass would sign with Pablo but Ellis would be a fixture on the Concord label throughout the 1970s. If anything, the guitarists' rematch was a bit stronger than their first due to material better suited for jamming including "In a Mellotone," a speedy "Seven Come Eleven," "Perdido" and "Concord Blues." Although Pass would soon be recognized as a giant, Ellis battles him to a draw on this frequently exciting bop-oriented date, which has been reissued on CD.
The very first release by the Concord label was a quartet set featuring guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Jake Hanna. Ellis and Pass (the latter was just beginning to be discovered) always made for a perfectly complementary team, constantly challenging each other. The boppish music (which mixes together standards with "originals" based on the blues and a standard) is quite enjoyable with the more memorable tunes including "Look for the Silver Lining," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Georgia," "Good News Blues," and "Bad News Blues." This was a strong start for what would become the definitive mainstream jazz label.
During 1974-1980, the Great Guitars (Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, and Herb Ellis with Byrd's rhythm section) recorded five fine albums. The group became less active in the 1980s, and a stroke ended Kessel's career. In 1996, the Great Guitars regrouped, with guests Mundell Lowe and Larry Coryell helping out. This 1998 sampler has selections from five of the six Concord albums. Strangely enough, it jumps around chronologically (the 1996 date is represented by the second, fourth, and eighth selections). Overall, there are plenty of hot selections here, including an Ellis-Kessel duet on "Down Home Blues" and heated renditions of "Lover" and "Air Mail Special." A good introduction to the band, which lived up to its name, although fans of the players will want the complete sessions (all of which are available on CD) instead.
After several years of few recordings, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers re-emerged with totally new personnel on this Prestige LP. The strongest performance is a quartet feature for the great trumpeter Woody Shaw on "I Can't Get Started," but the other three selections (which include such musicians as George Cables or John Hicks on keyboards, bassist Stanley Clarke and Ramon Morris on reeds) are also worth hearing and sound surprisingly "contemporary" for the time. An interesting set.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Austin's one and only album as leader. If you like crooners, then he can croon with best. The only album we've ever seen from vocalist Austin Cromer – a deep-voiced jazz singer with a style that's somewhere in the best space between Billy Eckstine and Arthur Prysock! Cromer's a lot more relaxed and less posturing than either of those bigger names – and he's got a great setting here, with small combo backing from a group that features Hubert Laws on flute, Chick Corea on piano, Richard Davis on bass, and Bruno Carr on drums! The set's a jazz one at heart, but has some soulful undercurrents too.
Reissue with the latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. I first became aware of Louis Van Dyke on the "Fond Memories of Frank Rosolino" CD and it became apparent that here was a creative mind with impeccable jazz abilities who was able to play into the sound of whatever environment he chose. This recording could be by a very different musician than heard on the Rosolino album as Van Dyke is able to switch hats and maintain the integrity of whichever he is wearing at the time. What we have here is unusual to say the least: 9 songs by the Beatles performed in 1970 on the Flentrop Organ in the Netherlands Reformed Chuch at Loenen a.d. Vecht.
At times, McDuff demonstrates how soul-jazz organ stars used to make albums back in their '60s heyday, playing then-current pop hits like "The Age of Aquarius" and the theme from Mission: Impossible (which, thanks to cinema, was a hit all over again in 1996 when this CD was made). We also hear McDuff trying out his vocal cords for the first time on Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry"; actually, he merely talks the lyrics over the rhythm section – and at 70, he's entitled to this charming lark.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. One of the more freewheeling groups we've ever heard recording for the Timeless label – especially during the 80s stretch in which this set was recorded – a free-thinking quartet that features Urs Leimgruber on soprano, tenor, and bass saxophone – plus Don Friedman on piano, Bobby Burri on bass, and Joel Allouche on drums! Leimgruber's sound really sets the tone for the record – with moody passages some stretches, or a bolder attack at other moments – then supported strongly by Friedman's piano, really gets a lot of freedom here. All tracks are long, and very different than usual for Timeless.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Trumpeter Steve Gut's on the frontline here alongside the legendary Clark Terry and the great Dusko Goykovich – and the younger musician really manages to hold his own, and work well with the two master trumpeters! The setting is a larger group – the RTB Big Band – and all three players get a chance to solo – and the mighty Alvin Queen is in the group on drums, providing a soulful kick that maybe makes the album sparkle a bit more than usual for the RTB – although they've always had a great legacy of work with bigger name players, especially American ones. Titles include "Mr CT", "Black Triangle", "Stemi", "Summer Afternoon", "On The Road", "Some Memories", and "Blues To Clark".