Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar".
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest, hardest albums that trombonist JJ Johnson ever cut for Columbia – a session we'd rank right up there with his amazing JJ Inc record, and like that one a really cooking hardbop record that maybe even rivals the best on Blue Note and Prestige at the time! As with that gem, the strength here is really the group – not just tremendous trombone from JJ, but great work from Nat Adderley on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, Cedar Walton on piano, Spanky DeBrest on bass, and Albert Heath on drums – all working with a soaring, soulful energy that's a lot more hardbop heavy than you might expect from JJ Johnson on some of his other projects for the label.
An incredible tribute to German pianist Jutta Hipp – one of the few female players in the postwar European jazz scene, and one of the few who managed to make a splash on this side of the Atlantic too! Jutta's best known to American audiences for a handful of records she cut for Blue Note – and this set takes those records, and moves way way past them – to including a huge range of material that really opens up our understanding of Hipp's music in her all-too-short career! The CDs feature early German recordings – in a number of sessions with small groups that include a quintet with Emil Mangelsdorff on alto and Joki Freeund on tenor, a number of performances in the New Jazz Stars group of tenorist Hans Koller, work in a quintet with Attila Zoller on guitar, another sextet with Albert Mangelsdorff on trombone, and a group co-led with baritone saxoponist Lars Gullin.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of Barney Kessel's greatest albums ever – a rare Italian-only session that has a sparkly Brazilian groove! The record was recorded in Rome in 1970, and it's got Kessel's guitar fronting a combo with organ and some very tight percussion – all dancing around in a fast samba mode that's different from virtually anything else he ever recorded – very groovy, very upbeat, and very much what you might expect when the talents of a west coast guitar giant meets the best of the Italian studio scene of the time! There's loads of original tracks on the set – like "Freeway", "Lison", "BJ's Samba", and "On the Riviera" – and the whole thing has a breezy dancing feel that's really wonderful!
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of JJ's best from the late 50s – a tightly crackling hardbop set, recorded very much in the manner of his classic JJ Inc album! The sound here is a bit more compact overall – with some shorter tracks that really allow Johnson to display his keen sense of economy on his horn, while working in a burning mode that recalls some of his best bop sides from the early years – particularly his work on Blue Note.
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. The excitement on the cover here is very well-placed – and RCA clearly knows they've got something special on their hands – the launch of vibist Gary Burton as a leader – a force in jazz that would continue strongly for decades to come! At the time of the record, Burton had already been making waves as a session player on the Nashville scene – where RCA had some especially strong ears – but he's launched here in a mode that's quite far from those roots, and already filled with those modern, chromatic modes that would have Burton pushing the sound of the vibes forward strongly throughout his career – even on an early record like this! The group is very like-minded, and well-chosen – players who are spacious and modern, but never too much so – a quartet with Jim Hall on guitar, Chuck Israels on bass, and Larry Bunker on drums.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest albums ever recorded by bassist Gary Peacock – one of his rare Japanese-only sessions, and a date that beautifully mixes his bass with acoustic and electric piano from Masabumi Kikuchi! The sound is often somewhat dark – building up slowly from the bottom on long, contemplative lines from Peacock's bass – as Kikuchi fills things in with some slightly sharp edges, but never too much so. The rest of the group features twin drums from Masahiko Togashi and Hiroshi Murakami – although each player drops out for a number apiece. Titles are all originals by Gary – and include "Hollows", "Bonsho", "Ishi", "Voice From The Past", "Requiem", and "Ae Ay".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of Gary Peacock's rare Japanese-only albums for Columbia – really dynamic trio work that's a lot more powerful than the bassist's later sides for ECM! Gary's working here with Masabumi Kikuchi on piano and Hiroshi Murakami on drums – in a mode that's got the open-ended, long flowing energy that would emerge most strongly in Japanese trio sessions a few years later – a style that's exploratory, but never too free – and perfectly suited to the tonal colors that Peacock's always brought to his work on bass. The set is sophisticated, yet never full of itself – with a great juxtaposition of lyrical and modern moments, carved out here with a heck of a lot of power!