This is a fantastic example to the 60's Soul Jazz movement. Cox, an accomplished musician, didn't want to be a basketball coach. When he was growing up in Cincinnati, he wanted to be a great baseball player, another Jackie Robinson. And he wanted to be a great jazz saxophone player, another Charlie Parker. After graduating from Kentucky State, Cox came to Chicago with classmate Joe Henderson, the famed tenor sax player. They were en route to California to become professional musicians. But Cox never left. He found a home – and another occupation – on the South Side.
It was a sad day for cool jazz when Lennie Niehaus made film music – not jazz – his primary focus. From a jazz standpoint, the Los Angeles resident had so much going for him. Niehaus had an attractive tone along the lines of Lee Konitz and early Bud Shank, and he was a talented arranger to boot. Produced by Lester Koenig in L.A. in 1956, Lennie Niehaus, Vol. 5: The Sextet is quite representative of Niehaus' Contemporary output of the 1950s. This album finds Niehaus leading a sextet that boasts Bill Perkins on tenor sax and flute, Jimmy Giuffre on baritone sax, Stu Williamson on trumpet and valve trombone, Buddy Clark on upright bass, and Shelly Manne on drums – in other words, the cream of the southern California crop.
On June 25th, 1961, Bill Evans and his trio made jazz history over the course of five sets at the Village Vanguard. Selections from those performances were released on two full-length LPs, WALTZ FOR DEBBY and Sunday AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD, both of which went on to become landmark jazz albums from the era. The three-disc COMPLETE VILLAGE VANGUARD RECORDINGS provides a valuable service by presenting all five sets in their complete and original sequence, with crisp remastered sound, a previously unissued take (Scott LaFaro's "Gloria's Step"), and snippets of on-stage patter.
A strong early winner from Blue – recorded with an all-star group that includes Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones, and Philly Joe Jones. Mitchell's not necessarily the leader – Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath handled the arrangements – but the group overall is great, and the set has a nice mix of lyricality and hard bop groove. 9 numbers in all, including "Minor Vamp", "The Head", "Top Shelf", "Blue Soul", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Park Avenue Petite", "Polka Dots & Moonbeams", "Nica's Dream", and "Waverly Street".