Sweet struggled to earn credibility as album artists and/or score hits after finally wresting themselves free of songwriting/production team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman in the summer of 1974. They turned out a few albums before achieving both goals with Level Headed. The album gave them their final Top Ten hit with the dreamy “Love Is Like Oxygen,” a single that suggested that its accompanying record was a trippy mainstream pop record. Instead, it was one part of an ambitious sonic mosaic where Sweet tried a little bit of everything, cloaking it all in a neo-prog aesthetic.
The jazz tones here are mighty nice — on a record that sparkles with some of Buddy DeFranco's best music ever ! As with other Verve dates from the time, this DeFranco outing's got a rhythmic pulse that really gets things going — a sense of swing that's nice and lean, but quite powerful too — pushing Buddy past any cliched clarinet modes of the 50s, into a realm that really unlocks new sax-like sounds in his horn! The piano has a lot to do with the record – played here by either Kenny Drew or Sonny Clark — with bass from Milt Hinton or Gene Wright, and drums from Art Blakey and Bobby White.
Although Chet Baker's recordings from late in his life varied dramatically in quality, this series of studio sessions is a high point in his career. After having his trumpet stolen, he plays beautifully with a borrowed flügelhorn throughout most of these songs with a powerful tone, especially on "Baby Breeze" and Hal Galper's intense "This Is the Thing." Baker delivers some strong vocals on the session led by pianist Bobby Scott, though Scott's huge hit "A Taste of Honey" is marred somewhat by his odd honky tonk piano in the background.
Although brief at just over 42 minutes long, this is a satisfying effort from pianist Kenny Barron. His second Enja release documents a quintet consisting of trumpeter Wallace Roney, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Victor Lewis. The entire quintet is showcased on four Barron originals, the haunting melody of "Phantoms," the freebop of the title track, the relaxed swing of "Voyage," and the lovely waltz "Lullabye."
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. Originally released on Atlantic in 1957, the short-lived bop quintet les Jazz Modes performed excerpts from Frank Loesser's third Broadway musical The Most Happy Fella. This tasteful date features Julius Watkins on French horn (and pre-Thelonious Monk) and tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, accompanied by pianist Gildo Mahones, bassist, Martin Rivera, drummer Ron Jefferson, and, for this date only, vocalist Eileen Gilbert was added on "My Heart Is So Full of You."
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. A firey stormer from the great Slide Hampton! The album's one of his few early sides for Atlantic – and like the others, it's a groundbreaking batch of larger group material, with slide out front on trombone, and the rest of the ensemble vamping along like a tight Blue Note combo. Players are excellent – and include George Coleman on tenor, Horace Parlan on piano, Hobart Dotson on trumpet, and Ray Barretto on drums – and Slide makes them come together so tightly, you'd think they were working together every night of the week! Titles include "The Barbarians", "Strollin", "The Jazz Twist", "Red Top", "Slide Slid", and "Day In Day Out".
A great album recorded in 1963 for Atlantic – one of our favorite ever! Jack Wilson's one of our favorite piano players, and we rave about him all the time on these pages – and one of the reasons why we love him so much is that he was often accompanied by Roy Ayers, who started out his career playing vibes in his group! The pair together are a dream, and this album is arguably their best effort – filled with moody modal cuts, and lots of lyrical interplay that hits these beautiful high points, then dives into pits of darkness. Titles include "Harbor Freeway", "De Critifeux", "Corcovado", "Jackleg", and "Nirvana & Dana".
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Somethin' Sanctified is an album by American jazz trombonist, composer and arranger Slide Hampton which was released on the Atlantic label in 1961. In 1959, trombonist Slide Hampton was known mainly for the excellent arrangements he did for the Maynard Ferguson Band, so it was no surprise that he formed his octet band and began making a serious bid for recognition as a top jazz artist and arranger, recording his first album for the small label Strand. His impact was immediate and in 1960 Slide signed for Atlantic resulting in two studio albums, Sister Salvation and Somethin Sanctified, which were the octets first for the label.