The recorded legacy of Elvis Presley continues to be discovered by new generations that never saw him or heard him perform live. It's hard to appreciate that he started so much of what we take for granted now in popular music. Until 1956, the teenagers of suburban America, and the rest of the world, had to endure ditties by Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como but everything was about to be tossed upside down. On January 28 on a cold night in New York, Elvis took America by storm as he appeared on CBS-TV's Stage Show hosted by Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. On February 4 for his second appearance he sang a song that literally changed the world of popular music "Heartbreak Hotel". Its unique sound and style literally blew everything before it away while at the same time inducing the blueprint for everything that was to come; by April, it would be #1 on Billboard.
It is no exaggeration to call Little Walter the Jimi Hendrix of the electric harp: he redefined what the instrument was and what it could do, pushing the instrument so far into the future that his music still sounds modern decades after it was recorded. Little Walter wasn't the first musician to amplify the harmonica but he arguably was the first to make the harp sound electric, twisting twitching, vibrant runs out of his instrument; nearly stealing the show from Muddy Waters on his earliest Chess recordings; and so impressing Leonard Chess that he made Muddy keep Walter as his harpist even after Waters broke up his band. Chess also made Walter into his studio's house harpist and started to release Little Walter solo records with the instrumental "Juke" in 1952. "Juke" became a smash hit and turned Little Walter into a star, making him a steady presence on the '50s R&B charts.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. An overlooked 50s set from guitarist Johnny Smith – one that features a piano added into his trio, hence the "foursome" in the title! The pianist here is Bob Pancoast, who has a fluid, sometimes gentle touch on the keys – one that spins out Smith's guitar a bit more than usual, with a lyrical flair that we really like – and which is sometimes a bit of a contrast to his better-known mellow mode. The rest of the group features Knobby Totah on bass and Jerry Segal on drums.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. The Johnny Smith sound is a wonderful one – not just the sound that he makes with his groundbreaking work on the strings of the guitar, but also the way he records the instrument – which set a new standard in jazz guitar albums, and also helped pave the way for countless generations to come! A date like this is a great example of the standard-setting work that Smith was able to give us in his prime – and the approach slightly updates the Smith guitar sound of the early 50s – clarifying it a bit, but still keeping that great tone right out front – with a group that includes Hank Jones on piano, George Duvivier on bass, and Ed Shaughnessey on drums.