Best stuff I have heard from this band. Almost like a cross between Black Oak Arkansas and Led Zeppelin although not nearly as heavy as either in their prime. Only a few to diverse tracks, and cool cover to boot. A buck well spent. - from rateyourmusic -
That sound. One group conceived it. Defined it. Perfected it. The Modern Jazz Quartet was certainly one of the most distinctive voices in the history of jazz, thanks to the unique qualities of personal expression and collective vision of its members Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Connie Kay (who had replaced original drummer Kenny Clarke by the time the band started recording this music). They were also exceptionally prolific during their tenure at Atlantic Records, producing 14 albums in eight years. And now, that MJQ sound gets the complete respect it deserves, thanks to our new box, The Complete 1956-1964 Modern Jazz Quartet Atlantic Studio Recordings.
Under the watchful eye of famed producer Michael Cuscuna, this nine-CD set serves as a compilation of Stitt's 1950s and 1960s Roost LPs. This release also features a 28-page booklet consisting of comprehensively annotated liners. Moreover, the record label does its best to convey the artistic element via a series of black-and-white photos of Stitt and his sidemen amid anecdotes by many of the late saxophonist's affiliates. Interestingly enough, seven of the original LPs did not list personnel. In some instances, guesses were made, although most of these tracks are well-documented, thanks to the producer's diligence and painstaking research. Artists such as drummer Roy Haynes, bassist/composer Charles Mingus, and pianist Harold Maber represent but a few of Stitt's accompanists.
Johnny Smith is an exquisite jazz guitarist known mostly to fellow musicians and serious jazz fans. This beautifully packaged and expertly annotated eight-CD limited-edition boxed set from Mosaic includes his complete small-group recordings for Roost, most of which have languished out of print for decades. Smith's unique voicings on his instrument set him apart from other players, yet he maintains a lush, crystal-clear tone no matter the tempo or setting.
This is the one that started it: Mosaic, recorded in 1961, was the first recording of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as a sextet, a setting he kept from 1961-1964. The band's front line was trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller, and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter; Cedar Walton played piano and Jymie Merritt (a criminally underappreciated talent) was the bassist. Everything on this set was written by the musicians in the band. Walton wrote the burning title track; its blazing tempo and Eastern modes were uncharacteristic of the Jazz Messengers sound, but it swings like mad. Hubbard contributed two pieces to the album, the first of which is the groover "Down Under," with its blues gospel feel…
Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson led his greatest big band during the years that he was signed to Roulette and all of the music from his 13 Roulette LPs (plus 11 previously unissued selections) are included on this deluxe limited-edition ten-CD box set. Although three of the LPs were originally recorded as dance records (and stick close to the melodies), this box as a whole finds Maynard at his peak and with an orchestra that includes such talented soloists as trombonists Slide Hampton and Don Sebesky (both of whom contributed arrangements), altoist Lanny Morgan, the tenors of Carmen Leggio, Willie Maiden, Joe Farrell, and Don Menza, pianists Jaki Byard and Joe Zawinul, and drummer Rufus Jones in addition to the leader. The music is very jazz-oriented and contains more than its share of classic moments, particularly the sessions that resulted in A Message From Newport and Newport Suite. It's highly recommended.
Oliver Nelson was one of the more distinctive arrangers to be active in jazz, the studios, and popular music of the '60s. While most Nelson reissues focus on his always-excellent saxophone playing (whether on tenor or alto), this six-CD set, Argo, Verve and Impulse Big Band Studio Sessions, focuses on Oliver Nelson the arranger-composer-bandleader. He does take solos on some of these dates on tenor, alto,and soprano (his only recorded solos on that instrument), but it his writing that takes center stage.