Glenn Miller's reign as the most popular bandleader in the U.S. came relatively late in his career and was relatively brief, lasting only about three and a half years, from the spring of 1939 to the fall of 1942. But during that period he utterly dominated popular music, and over time he has proven the most enduring figure of the swing era, with reissues of his recordings achieving gold record status 40 years after his death. Miller developed a distinctive sound in which a high-pitched clarinet carried the melody, doubled by a saxophone section playing an octave lower, and he used that sound to produce a series of hits that remain definitive examples of swing music. Miller's approach is not much appreciated by jazz fans…
Criminally overlooked by academics, critics and purists who refuse to listening to anything outside of conventional jazz vernacular, Andy Bey's delivery on Experience and Judgment goes beyond anything he previously committed to tape, revealing a spiritual side that's punched up and supported by a jazz-funk ensemble. The album's opener "Celestial Blues" finds Bey delivering lines that wouldn't be out of place on Bill Withers records from this era, and the remainder of the album sounds similar to the works of such contemporaries as Roy Ayers and Gil Scott-Heron. It's soul soothing music that's been played with great reverence by the rare soul and funk community for years and rightly so, as Bey captures the essence of the soul world brilliantly, and fuses it into something that is uniquely his own.
The cover art of COMPACT JAZZ * BEST OF DIXIELAND is potentially misleading. Pictured are 78s and cylinders made in the pre-microphone acoustic recording era. Although some of the artists here, such as Louis Armstrong and Kid Ory, were in the studios in those pioneer days, none of their early work is to be found on this set. Rather, we have a collection of full range hi-fi or stereo tracks made for VERVE records in the years spanning 1955 to '61 (the exceptions being one side from 1964 and another made a decade later). A few of the classic New Orleans "locale" tunes appear ("Basin St. Blues," "Perdido St. Blues," "Canal St. Blues"), as well as perennial favorites ("Ballin' The Jack," "St. Louis Blues," "Hindustan"). For an opportunity to listen to the music being performed all around the Crescent City a half-century ago, VERVE's BEST OF DIXIELAND cannot be beat.
Bob Brookmeyer has been so busy as a writer since the mid-'60s that his valve trombone playing has been somewhat underrecorded. This quartet set with pianist Alan Broadbent (who also plays a bit of synthesizer), bassist Eric Von Essen and drummer Michael Stephans) finds Brookmeyer in top form on four standards and a quartet of his originals (including "Later Blues," "Tootsie Samba" and "Who Could Care"). His valve trombone playing had grown and evolved through the years and, although he still had the cool tone, Brookmeyer's solos are often quite complex while not completely abandoning chordal improvisation. This Concord release is well worth picking up.
Sonny Stitt goes Latin – and the results are tremendous! The set's still got all the soulful feel of the best Stitt sessions for Roost, but it brings in some nice Latin rhythms too – inflecting things with that blend of soul jazz and congas you might find over at Prestige or Blue Note, yet also taking things further, too – given the Roost/Roulette connection to the New York Latin scene! Sonny plays both alto and tenor, and gets jazzy accompaniment from Thad Jones on trumpet – but the rhythm section is the real charmer here – and features a young Chick Corea on piano, Larry Gales on bass, and the trio of Willie Bobo, Patato Valdes, and Chihuaua Martinez on percussion! Most tunes are originals – a great change from the usual Latinized standards you might find on a set like this – and Stitt's got this nicely exotic tone in his reeds which is a further highlight of the record – almost a Yusef Lateef inflection at points.
Originally released in 1973 as a 9-LP set, it presents a comprehensive survey of Friedrich Gulda's accomplishments as a superb composer and performer of works crossing the lines between classical music and jazz. This 5-CD box set features extensive new and original liner notes, song lyrics and rare photos in a 48-page beautiful booklet! It's really a rich "midlife harvest" of work by the Austrian genius of the universal music - a key figure in the intersection between jazz and modern music on the European scene of the postwar years, represented here by a wealth of recordings done for Preiser, Decca and MPS during the 60s and 70s.
These are not your usual recordings. They are field recordings, created by fans on cassette tapes with equipment sitting on jazz club tables or attached to house sound systems, catching a master jazz musician and his band in acts of purest creativity. Woody has been labeled by many jazz critics and historians as the "Last Great Innovator" and has influenced jazz performers of all instruments ever since his arrival on the scene in the early 60s and beyond his death in 1989. Previously unreleased field recordings from the 1970's and '80's courtesy of Woody Shaw III and Steve Turre. Produced with the help of the Woody Shaw Global Arts Foundation. Liner notes include commentary by jazz historian Tammy Kernodle and jazz trumpeter/educator Pat Harbison.