Listening to a work of Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness, you recognize his characteristic style in a few measures. His music is often broadly expansive, painting sonorous landscapes that often use brass instruments to blend with and accentuate the strings. Also, while his peers experimented with serialism or highly intellectually challenging styles, Hovhaness maintained his world music-infused neo-Romantic style throughout his life. The result is an enormous body of work that are all a joy to listen to.
Recorded three years after their first full album together, this second encounter between Count Basie and Oscar Peterson on twin pianos (this time with a quartet) is as strong as the original, alternating standards with blues. Both Peterson and Basie have one number apiece on electric piano, making this album historic as well as quite musical.
Although tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon seemed to have been largely forgotten in the U.S. during his long residence in Europe, he was playing in prime form during the period and made occasional trips back to America. On this CD reissue, Gordon teams up with pianist Wynton Kelly (one of his last recordings), bassist Sam Jones and drummer Roy Brooks for an obscure original ("Evergreenish"), "The Jumpin' Blues," the veteran ballad "For Sentimental Reasons" and three songs that were long a part of Gordon's repertoire: "Star Eyes," "Rhythm-A-Ning" and "If You Could See Me Now." Dexter Gordon is in fine form on the excellent straightahead bop set.
This LP comprises one of altoist Lee Konitz's greatest sessions. In 1967 he recorded a series of very diverse duets, all of which succeed on their own terms. Konitz is matched with valve trombonist Marshall Brown on a delightful version of "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and matches wits with the tenor of Joe Henderson on "You Don't Know What Love Is." He plays "Checkerboard" with pianist Dick Katz, "Erb" with guitarist Jim Hall, "Tickle Toe" with the tenor of Richie Kamuca (Konitz switches to tenor on that cut), and an adventurous and fairly free "Duplexity" with violinist Ray Nance. Konitz also has three different duets in five versions of "Alone Together" and, on "Alphanumeric," welcomes practically everyone back for a final blowout. The music ranges from Dixieland to bop and free, and is consistently fascinating.