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.
This is an interesting addition to the Handel catalogue, a newly reconstructed version of a pasticcio that survives only in part. The work of course recycles music from other (and often rather obscure, like Berenice) Handel operas but interestingly incorporates some departures from the opera seria norm in the inclusion of several choruses - probably, as the notes indicate, an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the English oratorios. The notes also go briefly discuss the surviving text, the need to make editorial choices from other operas when the evidence is conjectural, and the composition of new recitatives for Acts II and III since the originals are lost.
Miles once said, "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal." These recordings are the reason why. The mid fifties was a fertile time for jazz; fresh, original ensembles were taking shape all over the country. The Modern Jazz Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Jazz Messengers and the Ahmad Jamal Trio immediately come to mind. Among musicians, each group had its imitators and its creative disciples who took its innovations one step further.
Handel's Giove in Argo (Jupiter in Argos) is bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, a pastiche (or, in the parlance of the time, pasticcio) of numbers from earlier operas stitched together into a mythological-pastoral plot that is absurd even by the standards of Baroque opera. It is a notable sign of the success of the Baroque opera revival that this has appeared on a semi-major label, Virgin Classics. The pieces were all from operas that were fairly recent at the time, and it's possible that the work was intended as a kind of greatest-hits reprise, but London audiences did not bite; the opera was long thought to be lost, and it had its modern premiere only in 2006, with newly written recitatives.
Argo is a project by Slovak composer and producer Gabriel Dušík.
Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve with the latest 24bit/96kHz mastering. Michael "Dodo" Marmarosa, born Pittsburgh, December 12, 1925, died September 17, 2002, jazz piano player, a link between swing and bebop, recorded with (among others) Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Lucky Thompson, Barney Kessel, Charlie Barnet and Slim Gaillard; retired from music, early sixties; died 76. That's what you surely will read in many books about him. Of course, Dodo disappeared from music when he was only 36; but he'll forever remain as one essential link between the swing era and bebop. Maybe he was one of the founders of bebop. Just a great musician.
Bennie Green was no where near the technician Stitt was. In fact, his trombone vocabulary precedes J. J. Johnson's and the bebop revolution of Bird and Diz. Nevertheless, Sonny and Bennie sounded like soul mates on the two occasions I caught them together at McKee's Show Lounge 63rd and Cottage in Chicago. Their meetings didn't produce the sparks of Stitt and Jug (Gene Ammons) but a spirit of rare camaraderie (Stitt could be an ornery loner).
Buddy Rich, the most remarkable drummer to ever play jazz, can easily have his career divided into three. During 1937-1945 he was a notable sideman with big bands including those of Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey. In 1966 he formed his own successful orchestra that capitulated him to his greatest fame. During the 20 years in between, Rich led short-lived bebop big bands, a variety of combos, toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic, recorded with all-star groups, and had stints with the orchestras of Dorsey and Harry James. This seven-CD set draws its material from Rich's second period and it can also be divided into two. The first half has Rich recording for producer Norman Granz in a variety of combos.
The Jazztet were only in existence for a brief time (1959-1962, not counting the later reunions), but with a flurry of recording activity they left a valuable legacy. By the time of they made their fourth album, co-leaders Art Farmer and Benny Golson were the only remaining original members, but the presence of underrated trombonist Tom McIntosh (who is appreciated more for his compositions than his playing ability, since he stopped performing in 1969), Cedar Walton, bassist Thomas Williams, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath are a welcome presence. These live performances are from a 1961 engagement at the Birdhouse in Chicago.