This 10-CD set is as good a compendium of the genius of Louis Armstrong as anyone could wish for. It’s all here: the early years with the King Oliver and Fletcher Henderson bands, the glorious period of the Hot Fives and Sevens, the big band recordings of the Thirties, the collaborations with contemporaries such as Ella Fitzgerald. Then there are the later recordings, when Satchmo’s celebrity empowered him to soar over many political and racial divides. There’s also a fascinating unreleased Hollywood Bowl concert from 1956, a CD of “out-takes” from recording sessions, and a revealing interview with Dan Morgenstern.
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. Nicely sharp sounds from the great JJ Johnson – a set that has the trombonist really honing his edge on a host of tight, short tracks – with a vibe that almost recalls his initial bop recordings on Blue Note and Prestige! The style here is a bit more sophisticated – definitely with an ear towards the modern directions that JJ was exploring in the 50s – but the sound is also nicely spontaneous, with more focus on improvisation between group members than larger arrangements – quite nice, given that the group features excellent tenor from Bobby Jaspar on tenor – and either Tommy Flanagan or Hank Jones on piano, Percy Heath or Wilbur Little on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Tracks are short, and titles include "Overdrive", "Cube Steak", "Chasin The Bird", and "Solar".
Reissue with the latest 2015 remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the hippest, hardest albums that trombonist JJ Johnson ever cut for Columbia – a session we'd rank right up there with his amazing JJ Inc record, and like that one a really cooking hardbop record that maybe even rivals the best on Blue Note and Prestige at the time! As with that gem, the strength here is really the group – not just tremendous trombone from JJ, but great work from Nat Adderley on trumpet, Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, Cedar Walton on piano, Spanky DeBrest on bass, and Albert Heath on drums – all working with a soaring, soulful energy that's a lot more hardbop heavy than you might expect from JJ Johnson on some of his other projects for the label.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of JJ's best from the late 50s – a tightly crackling hardbop set, recorded very much in the manner of his classic JJ Inc album! The sound here is a bit more compact overall – with some shorter tracks that really allow Johnson to display his keen sense of economy on his horn, while working in a burning mode that recalls some of his best bop sides from the early years – particularly his work on Blue Note.
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Not J.J. Johnson's initial public offering by any means, First Place was done with only a quartet in 1957 for Columbia Records, where other efforts by the legendary jazz trombonist were set in a larger ensemble format. Long out of print, this is now on CD with bonus tracks from 1954 featuring Charles Mingus. Playing standards and originals, Johnson assembled a mighty band with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Paul Chambers, and especially on-fire drummer Max Roach, a group you'd be hard-pressed to top.
Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. JJ Johnson's greatest album – without a doubt! This gem of a session was recorded in 1960 in New York, with an incredibly hip sextet that includes Cedar Walton, Clifford Jordan, and Freddie Hubbard. The tracks are all long, hip, and very much in a Blue Note soul jazz mode – very unusual not only for Johnson, but for Columbia records as well. The album feels like it should have been issued on Epic, with those killer Dave Bailey sides from 1961 – which might be why it has frequently gotten lost in Johnson's career, hidden amidst some of the sleepier material that seems to see the light of day more often than this one. The album's a stone winner all the way through – and features Johnson playing some of his gutsiest solos ever. Tracks include "Minor Mist", "In Walked Horace", "Fatback", "Aquarius", and "Shutterbug".