This pair of 1963 studio sessions by Grant Green remained under wraps until issued as a part of Blue Note's limited edition Jazz Connoisseur series. The guitarist is in fine form, accompanied by organist John Patton and drummer Ben Dixon, starting with a brilliant bop rendition of the popular standard from the Broadway show Oklahoma!, "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top." The soft but intense "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," and Ray Charles' gospel flavored "This Little Girl of Mine" (an obvious reworking of "This Little Light of Mine") are also highlights.
In the jazz world, Vienna is about as far from New York's Lincoln Center as you can get. It follows that Mathias Rüegg's Vienna Art Orchestra has about as much in common with Wynton Marsalis' Lincoln Center big band as a Sacher torte has with a Hostess Cup Cake; while they share some ingredients, the Austrian product satisfies on a more profound level. By the turn of the century, the Lincoln Center paradigm defined the jazz big band as a finished concept – locked into the past, serving mostly as a repertory ensemble.
Gary Moore's tribute to Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, Blues for Greeny, is more of a showcase for Moore's skills than Green's songwriting. After all, Green was more famous for his technique than his writing…
It's not as if Albert King hadn't tasted success in his first decade and a half as a performer, but his late-'60s/early-'70s recordings for Stax did win him a substantially larger audience. During those years, the label began earning significant clout amongst rock fans through events like Otis Redding's appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival and a seemingly endless string of classic singles. When King signed to the label in 1966, he was immediately paired with the Stax session team Booker T. & the MG's. The results were impressive: "Crosscut Saw," "Laundromat Blues," and the singles collection Born Under a Bad Sign were all hits. Though 1972's I'll Play the Blues for You followed a slightly different formula, the combination of King, members of the legendary Bar-Kays, the Isaac Hayes Movement, and the sparkling Memphis Horns was hardly a risky endeavor. The result was a trim, funk-infused blues sound that provided ample space for King's oft-imitated guitar playing.
Pianist Jaki Byard's first recording as a leader was not released domestically until this 1988 CD. That fact seems strange for Byard is absolutely brilliant on the solo piano set. Many of his selections (all nine tunes are his originals) look both backwards to pre-bop styles and ahead to the avant-garde including such numbers as "Pete and Thomas (Tribute to the Ticklers)," "Spanish Tinge No. 1," and "One, Two, Five." The most remarkable selection is "Jaki's Blues Next" which has Byard alternating between James P. Johnson-type stride and free form à la Cecil Taylor; at its conclusion he plays both styles at the same time. A highly recommended outing from a very underrated pianist.
Three Blind Mice Blu-spec CD reissue series. Limited paper sleeve edition. Blues For Tee is the second of the three albums that came out of the legendary Christmas sessions at the Misty, a Tokyo jazz club, which took place on December 1974. The Three Blind Mice producer Takeshi "Tee" Fujii wanted to record Yamamoto before he left for the U.S. to study at Berklee School of Music, and almost all of the performances were so good that he decided to release three LPs instead of one that was originally planned.