Good news! Five of Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava's Black Saint and Soul Note recordings have been reissued by CAM Jazz in one of those pretty white box sets with each LP reproduced as a separate CD tucked into a miniature record jacket. Born at Trieste in 1939, Rava later attributed his lifelong pursuit of modern jazz to the influence of Miles Davis. One might add Don Cherry and Freddie Hubbard to that equation, along with maybe Richard Williams and Lee Morgan. In order to fully comprehend what he was up to from the '70s onward, it is important to consider the artistic company that Rava kept during the ‘60s. Take a moment, for example, to ponder the blended influences of Chet Baker and Gato Barbieri.
Album released in Spain in 1970 by Columbia Decca Phase 4 Stereo. This recording is a true spectacle performed by jazz trumpeter Kenny Baker English (1921-1999) and accompanied by the orchestra of the famed British director Roland Shaw. Of his vast and splendid career can mention that Baker performed alongside world-class artists as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett and even The Beatles, as well as several soundtracks of the films of James Bond. From him it was said that 'he was for jazz what the Rolling Stones to rock'. His demise marked the end of an era of global trumpeters, who were able to reach the virtuosity on the trumpet, making a brilliant capacity for imagination and expression, we have not come to enjoy since.
The last of the pianoless quartet albums that Gerry Mulligan recorded in the 1950s is one of the best, featuring the complementary trumpet of Art Farmer, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey along with the baritonist/leader. This recording is a little skimpy on playing time but makes every moment count. Virtually every selection is memorable, with "What Is There to Say," "Just in Time," "Festive Minor," "My Funny Valentine," and "Utter Chaos" being the high points. Highly recommended both to Mulligan collectors and to jazz listeners who are just discovering the great baritonist.
Although Lamb started as a duo of Barbara Mauritz and Bob Swanson, it's very much Mauritz's singing that dominates their first album, though both she and Swanson were involved in the songwriting on most of the seven tracks. While Lamb were loosely aligned with the San Francisco rock scene of the early 1970s, A Sign of Change is not so much rock as an unusual hybrid of jazz and folk, with plenty of tinges of gospel, pop, blues, and even classical. Like some combination of Chet Baker, Joni Mitchell, and perhaps bits of Donovan, free jazz vocalist Patty Waters, and Tim Buckley at his most experimental, Mauritz sings dream-like chains of words almost as if they're improvised jazz notes…