This CD reissue features trumpeter Miles Davis with three different pickup recording groups that are full of fellow all-stars. "Tune-Up," "Miles Ahead," "When Lights Are Low" (which uses slightly different chord changes than its composer Benny Carter originally intended), and "Smooch" find Davis joined by pianist John Lewis (Charles Mingus plays piano on "Smooch"), bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Max Roach. With pianist Horace Silver, bassist Heath, and drummer Art Blakey offering solid accompaniment, Davis introduces "Four" and performs "Old Devil Moon" and "Blue Haze." Finally, with altoist Dave Schildkraut, Silver, Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke, Miles jams through "I'll Remember April." Although not as essential as the trumpeter's classic Quintet records of 1955-1956, several of the performances (most notably "Tune-Up" and "Four") are quite memorable, and the straight-ahead playing is of consistently high quality.
It's been 20 years since David Crosby released a collection of new songs, but he's hardly been quiet in those two decades. His occasional reunions with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and sometimes Neil Young get the most attention, but he also appeared on David Gilmour's 2006 album On an Island and, more notably, often worked with his son James Raymond on a band called CPR. Raymond is David's chief collaborator on Croz, a skillful evocation of Crosby's early-'70s haze as filtered through early-'90s professionalism. As always, Crosby is supported by a cast of heavy-hitters, but where 1993's A Thousand Roads sometimes seemed weighed down by cameos (an emphasis on covers also helped shift the spotlight away from the man at the center), Croz is tastefully decorated with sly solos by Mark Knopfler and Wynton Marsalis, the focus forever remaining on Croz himself.
Between 1960 and 1963 Texas tenor Curtis Amy (1927-2002) made six superb albums for Dick Bocks Pacific Jazz label, three of which, Groovin Blue, Way Down, and Tippin on Through, are included here. They were part of Bocks recognition of the emergence on the West Coast scene of a more groove-based, harder swinging approach than the cooler, considered style that preceded it. He chose well. Years of semi-obscurity in L.A. dance bands and organ combos had made Amy a thoroughly seasoned, assertive and inventive player in the mould of fellow tenor, Harold Land; these Pacific albums established him as a major exponent of the new music revitalizing West Coast jazz.