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.
In this bright and accessible effort from one of the best young trumpeters on the scene, Printup mixes up originals with standards. The fact that his tunes complement works by Rodgers & Hart ("Have You Met Miss Jones") and Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin'") so well should key you in to the fact that he is a bit of a traditionalist. With his quartet of Kevin Bales on piano, Ricky Ravelo on bass, and Woody Williams on drums, Printup lays down some fine exercises in samba ("Shertzing Along") and bop ("Pier Pressure"). There is plenty of fine work here.
Duke Robillard pays homage to T-Bone Walker with this collection of swing, big band and blues songs. The bubbly and bouncy "Lonesome Woman Blues" has a be-bop Count Basie feeling as his supporting players are given brief solos to shine, particularly the horn section. There is far more substance and style to this approach than a rehashed run-through à la Brian Setzer. This fluidity continues, albeit a bit slower in tempo with the swinging "T-Bone Shuffle" which carries the same head-bobbing groove. Here the horns lead the way but Robillard makes his presence felt on guitar near the homestretch, and throughout the stellar "Pony Tail." The barroom blues and drum brushes on "Love Is a Gamble" takes things down to a creepy crawl, bringing to mind Dr. John or Delbert McClinton. An early favorite has to be the rousing and toe-tapping "Alimony Blues," an indication that Robillard wants to pay tribute in the right way by nailing each song beautifully.