Carmen McRae & Betty Carter – Live at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco {Verve}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

This project is an unusual matchup between two very individual vocalists that generally works. Both Carmen McRae and Betty Carter show a lot of good humor during their duets, cracking occasional jokes and often jamming quite spontaneously. With suitable support from pianist Eric Gunnison, bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Winard Harper along with a very enthusiastic audience at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, Carter usually takes vocal honors while McRae comes up with the most humorous lines. Some of the ensembles are ragged but this encounter is overall quite successful. The CD reissue adds three previously unreleased selections that feature McRae without Carter. Now if only someone had teamed together Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan for a full album.

Tracks:
01 – What’s New?
02 – Stolen Moments (aka “You Belong to Her”)
03 – But Beautiful
04 – Am I Blue?
05 – Glad to Be Unhappy; Where or When
06 – Sometimes I’m Happy
07 – Isn’t it Romantic?
08 – Sophisticated Lady
09 – It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got that Swing)
10 – I Hear Music
11 – Love Dance
12 – That Old Devil Moon

Personnel:
Betty Carter, Carmen McRae – vocals
Eric Gunnison – piano, electric piano (on #11)
Jim Hughart – bass
Winard Harper – drums

Recorded January, 30-31 & February, 1 – 1987
at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ben Webster meets Oscar Peterson {Verve} “Master Edition”


Review by Stephen Cook (allmusic.com)

Another fine Webster release on Verve that sees the tenor great once again backed by the deluxe Oscar Peterson Trio. In keeping with the high standard of their Soulville collaboration of two years prior, Webster and the trio — Peterson is joined by bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen — use this 1959 date to conduct a clinic in ballad playing. And while Soulville certainly ranks as one of the tenor saxophonist’s best discs, the Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson set gets even higher marks for its almost transcendent marriage of after-hours elegance and effortless mid-tempo swing — none of Webster’s boogie-woogie piano work to break up the mood here. Besides reinvigorating such lithe strollers as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (nice bass work by Brown here) and “This Can’t Be Love,” Webster and company achieve classic status for their interpretation of the Sinatra gem “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” And to reassure Peterson fans worried about scant solo time for their hero, the pianist lays down a healthy number of extended runs, unobtrusively shadowing Webster’s vaporous tone and supple phrasing along the way. Not only a definite first-disc choice for Webster newcomers, but one of the jazz legend’s all-time great records.

Tracks:
01 – The Touch of Your Lips
02 – When Your Lover has Gone
03 – Bye-bye, Blackbird
04 – How Deep Is the Ocean?
05 – In the Wee, Small Hours of the Morning
06 – Sunday
07 – This Can’t Be Love

Personnel:
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Oscar Peterson – piano
Ray Brown – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans

{re-uploaded}

Gerry Mulligan – Night Lights {PHILIPS}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

This is a rather relaxed recording featuring baritonist Gerry Mulligan and some of his top alumni (trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey) exploring three of his own songs (including “Festive Minor”), Chopin’s Prelude in E minor, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” and “Morning of the Carnival” (from Black Orpheus). The emphasis is on ballads and nothing too innovative occurs, but the results are pleasing and laid-back.

Tracks:
01 – Night Lights (1963 Version)
02 – Morning of the Carnival [From “Black Orpheus”] (Manha de Carnaval)
03 – In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
04 – Prelude in E Minor
05 – Festival Minor
06 – Tell Me When
07 – Night Lights (1965 Version)

Personnel:
Gerry Mulligan – baritone saxophone and piano
Jim Hall – guitar
Bill Crow – bass
Dave Bailey – drums
Art Farmer – trumpet and fluegelhorn
Bob Brookmeyer – trombone

Recorded September, 1963 (1-6); and October, 1965 (7)

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

(Re-uploaded because of dead links)

Natalie Cole – Unforgettable with Love {Elektra}


Review by Alex Henderson (allmusic.com)

A major change of direction for Natalie Cole, Unforgettable found the singer abandoning the type of R&B/pop she’d been recording since 1975 in favor of jazz-influenced pre-rock pop along the lines of Nat King Cole’s music. It was a surprising risk that paid off handsomely — both commercially and artistically. Naysayers who thought that so radical a change would be commercial suicide were proven wrong when the outstanding Unforgettable sold a shocking five million units. Quite clearly, this was an album Cole was dying to make. Paying tribute to her late father on “Mona Lisa,” “Nature Boy,” “Route 66,” and other gems that had been major hits for him in the 1940s and early ’50s, the 41-year-old Cole sounds more inspired than she had in well over a decade. On the title song, overdubbing was used to make it sound as though she were singing a duet with her father — dishonest perhaps, but certainly enjoyable. Thankfully, standards and pre-rock pop turned out to be a primary direction for Cole, who was a baby when the title song became a hit for her father in 1951.

“Unforgettable with Love” is a 1991 album by Natalie Cole, which focuses on covers of standards previously performed by Cole’s father, Nat King Cole. Her uncle Ike Cole plays piano on the album. The album was certified 7x platinum as of 2009 by the RIAA, and won the 1992 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, as well as a Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Female the same year. (~wikipedia.org)

Tracks:
01 – The Very Thought of You
02 – Paper Moon
03 – Route 66
04 – Mona Lisa
05 – L-O-V-E
06 – This Can’t Be Love
07 – Smile
08 – Lush Life
09 – That Sunday That Summer
10 – Orange Colored Sky
11 – A Medley Of: For Sentimental Reasons / Tenderly / Autumn Leaves
12 – Straighten Up and Fly Right
13 – Avalon
14 – Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
15 – Too Young
16 – Nature Boy
17 – Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
18 – Almost Like Being in Love
19 – Thou Swell
20 – Non Dimenticar
21 – Our Love is Here to Stay
22 – Unforgettable

Personnel:
Natalie Cole – vocals, with collective personnel

Recorded November 1990 and April 1991.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans

Oscar Peterson Trio – In Tokyo (Live at the Palace Hotel) {Columbia} “24bit remastering”


Review by Ken Dryden (allmusic.com)

One of a handful of recordings that Oscar Peterson made for release exclusively in Japan, Last Trio: Oscar Peterson in Tokyo is a rare opportunity to hear the pianist with fellow Canadian Michel Donato on bass, plus Louis Hayes on drums. Peterson is the center of attention with his rhythm section mostly in a supporting role, seemingly as if they had not worked together extensively prior to playing at The Palace Hotel in Tokyo. Hayes had already recorded several albums with the pianist for MPS, though this seems to be one of only two recordings featuring Donato (the other being the obscure Australian CD Nightingale). Peterson does not disappoint, delivering a number of terrific performances, including a blazing “Strike Up the Band” a soulful if breezy take of Horace Silver’s “The Preacher,” and lyrical treatments of “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” and his own “Wheatland.” While this trio lacks the potential of groups that featured either Ray Brown or Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, it will please Peterson’s fans.

Tracks:
01 – The Good Life
02 – What am I Here For?
03 – I Hear Music
04 – What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life
05 – Strike Up the Band
06 – The More I See You
07 – Wheatland
08 – The Preacher
09 – Old Rockin’ Chair
10 – Blues Etude

Personnel:
Oscar Peterson – piano
Michel Donato – bass
Louis Hayes – drums

Recorded live at The Palaca Hotel, Tokyo – May 27, 1972.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Jim Hall – Live! {Verve}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

This fine club date features guitarist Jim Hall in Toronto with two of the top Canadian jazzmen, bassist Don Thompson and drummer Terry Clarke. The interplay between the three players is sometimes wondrous, and although the five selections are all familiar standards (such as “‘Round Midnight,” “Scrapple From the Apple” and “The Way You Look Tonight”), Hall makes the music sound fresh and full of subtleties. This enjoyable LP has yet to be reissued on CD.

Tracks:
01 – Angel Eyes
02 – ‘Round Midnight
03 – Scrapple from the Apple
04 – The Way You Look Tonight
05 – I Hear a Rhapsody

Personnel:
Jim Hall – guitar
Don Thompson – bass
Terry Clarke – drums

Recorded June 1975 at Bourbon Street, Toronto, Canada.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Art Pepper – Landscape “Live in Tokyo ’79” {JVC}[xrcd]


Review by “MPC PC” (amazon.com)

I’ve had this album in vinyl since it came out, roughly 20 years ago. It’s one of Art Pepper’s strongest live recordings (from Japan) from the latter part of his career. Most memorable for me are “Over the Rainbow,” and the title cut, the driving “Landscape.” Great stuff! I highly recommend it.

Tracks:
01 – True Blues
02 – Sometime
03 – Landscape
04 – Avalon
05 – Over the Rainbow
06 – Straight Life

Personnel:
Art Pepper – alto sax, clarinet
George Cables – piano
Tony Dumas – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

Recorded in performance at Shiba Yubin Chokin Hall, Tokyo; July 16 and 23, 1979.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

George Shearing in Dixieland {Concord}


From the album’s original liner notes by Leonard Feather:

…Perhaps I may be a little biased, but it seems to me, after a half century of friendship and admiration, that George Shearing today is playing with more elan, more conviction and greater virtuosic variety than ever. If you are a little surprised to find a traditionally oriented recording by the pianist who, on arriving in New York, promptly devoted this time to the promulgation of bebop, be prepared for a surprise. Shearing in Dixieland is not a contradiction in terms or themes or times. It’s just a damned good musical outing with a group of good companions who are glad to be along.

Tracks:
01 – Clap Your Hands
02 – Mighty Like the Blues
03 – Truckin’
04 – Fascinating Rhythm
05 – Destination Moon
06 – New Orleans
07 – Soon
08 – Take Five
09 – Lullaby of Birdland
10 – Jazz Me Blues
11 – Blue Monk
12 – Desafinado
13 – Honeysuckle Rose
14 – Alice in Dixieland

Personnel:
George Shearing – piano
Kenny Davern – clarinet
Jerry Fuller – drums
George Masso – trombone
Ken Peplowski – tenor saxophone
Neil Swainson – bass
Warren Vache – cornet

Recorded & remixed at A&R Recording Studios, New York; February 1989.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Hank Mobley – Jazz Message of Hank Mobley, Volume.2 {Savoy} “mono”


Review by Jim Todd (allmusic.com)

Impressive lineups, both in the front line and the rhythm section, fuel the two 1956 sessions on this Savoy reissue. The players are committed, the writing is good, and the performances reward repeated listening. The result is a worthwhile precursor to the industry-standard hard bop Mobley would later record for Blue Note.Lee Morgan, then 18, joins Mobley on two tracks that have pianist Hank Jones, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor in the rhythm section. Even if Morgan at this time was audibly still growing as a trumpet player, his poise, execution, and resourceful imagination were already the tools of a master. Donald Byrd, on form and playing with crispness and authority, moves into the trumpet chair for the three remaining tracks. This time it’s Barry Harris on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums, and Watkins (again) on bass. The influence on Mobley of swing era tenors, from Lester Young to Illinois Jacquet, can be clearly heard on these tracks. Mobley’s respect for and understanding of the pre-bebop style serve him well in his contribution to the development of the predominant jazz style that followed bebop. In addition to three Mobley originals, there is a blues by Thad Jones and another from Watkins. The standout track is Mobley’s “Space Flight,” a bright, up-tempo bop number that has memorable solos from Mobley, Byrd, Harris, and Clarke. The recording on this CD is very good but, as is common on Savoy reissues, the running time isn’t long — 32 minutes in the case of this jazz message.

Tracks:
01 – Thad’s Blues
02 – Doug’s Minor B’ Ok”
03 – B. for B.B.
04 – Blues Number Two
05 – Space Flight

Personnel:
Hank Mobley – tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd – trumpet
Hank Jones, Barry Harris – piano
Doug Watkins – bass
Art Taylor, Kenny Clarke – drums

Recorded on November 7 and July 23; 1956

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Hank Mobley – Jazz Message of Hank Mobley, Volume.1 {Savoy} ”mono”


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Other than a Blue Note date from the previous year, this CD contains tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley’s first two sessions as a leader. With trumpeter Donald Byrd, either Hank Jones or Ronnie Ball on piano, Wendell Marshall or Doug Watkins on bass, drummer Kenny Clarke and (on three numbers) the unusual altoist John LaPorta, Mobley performs a mixture of originals and standards. The results (highlighted by “There’ll Never Be Another You,” “When I Fall in Love” and “Budo”) are a swinging hard bop date. Nothing all that unusual occurs and the CD clocks in at an average LP’s length but the swinging music is easily recommended to straight-ahead jazz fans and (unlike many of Denon’s Savoy reissues), these two sessions are brought back complete.

Tracks:
01 – There’ll Never Be Another You
02 – Cattin’
03 – Madeline
04 – When I Fall in Love
05 – Budo
06 – I Married an Angel
07 – The Jazz Message (with Freedom for All)

Personnel:
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Hank Mobley – tenor saxophone
John LaPorta – alto saxophone
Ronnie Ball, Horace Silver – piano
Doug Watkins, Wendell Marshall – bass
Kenny Clarke – drums

Recorded on February 8, 1956 and January 30, 1956.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Grant Green – Latin Bit {Blue Note}[RVG]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Grant Green, being known mainly as a soul-jazz guitarist, eventually gravitated into the popular boogaloo sound, a derivation of Latin music. The Latin Bit is the natural bridge to that next phase, though a bit premature for most in 1961-1963, even relative to the subsequent bossa nova craze. Pianist Johnny Acea, long an underrated jazzman, is the nucleus of this session, grounding it with witty chops, chordal comping, and rhythmic meat. The Latino rhythm section of drummer Willie Bobo and conga player Carlos “Patato” Valdes personify authentic, seasoned spice, while at times the chekere sound of Garvin Masseaux makes the soup too thick. At its collective best, the group presents a steady, serene, and steamy “Besame Mucho” and the patient, slow, slinky, sultry “Tico Tico.” Just a small step below is a classy take on Charlie Parker’s “My Little Suede Shoes,” a premier jazz bebop (emphasis) tune with a Latin undertow and Green’s tiniest staccato phrases, slightly marred by the overbearing constant chekere, but still classic. “Mambo Inn” is played inaccurately, but forgivable. “Mama Inez” ranks high for its calypso-infused happy feeling and wry stop-start lines. The straight-ahead hard bopper “Brazil” and lone soul-jazz tune, “Blues for Juanita,” display the single-note acumen that made Green’s style instantly recognizable. Tacked on the end are two selections with pianist Sonny Clark and tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec. While Clark is not known for Latin or soul-jazz, he’s quite good, while Quebec, who emphasized Brazilian rhythms in the last years of his life, plays hip secondary harmonies on the bossa nova-flavored “Granada,” but is in the complete background and a non-factor on the pop tune “Hey There.” This CD always yielded mixed results for staunch fans of Green, but a revisit shows it to be a credible effort, even if slightly flawed in part.

Tracks:
01 – Mambo Inn
02 – Besame Mucho
03 – Mama Inez
04 – Brazil
05 – Tico Tico
06 – My Little Suede Shoes
07 – Blues for Juanita
08 – Grenada
09 – Hey There

Personnel:
Grant Green – guitar
Ike Quebec – tenor sax (#8 & 9)
Johnny Acea (#1-7), Sonny Clark (#8 & 9) – piano
Wendell Marshall – bass
Willie Bobo – drums
Carlos “Patato” Valdes – congas
Garvin Masseaux – chekere (#1-6)

Recorded on April 26 (#1-7) and September 7 (#8 & 9), 1961
at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ernestine Anderson – My Kinda Swing {Mercury}


Review by Ken Dryden (allmusic.com)

Ernestine Anderson was 32 years old at the time of this 1960 session, not long before her career inexplicably fell into the doldrums. This album finds her in great form, supported by a cast of musicians including Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Yusef Lateef, Ernie Royal, Frank Rehak, and Kenny Burrell, with terrific arrangements by Ernie Wilkins. She achieves the perfect balance in her interpretation of “Trouble Is a Man,” a masterful ballad written by Alec Wilder, and she’s clearly in her element in the hard-rocking blues “See See Rider.” Terry’s striking trumpet almost provides a contrasting vocal alongside Anderson during “All My Life,” while her understated approach to a quick run through “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” showcases Jones and Burrell. Lateef’s oboe adds to the exotic flavor of “Lazy Afternoon.”

Tracks:
01 – My Kinda Love
02 – Trouble is a Man
03 – See See Rider
04 – Moonlight in Vermont
05 – Land of Dreams
06 – Black Moonlight
07 – All My Life
08 – Mound Bayou
09 – I’ll Never Be the Same
10 – It Don’t Mean a Thing (if it Ain’t Got That Swing)
11 – Lazy Afternoon
12 – They Didn’t Believe Me

Personnel:
Ernestine Anderson – vocals, with Ernie Wilkins’s Orchestra including:
Ernie Royal, Clark Terry – trumpet
Frank Rehak – trombone
Yusef Lateef – tenor sax, flute, oboe
Tate Houston – baritone sax
Mac Ceppos – violin
Hank Jones – piano
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Art Davis – bass
Willie Rodriguez – percussion
Charlie Persip – drums
Ernie Wilkins – arranger & conductor

Recorded late 1960 in New York City.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans

Joe Henderson – Relaxin’ at Camarillo {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Originally on Contemporary, this CD reissue teams the great tenor Joe Henderson with pianist Chick Corea, either Tony Dumas or Richard Davis on bass, and Peter Erskine or Tony Williams on drums. The repertoire includes two songs by Corea, Henderson’s “Y Todavia la Quiero,” the standard ballad “My One and Only Love,” and Charlie Parker’s “Relaxin’ at Camarillo.” This informal session has plenty of fine solos from the two principals and is recommended to fans of advanced hard bop.

Tracks:
01 – Y Todavia La Quiero
02 – My One and Only Love
03 – Crimson Lake
04 – Yes, My Dear
05 – Relaxin’ at Camarillo

Personnel:
Joe Henderson – tenor saxophone
Chick Corea – piano
Tony Dumas, Richard Davis – bass
Peter Erskine, Tony Williams – drums

Recorded at Contemporary Record Studio, Los Angeles; August 20 and December 29, 1979.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Charlie Parker – Jam Session {Verve}


Review by “Jazzcat Stef” (amazon.com)

This is an absolutly marvellous example of what Jazz was and still should be (not because it’s more mainstream than bebop, in any case I love them both). The joy of playing with friends on common grounds, the standards and blues repertoire. I think I own everything Bird has ever played/released or at least I come really near. All the Dial, Savoy, Verve, Benedetti recordings, Bird’s Eyes, Live & Broadcasts, Blue Note concerts, recent discoveries, almost everything (more than 150 cds). This album cannot be considered a pure Bird album because he shared the scene with a lot of other sax stars which gave the session a different feeling from a lot of Bird’s records. I mean that this album is more Jazz “the Kansas City way” than bebop. It is a session more traditional than bebop. The only true beboppers are Bird, Kessel and Peterson (and Brown of course). The others, Webster, Hodges, Carter etc are more traditional than strictly bebop so the overall sound is more on that side of course. But it’s not a complaint, only an obvious consideration. The album is really fresh and entertaining, you can compar eit to a lot of JATP sessions in a sense. So it’s not a “revolutionary” album, not one that set a standard or that marked a change in Jazz history, nevertheless it’s essential in its way. It is a perect representation of what Jazz was more at Lester Young time than Bird time, but it’s very very good. It deserves 5 stars absolutly. Every player shined here and found his time to strecht out and show his bags of tricks fully. One of the highlights is the comping by Oscar Peterson swing machine which gave to the session a fabolous imprinting. The program is damn good. Two very long blues tunes, a very beautiful standard (“What is this thing” one of the standards I love the most) and a ballad medley. Fantastic! And even if Bird is playing more or less his usual cliches and nothing more, he’s still Bird! I love this album, for real. Buy it, you will love it for years and years too.

Tracks:
01 – Jam Blues
02 – What is This Thing Called Love
03 – Ballad Medley:
a) All the Things You Are
b) Dearly Beloved
c) The Nearness of You
d) I’ll Get By
e) Everything Happens to Me
f) The Man I Love
g) What’s New
h) Someone to Watch Over Me
i) Isn’t it Romantic?
04 – Funky Blues

Personnel:
Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges – alto sax
Flip Phillips, Ben Webster – tenor sax
Oscar Peterson – piano
Barney Kessel – guitar
Ray Brown – bass
J.C. Heard – drums

Recorded July, 1952; Los Angeles.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ahmad Jamal – A Quiet Time {Dreyfus}


Review by Michael G. Nastos (allmusic.com)

Well into his golden years, Ahmad Jamal continues to tour and record with the vigor of a man half his age. What is also evident is that his artistic sense is as high as it has ever been, as he consistently doles out fresh new melodies charged by his extraordinary talent, which is hardly reined in. A Quiet Time might be a bit deceiving in that there’s plenty of Jamal’s energy to go around on this set of originals and two standards, sans ballads except for the finale “I Hear a Rhapsody.” With longtime partners in bassist James Cammack and drummer Kenny Washington, Jamal breeds the utmost confidence that his music succeeds on the upper end of modern mainstream jazz. Percussionist Manolo Badrena (ex-Weather Report) spices up the music without overt Latin overtures, and balances the swing inherent in Jamal’s style. When you hear Jamal’s fast and loose but controlled “Paris After Dark” in swinging or heavy modal context, you know your are listening to an undisputed master craftsman at work. The bouncy track “Flight to Russia” has Cammack’s bass locked in tight with the others, while Jamal’s bright dancing lines across the keyboard during “Tranquility,” and his heavy-to-lighter traipsing of notes for the title track indicate that this pianist has plenty in the tank in terms of sheer artistry. While he does a rather polite version of Randy Weston’s “Hi-Fly,” the contemporary beat of “The Blooming Flower” suggests it is an updated version of his all-time favorite “Poinciana.” More of his originals include the cascading freedom exuded in “Poetry” as notes tumble from waterfalls, while the lilting to free to tick-tock pace of “After JALC” proves Jamal can shift gears at will effortlessly. There’s nothing even remotely mediocre or rote about this effort, as Ahmad Jamal proves once again his viability to play jazz piano music is still on the rise, and inspired beyond most mortals.

Tracks:
01 – Paris After Dark
02 – The Love is Lost
03 – Flight to Russia
04 – Poetry
05 – Hi Fly
06 – My Inspiration
07 – After JALC (Jazz at Lincoln Center)
08 – A Quiet Time
09 – Tranquility
10 – The Blooming Flower
11 – I Hear a Rhapsody

Personnel:
Ahmad Jamal – piano
James Cammack – bass
Manolo Badrena – percussions
Kenny Washington – drums

Recorded July 9-11, 2009 at Systems Two Recording Studios, LTD.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin {Columbia}


Review by Sam Sutherland (amazon.com)

A harrowing classic, Billie Holiday’s personal favorite among her ’50s albums captures the singer 17 months before her death, her once honeyed voice, scarred and weakened from punishing life, its ravages highlighted by the 1958 session’s crisp sonics and the contrasting “satin” of Ray Ellis’ sleek string arrangements. Yet it is that very contrast that explains the power of these performances: In revisiting its torchy standards, Holiday reduces them to their core of pain and longing, transforming “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “You’ve Changed” into naked declarations as mesmerizing and unsettling as a horrific accident. Any postrocker that presumes pop standards and string sections automatically translate to “easy listening” hasn’t listened to this. This 1997 version adds unreleased takes and a beautiful 20-bit digital transfer to extract every shivering pang of Holiday’s music.

Tracks:
01 – I’m a Fool to Want You (Edited Master CS 8048)
02 – For Heaven’s Sake
03 – You Don’t Know What Love Is
04 – I Get Along Without You Very Well
05 – For All We Know
06 – Violets for Your Furs
07 – You’ve Changed
08 – It’s Easy to Remember
09 – But Beautiful
10 – Glad to Be Unhappy
11 – I’ll Be Around
12 – The End of a Love Affair (Mono – CL 1157)
13 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 3 – CL 1157)
14 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 2 – alternate take)
15 – The End of a Love Affair: The Audio Story
16 – The End of a Love Affair (Stereo)
17 – Pause Track

Personnel:
Billie Holiday – vocals (with collective personnel – see book scans for details)
Ray Ellis – arranger & conductor

Recorded February 19-21, 1958.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chick Corea – Solo Piano “Standards” {Concord}


Review by David R. Adler (allmusic.com)

Part two of Corea’s solo piano series features standard tunes. There is a preponderance of Thelonious Monk music: “Monk’s Dream,” “Blue Monk,” “Ask Me Now,” and “‘Round Midnight.” Bud Powell, another piano legend whose music Corea has recorded and studied closely over the years, is represented by “Dusk in Sandi” and “Oblivion.” The more universally familiar selections are “But Beautiful,” “Thinking of You,” “Yesterdays,” “It Could Happen to You,” “So in Love,” “How Deep Is the Ocean,” and “Brazil.” Corea knows this music intimately and is uniquely able to mine each selection for fresh insights and possibilities. There are few pianists alive who equal Corea in stature and influence, and this beautiful concert recording reminds us of his continuing importance as an interpreter of jazz tradition.

Tracks:
01 – Monk’s Dream
02 – But Beautiful
03 – Blue Monk
04 – Ask Me Now
05 – Thinking of You
06 – Yesterdays
07 – Dusk in Sandi
08 – It Could Happen to You
09 – ‘Round Midnight
10 – So in Love
11 – How Deep is the Ocean
12 – Oblivion
13 – Brazil

Personnel:
Chick Corea – piano

Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7 & 11 recorded at Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan – 11/30/99
Tracks 2 & 10 recorded at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, Yokohama, Japan – 11/28/99
Tracks 3 & 4 recorded at Club Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden – 11/17/99
Track 8 recorded at Sardinen Club, Bergen, Norway – 11/19/99
Tracks 9 & 13 recorded at Culture & Congress Center, Lucerne, Switzerland – 11/20/99
Track 12 recorded at Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark – 11/15/99

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chick Corea – Solo Piano “Originals” {Concord}


Review by David R. Adler (allmusic.com)

Perhaps hearkening back to 1971’s two-volume Piano Improvisations, pianist Chick Corea issues this majestic, two-part solo recording, the first disc of which features his original compositions. The music spans Corea’s career thus far: opening with “Brasilia” and then “Yellow Nimbus” — the latter written for flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia — he goes on to play “Armando’s Rhumba,” three selections from the 1983 solo piano album Children’s Songs, and then a short, to-the-point “Spain,” probably his most famous piece. (The finale, “Children’s Song #12,” runs over thirteen minutes.) Curiously, he also includes two preludes by classical composer Alexander Scriabin — one of which he also played solo on 1986’s Trio Music: Live in Europe. In an engaging twist, Corea plays four consecutive free improvisations, each inspired by an image or idea solicited from members of the concert audience: “April Snow,” “The Chase,” “The Falcon,” and “Swedish Landscape” (The last title came from Corea himself). Each is a marvel of improvisational ingenuity and technical poise. To give credit where it is due, the idea of a two-part series featuring originals and standards was executed earlier by a much younger pianist, Ethan Iverson on Construction Zone and Deconstruction Zone. But regardless, Corea’s two-disc opus serves as a sort of state-of-the-union address for his musicianship and piano mastery. While his chameleonic ways over the years have yielded some mixed results, this is Corea “unplugged,” if you will, and at his very best.

Tracks:
01 – Brasilia
02 – Yellow Nimbus
03 – Prelude #4, Opus 11
04 – Prelude #2, Opus 11
05 – Children’s Song #6
06 – Children’s Song #10
07 – Armando’s Rhumba
08 – April Snow
09 – The Chase
10 – The Falcon
11 – Swedish Landscape
12 – Spain
13 – Children’s Song #12

Personnel:
Chick Corea – piano

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7 recorded at;
Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, Yokohama, Japan – 11/28/99
Track 2 recorded at Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan – 11/30/99
Track 4 recorded at Culture & Congress Center, Lucerne, Switzerland – 11/20/99
Tracks 8, 9, 10 & 11 recorded at Plektrum, Lund, Sweden – 11/14/99
Track 12 recorded at Sardinen Club, Bergen, Norway – 11/19/99
Track 13 recorded at Club Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden – 11/17/99

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Duke Jordan Trio – Flight to Denmark {SteepleChase}


Review by Michael G. Nastos (allmusic.com)

Upon Duke Jordan’s initial visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by his decision to make the move as an expatriate permanent, he was tempted to stay by playing with some extraordinary Scandinavian rhythm sections. Bassist Mads Vinding, one of many skilled Danish jazz bassists, is here on the date performing in fine style. Drummer Ed Thigpen, who left the U.S. to take up permanent residence in Europe, was an even bigger influence in making Jordan’s decision a good one, and is an equally skillful musical partner on this date. This is an expanded edition from the previous original issue on the Steeplechase label; a Japanese import with several alternate takes. It’s an understated session for the most part, equal parts melancholy and hopeful, as one might expect with the trepidation of leaving home for new, unknown horizons to be discovered in a foreign land. The upbeat songs, as the modal, popping, tom-tom driven “No Problem” (from the movie soundtrack Les Liason Dangereuses) and the famous bop flag-waver “Jordu,” bookend the CD. The bulk of the recording showcases the softer side of Jordan, with takes of the somber ballad “Here’s That Rainy Day,” the slightly brighter “Everything Happens to Me,” and two versions of the polite waltz “Glad I Met Pat,” dedicated to a nine-year-old girl Jordan knew in New York City prior to her being kidnapped. The pianist employs chiming piano chords for “How Deep Is the Ocean?,” is lighthearted in his slight interpretation of the well worn “On Green Dolphin Street,” does two takes on the light, bluesy swinger “If I Did, Would You?,” and ramps up to midtempo the bluesy original “Flight to Denmark,” reflective of the insecurity and consequential optimism that followed his leaving the States. This is Duke Jordan at his most magnificent, with the ever-able Vinding and expert Thigpen playing their professional roles perfectly, producing perhaps the second best effort (next to Flight to Jordan from 13 years hence) from the famed bop pianist. [Originally released in 1973, Flight to Denmark was reissued as an import-only Japanese CD in 2002.]

Tracks:
01 – No Problem
02 – Here’s that Rainy Day
03 – Everything Happens to Me
04 – Glad I Met Pat (take 3)
05 – Glad I Met Pat (take 4)
06 – How Deep is the Ocean?
07 – On Green Dolphin Street
08 – If I Did – Would You? (take 1)
09 – If I Did – Would You? (take 2)
10 – Flight to Denmark
11 – No Problem (take 2)
12 – Jordu (take 1)

Personnel:
Duke Jordan – piano
Mads Vinding – bass
Ed Thigpen – drums

Recorded November 25 & December 2, 1973 at “Sound Track”, Copenhagen.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

George Benson – In Flight {WB}


Review by Richard S. Ginell (allmusic.com)

In the wake of “This Masquerade,” the balance of power shifted for the first time toward George Benson’s suddenly marketable voice; four of the six tracks on In Flight are vocals. By this time, Benson was tailoring his tenor toward soulful pitch-bending à la Stevie Wonder on tunes as diverse as “Nature Boy” and “The World Is a Ghetto,” and the unison scatting with the guitar that caught fire with the public on Masquerade is now pulled out whenever possible. Benson’s backing band from Breezin’, still set in its funk mode, is intact, and Claus Ogerman again contributes gentle orchestral cushions. The two instrumentals, particularly Donny Hathaway’s “Valdez in the Country,” prove that Benson remained a brilliantly inventive melodist on guitar, in full possession of his powers. Yet there is every indication here that Benson was set upon becoming primarily a pop star.

Tracks:
01 – Nature Boy
02 – The Wind and I
03 – The World is a Ghetto
04 – Gonna Love You More
05 – Valdez in the Country
06 – Everything Must Change

Personnel:
George Benson – lead guitar & vocals
Phil Upchurch – rhythm guitar
Ronnie Foster – electric piano & mini-moog
Jorge Dalto – clavinet & acoustic piano
Stanley Banks – bass
Harvey Mason – drums
Ralph MacDonald – percussion
Claus Ogerman – arranger & conducter

Recorded and mixed at Capitol Records, Hollywood; August-November, 1976.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Eliane Elias – Cross Currents {DENON}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Pianist Eliane Elias’ second of two Denon CDs recorded before she hooked up with Blue Note is a lesser-known but worthy session. Elias is mostly featured in a trio with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette performing originals, a pair of Charles Mingus compositions (“Peggy’s Blue Skylight” and “East Coastin'”), “Beautiful Love,” “When You Wish Upon a Star” and Bud Powell’s “Hallucinations.” Elias was quickly developing into a strong modern mainstream pianist. The concluding number (“Coming and Going”) was written by her grandmother in 1927 at age 12 and features Elias with Gomez, drummer Peter Erskine, guitarist Barry Finnerty, percussionist Cafe and nine singers (including a few family members). Well worth searching for.

Tracks:
01 – Hallucinations
02 – Cross Currents
03 – Beautiful Love
04 – Campari & Soda
05 – One Side of You
06 – Another Side of You
07 – Peggy’s Blue Skylight
08 – Impulsive
09 – When You Wish Upon a Star
10 – East Coastin’
11 – Coming and Going

Personnel:
Eliane Elias – piano
Eddie Gomez – bass
Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine – drums
Barry Finnerty – acoustic guitar
Cafe – percussion

Recorded and mixed March 16-21, 1987 at RPM Studios, NYC.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork