Tony Bennett & Bill Evans Album {Fantasy}[OJC]


Review by William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)
Having completed his relatively brief sojourn with MGM/Verve with 1973’s Listen Easy, Tony Bennett was in the midst of forming his own label, Improv Records, when he made a deal with jazz pianist Bill Evans to cut two LPs, this one for Evans’ label, Fantasy Records, with another to follow on Improv. The singer and his collaborator (“accompanist” does not adequately describe Evans’ contribution, and in any case he received co-billing) got together in a recording studio over four days in June 1975 with no one other than the producer, Helen Keane and an engineer present, and quickly recorded one of the best albums of either’s career. For Bennett, it was a dream project; for years (decades, actually), he had been balancing the demands of commerciality with his own inclinations toward jazz and affection for the songs of Broadway masters and of the Great American Songbook. Left to himself with a jazz partner, he naturally gravitated toward both interests. There were songs here that he had already recorded, but never in so unadorned and yet fully realized a fashion. Evans was an excellent accompanist, using his steady left hand to keep his singer centered, but ready, whenever the vocals were finished, to go off into his characteristically lyrical playing. Bennett could seem a bit earthbound when he came back in (he still wasn’t really a jazz singer), but his obvious enthusiasm for the project, coupled with his mastery of phrasing in songs he understood perfectly made him an equal in the partnership. As far as the major-label record business was concerned, the 46-year-old singer might have been over the hill and indulging himself, but in fact he was in his prime and finally able to pursue his ambitions unfettered, and that would prove itself a major boost to his career over time. For the moment, he’d made an excellent jazz-pop hybrid in which both musicians were shown off to advantage. [The five alternate takes included as bonus tracks on the 2006 reissue of the album are, not surprisingly, more interesting for Evans’ different improvisations than for anything else. But they also demonstrate that he and Bennett tried different approaches to the tunes. The album’s lead-off track, “Young and Foolish,” begins with both Bennett and Evans on the refrain, but the alternate take starts with Evans alone, followed by Bennett singing the song’s introductory verse instead; the version runs a minute longer. The alternate take of “The Touch of Your Lips,” on the other hand, is at a faster tempo and a minute shorter. None of the alternate takes actually improves on the originally released ones, but they show how well considered the album was.]

Tracklist:
01 – Young and Foolish 03:54
02 – The Touch of Your Lips 03:56
03 – Some Other Time 04:42
04 – When in Rome 02:55
05 – We’ll Be Together Again 04:39
06 – My Foolish Heart 04:51
07 – Waltz for Debby 04:04
08 – But Beautiful 03:36
09 – Days of Wine and Roses 02:22

Personnel:
Tony Bennett – vocals
Bill Evans – piano

Recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA; June 10-13, 1975.

Label: Fantasy / OJC
Year: 1991
Genre: Jazz
Style: Vocal Jazz, Post Bop
Total Time: 34:58

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Stan Getz Quartet feat. Astrud Gilberto – Getz Au Go Go {Verve} “Originals”


Review by Lindsay Planer (allmusic.com)
Although the name Stan Getz (tenor sax) was initially synonymous with the West Coast cool scene during the mid-to-late 1950s, he likewise became a key component in the Bossa Nova craze of the early 1960s. Along with Astrud Gilberto (vocals), Getz scored a genre-defining hit with the “Girl From Ipanema,” extracted from the equally lauded Getz/Gilberto (1963). While that platter primarily consists of duets between Getz and João Gilberto (guitar/vocals), it was truly serendipity that teamed Getz with João’s wife Astrud, who claims to have never sung a note outside of her own home prior to the session that launched her career. Getz Au Go Go Featuring Astrud Gilberto (1964) was the second-to-last album that he would issue during his self-proclaimed “Bossa Nova Era” — the final being Getz/Gilberto #2 [live] (1964) concert title from Carnegie Hall. In many ways, that is a logical successor to this one, as both include the “New Stan Getz Quartet.” The band features a young Gary Burton (vibraphone), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Gene Cherico (bass), and Joe Hunt (drums). As is typical with jazz, there are a few personnel substitutions, with Helcio Milito (drums) and Chuck Israels (bass), respectively, filling in on nearly half the effort. As the name of the disc intimates, this recording hails from the venerable Greenwich Village venue, the Café Au Go Go, in mid-August of 1964 — two months after “Girl From Ipanema” became a Top Five pop single. However, the focus of Getz Au Go Go steers away from the Brazilian flavored fare, bringing Astrud Gilberto into the realm of a decidedly more North American style. That said, there are a few Antonio Carlos Jobim compositions — “Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)” and “One Note Samba” — both of which would be considered as jazz standards in years to follow — as well as the lesser-circulated “Eu E Voce.” Getz and crew gather behind Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “It Might as Well Be Spring,” and the scintillating instrumental “Summertime,” from Porgy & Bess. Other equally engaging cuts include affective vocal readings of “Only Trust Your Heart,” and the diminutive, yet catchy “Telephone Song.” There is also some great interaction between Getz and Burton on “Here’s to That Rainy Day.” Getz Au Go Go is highly recommended for all dimensions of jazz enthusiasts.

Tracklist:
01 – Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) 02:52
02 – It Might as Well Be Spring 04:28
03 – Eu E Voce (Me and You) 02:33
04 – Summertime 08:12
05 – 6-Nix-Pix-Flix 01:06
06 – Only Trust Your Heart 04:42
07 – The Singing Song 03:47
08 – The Telephone Song 01:58
09 – One Note Samba 03:20
10 – Here’s That Rainy Day 06:16

Personnel:
Stan Getz – tenor sax and leader
Astrud Gilberto – vocalist
Gary Burton – vibes
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Gene Cherico, Chuck Israels – bass
Joe Hunt, Helcio Milito – drums

Tracks 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 recorded at Cafe Au Go Go, Greenwich Village, N.Y.C.; May 22, 1964
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 8 recorded at Carnegie Hall, N.Y.C.; October 9, 1964

Label: Verve
Year: 2007
Genre: Jazz
Style: Bossa Nova, Cool
Total Time: 39:13

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown {Emarcy}


Review by John Bush (allmusic.com)
This 1954 studio date, a self-titled album recorded for Emarcy, was later reissued as Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown to denote the involvement of one of the top trumpeters of the day. Vaughan sings nine intimate standards with a band including Brown on trumpet, Herbie Mann on flute, and Paul Quinichette on tenor, each of which have plenty of space for solos (most of the songs are close to the five-minute mark). Vaughan is arguably in the best voice of her career here, pausing and lingering over notes on the standards “April in Paris,” “Jim,” and “Lullaby of Birdland.” As touching as Vaughan is, however, Brown almost equals her with his solos on “Lullaby of Birdland,” “Jim,” and “September Song,” displaying his incredible bop virtuosity in a restrained setting without sacrificing either the simple feeling of his notes or the extraordinary flair of his choices. Quinichette’s solos are magnificent as well, his feathery tone nearly a perfect match for Vaughan’s voice. Ironically though, neither Brown nor Quinichette or Mann appear on the album’s highlight, “Embraceable You,” which Vaughan performs with close accompaniment from the rhythm section: Jimmy Jones on piano, Joe Benjamin on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Vaughan rounds the notes with a smile and even when she’s steeping to reach a few low notes, she never loses the tremendous feeling conveyed by her voice. In whichever incarnation it’s reissued, Sarah Vaughan With Clifford Brown is one of the most important jazz-meets-vocal sessions ever recorded.

Tracklist:
01 – Lullaby of Birdland 04:02
02 – September Song 05:47
03 – I’m Glad There is You 05:11
04 – You’re Not the Kind 04:46
05 – Jim 05:53
06 – He’s My Guy 04:14
07 – April in Paris 06:23
08 – It’s Crazy 04:58
09 – Embraceable You 04:51
10 – Lullaby of Birdland (alternate) 03:59

Personnel:
Sarah Vaughan – vocals
Clifford Brown – trumpet
Ernie Wilkins – arranger, conductor
Paul Quinichette – tenor sax
Herbie Mann – flute
Jimmy Jones – piano
Joe Benjamin – bass
Roy Haynes – drums

Recorded December 16 & 18, 1954; New York.

Label: Emarcy
Year: 1990
Genre: Jazz
Style: Vocal Jazz, Standards
Total Time: 50:03

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Peterson & Dizzy Gillespie {Pablo}

Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)
This album was the first of five projects in which pianist Oscar Peterson dueted with a trumpeter. Now reissued on CD, the encounter finds Dizzy Gillespie (then 57) in good form for the period, interacting with Peterson on such pieces as “Caravan,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Blues for Bird” and two of Gillespie’s originals that have become standards: “Dizzy Atmosphere” and “Con Alma.” It’s a worthy acquisition for fans of Peterson and Gillespie.

Tracklist:
01 – Caravan
02 – Mozambique
03 – Autumn Leaves
04 – Close Your Eyes
05 – Blues for Bird
06 – Dizzy Atmosphere
07 – Alone Together
08 – Con Alma

Personnel:
Oscar Peterson – piano
Dizzy Gillespie – trumpet

Recorded in London; November 28 & 29, 1974.

Label: Pablo
Year: 1987
Genre: Jazz
Style: Standards, Bop

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ray Brown All Stars – Don’t Forget the Blues {Concord}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)
On this 1985 Concord release, bassist Ray Brown heads an all-star quintet featuring trombonist Al Grey, guitarist Ron Eschete, pianist Gene Harris, and drummer Grady Tate. The majority of the selections on the set are blues (including “Night Train,” “Rocks in My Bed,” “Jumpin’ the Blues,” and a pair of Brown originals) with “If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight)” being a temporary departure. Grey, Eschete, Harris, and Brown have plenty of concise solos, Tate is typically excellent in support, and the results should please straight-ahead jazz fans.

Tracklist:
01 – Blues’d Out
02 – Jim
03 – Night Train
04 – If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight)
05 – Rocks in My Bed
06 – You Don’t Know Me
07 – Jumpin’ the Blues
08 – Don’t Forget the Blues

Personnel:
Ray Brown – bass
Ron Eschete – guitar
Al Grey – trombone
Gene Harris – piano and fender rhodes
Grady Tate – drums

Recorded at Classic Sound Studio, New York City, May 1985.

Label: Concord Jazz
Year: 1986
Genre: Jazz
Style: Classic Jazz, Bop

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork