Ray Brown Trio – Bam Bam Bam {Concord}

Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

The Ray Brown Trio is caught on this CD live at a Tokyo concert and sounds obviously inspired by the enthusiastic crowd. The group (which also stars pianist Gene Harris and drummer Jeff Hamilton) stretches out on four standards, “Put Your Little Right Out,” Victor Feldman’s “Rio” and two Brown originals: “F.S.R. (For Sonny Rollins)” and the title cut. This release is a perfect introduction to the many fine Ray Brown-Gene Harris Concord recordings; it consistently swings with soul.

01 – Introductory Announcement
02 – F.S.R. (For Sonny Rollins)
03 – Put Your Little Foot Right Out
04 – Rio
05 – If I Loved You
06 – Introductory Announcement
07 – Summertime
08 – Days of Wine and Roses
09 – Introductory Announcement
10 – A Night in Tunisia
11 – Bam Bam Bam

Ray Brown – bass
Gene Harris – piano
Jeff Hamilton – drums

Recorded live at Kan-i Hoken Hall, Tokyo, Japan; December 1988

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Dexter Gordon – Go! {Blue Note} “Analogue Productions”

Review by Stacia Proefrock (allmusic.com)

From the first moments when Dexter Gordon sails into the opening song full of brightness and confidence, it is obvious that Go! is going to be one of those albums where everything just seems to come together magically. A stellar quartet including the stylish pianist Sonny Clark, the agile drummer Billy Higgins, and the solid yet flexible bassist Butch Warren are absolutely crucial in making this album work, but it is still Gordon who shines. Whether he is dropping quotes into “Three O’Clock in the Morning” or running around with spritely bop phrases in “Cheese Cake,” the album pops and crackles with energy and exuberance. Beautiful ballads like “I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” metamorphosize that energy into emotion and passion, but you can still see it there nonetheless. Gordon had many high points in his five decade-long career, but this is certainly the peak of it all.

01 – Cheese Cake
02 – I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry
03 – Second Balcony Jump
04 – Love for Sale
05 – Where Are You
06 – Three O’Clock in the Morning

Dexter Gordon – tenor sax
Sonny Clark – piano
Butch Warren – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

Originally released in 1962.

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Bill Evans Trio – Waltz for Debby {Riverside} “Analogue Productions”

Review by Thom Jurek (allmusic.com)

Recorded at the Village Vanguard in 1961, shortly before Scott LaFaro’s death, Waltz for Debby is the second album issued from that historic session, and the final one from that legendary trio that also contained drummer Paul Motian. While the Sunday at the Village Vanguard album focused on material where LaFaro soloed prominently, this is far more a portrait of the trio on those dates. Evans chose the material here, and, possibly, in some unconscious way, revealed on these sessions — and the two following LaFaro’s death (Moonbeams and How My Heart Sings!) — a different side of his musical personality that had never been displayed on his earlier solo recordings or during his tenures with Miles Davis and George Russell: Evans was an intensely romantic player, flagrantly emotional, and that is revealed here in spades on tunes such as “My Foolish Heart” and “Detour Ahead.” There is a kind of impressionistic construction to his harmonic architecture that plays off the middle registers and goes deeper into its sonances in order to set into motion numerous melodic fragments simultaneously. The rhythmic intensity that he displayed as a sideman is evident here in “Milestones,” with its muscular shifting time signature and those large, flatted ninths with the right hand. The trio’s most impressive interplay is in “My Romance,” after Evans’ opening moments introducing the changes. Here Motian’s brushwork is delicate, flighty and elegant, and LaFaro controls the dynamic of the tune with his light as a feather pizzicato work and makes Evans’ deeply emotional statements swing effortlessly. Of the many recordings Evans issued, the two Vanguard dates and Explorations are the ultimate expressions of his legendary trio.

01 – My Foolish Heart
02 – Waltz for Debby
03 – Detour Ahead
04 – My Romance
05 – Some Other Time
06 – Milestones

Bill Evans – piano
Scott LaFaro – bass
Paul Motian – drums

Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, New York City; on June 25, 1961

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Cal Tjader – Solar Heat {DCC}

Review by Ken Secor (amazon.com)

Latin flavor with no loss of swing. I bought this album when vinyl was ‘it’. The quality of the record was terrible and I was crushed because of the outstanding musical talent and awesome vibes of one of my all-time favorite vibraharpists – and the poor quality of the record.
Now that CD’s are it, I would love to get my hands on this great assortment of Cal’s fine playing and some truly brilliant tunes. But alas, today – it appears only a used CD is available. Hopefully, someone will press a few more for Cal’s fans and this – one of his best works – not far from Several Shades epicwise, will return. The line starts here!

01 – Ode to Billy Joe
02 – Never My Love
03 – Felicidade
04 – Mambo Sangria
05 – Here
06 – Fried Bananas
07 – Amazon
08 – La Bamba
09 – Eye of the Devil
10 – Solar Heat

Cal Tjader – vibes
Joao Donato – organ
Bobby Rodriguez or Chuck Rainey – bass
Ray Barretto and Orestes Vilato – latin percussion
Mike Abene – electric piano and harpsichord
Gary McFarland – vibes

Recorded January 15, 1968 at A&R Recording Studios, NY

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Nat “King” Cole – The Greatest Hits {Capitol}[DCC]

Review by William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

For all the resurgence in interest in Nat King Cole since 1991, when his daughter Natalie recorded a duet patching her new vocal with his from 40 years earlier and scored a gold-selling hit, Capitol Records lacked a single-disc hits collection that covered Cole’s most successful singles for the label. This 22-track, 62-plus minute CD/cassette collection does the trick. Cole scored 21 Top Ten hits between 1944 and 1963, and 19 of them are here, from “Straighten Up and Fly Right” to “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.” The only ones missing are seasonal hits, “The Christmas Song” and “Frosty the Snow Man.” In their places, you get the original and later versions of “Unforgettable” (neither of which, as it happens, quite made the Top Ten). You also get Cole’s four number one songs, “Mona Lisa,” “Nature Boy,” “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons,” and “Too Young,” along with such memorable tunes as “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home,” “Smile,” and “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.” The non-chronological sequencing emphasizes the stylistic and qualitative consistency of Cole’s work; it doesn’t much matter if you juxtapose a song recorded in the ’40s (“Nature Boy”) against one recorded in the ’60s (“Ramblin’ Rose”), because you still get the same warmth and assurance in Cole’s singing and the same tastefulness in the arrangements. One might have hoped for more in the way of packaging (there are no liner notes), but this is the single album to buy to hear Nat King Cole’s best-known vocal performances.

01 – Unforgettable
02 – (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66
03 – Orange Colored Sky
04 – Mona Lisa
05 – Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
06 – Straighten Up and Fly Right
07 – Send for Me
08 – Looking Back
09 – You Call it Madness (But I Call it Love)
10 – (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
11 – Nature Boy
12 – Ramblin’ Rose
13 – Pretend
14 – Too Young
15 – Somewhere Along the Way
16 – Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer
17 – Smile
18 – Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup
19 – Answer Me, My Love
20 – A Blossom Fell
21 – If I May
22 – Unforgettable (Duet with Natalie Cole)

Nat “King” Cole – vocals, piano (with collective personnel)

This compilation, 1998.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Miles Davis Quartet – Musings of Miles {Riverside}[DCC] “mono”

Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Miles Davis was in the process of forming his first classic quintet when he recorded this date, a Prestige set reissued by the audiophile label DCC Compact Classics. The trumpeter is featured on a quartet outing with pianist Red Garland, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Philly Joe Jones, playing four standards plus a blues (“Green Haze”) and “I Didn’t,” his answer to Thelonious Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t.” Garland and Jones would soon be in Miles’ group, although the fiery Pettiford proved too difficult for the trumpeter to handle and was quickly succeeded by Paul Chambers. The interpretations are generally lyrical and melodic; even “A Night in Tunisia” sounds a bit mellow. Likable if not essential music.

01 – Will You Still Be Mine?
02 – I See Your Face Before Me
03 – I Didn’t
04 – A Gal in Calico
05 – A Night in Tunisia
06 – Green Haze

Miles Davis – trumpet
Red Garland – piano
Oscar Pettiford – bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums

Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey; June 7, 1955.

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Miles Davis Quintet, “The New” – Miles {Prestige}[DCC] “mono”

Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Although they had made a few slightly earlier cuts that would later be issued on Columbia, the first full-length album by the Miles Davis Quintet is quite intriguing in that it gives one a look at tenor saxophonist John Coltrane when he still had a hesitant style. This audiophile CD reissue has the same music that is currently available on an Original Jazz Classics set: five jazz standards plus “The Theme.” Unlike Coltrane, who would develop rapidly within the next year, Miles was already very much in his prime, sounding quite lyrical on “Just Squeeze Me” and “There Is No Greater Love,” and the classic rhythm section (pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones) was quickly starting to gel.

01 – Just Squeeze Me
02 – There is No Greater Love
03 – How am I to Know?
04 – S’posin
05 – The Theme
06 – Stablemates

Miles Davis – trumpet
John Coltrane – tenor sax
Red Garland – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Philly Joe Jones – drums

Recorded in Hackensack, NJ on November 16, 1955.

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