Barney Kessel – Let’s Cook! {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

This is an excellent session from guitarist Barney Kessel. Kessel is matched with vibraphonist Victor Feldman, pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne for a blues-with-a-bridge (the 11-minute “Let’s Cook”), Vernon Duke’s ballad “Time Remembered,” and “Just in Time.” The second half of the album has modernized versions of “Tiger Rag” and “Jersey Bounce” as played by the guitarist, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, trombonist Frank Rosolino, pianist Jimmie Rowles, Vinnegar, and Manne. Throughout, Kessel keeps with the other all-stars, swinging hard while paying tribute to the legacy of Charlie Christian.

Tracks:
01 – Let’s Cook!
02 – Time Remembered
03 – Just in Time
04 – Tiger Rag
05 – Jersey Bounce

Personnel:
Barney Kessel – guitar
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Frank Rosolino – trombone
Victor Feldman – vibes
Hampton Hawes, Jimmy Rowles – piano
Leroy Vinnegar – bass
Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded at Contemporary’s Studio, Los Angeles; November 11, 1957 (#1-3) and
August 6, 1957 (#4,5)

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Hank Jones (Great Jazz Trio with Strings) – N.Y. Sophisticate “A Tribute to Duke Ellington” {DENON}


Review by Ken Dryden (allmusic.com)

Hank Jones is one of the most gifted jazz pianists of the second half of the 20th century, and this salute to Duke Ellington is only slightly blemished by the sometimes overbearing string arrangements by Masahiko Satoh. His trio, with bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jimmy Cobb, sticks to familiar selections from the vast Ellington songbook, with Jones occasionally switching to a Fender Rhodes electric piano or celeste. Happily the strings are omitted from cookers such as “C Jam Blues” and “Take the ‘A’ Train.” Worth searching for.

Tracks:
01 – In a Sentimental Mood
02 – C Jam Blues
03 – Mood Indigo
04 – Satin Doll
05 – Lush Life
06 – Sophisticated Lady
07 – Take The “A” Train
08 – I Got it Bad (and That Ain’t Good)
09 – Caravan
10 – Solitude

Personnel:
Hank Jones – piano
Eddie Gomez – bass
Jimmy Cobb – drums
etc

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Carmen McRae – Fine and Mellow (Live at Birdland West) {Concord}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Although Carmen McRae is the obvious star of her live record (which has been reissued on CD), she gives plenty of solo space to her notable all-star band (Red Holloway on tenor and alto, organist Jack McDuff, guitarist Phil Upchurch, bassist John Clayton, and drummer Paul Humphrey). McRae did not record in this context with an organ group very often. All seven songs (which range in length from four minutes to the nine-and-a-half-minute title track) are swing-era standards except for Eubie Blake’s “My Handy Man Ain’t Handy No More,” which dates back to the early ’20s, but McRae updates them a bit and makes them sound relevant and swinging. Recommended.

Tracks:
01 – What Is This Thing Called Love
02 – What Can I Say After I Say I’m Sorry
03 – Fine and Mellow
04 – These Foolish Things Remind Me of You
05 – Black and Blue
06 – One More Chance
07 – Untill the Real Thing Comes Along
08 – My Handy Man Ain’t Handy No More

Personnel:
Carmen McRae – vocals
Red Holloway – tenor & alto saxophone
John Clayton – bass
Paul Humphrey – drums
Jack McDuff – organ
Phil Upchurch – guitar

Recorded live at Birdland West, Long Beach, CA; December 1987

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chet Baker – Chet {Riverside}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

The shifting personnel on this excellent CD find Chet Baker joined by such players as baritonist Pepper Adams, flutist Herbie Mann, pianist Bill Evans, and guitarist Kenny Burrell. This reissue of an LP adds one selection (“Early Morning Mood”) formerly only available on a sampler. Fine straight-ahead music that comes from the tail end of the West Coast jazz era.

Tracks:
01 – Alone Together
02 – How High The Moon
03 – It Never Entered My Mind
04 – ‘Tis Autumn
05 – If You Could See Me Now
06 – September Song
07 – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
08 – Time On My Hands (You In My Arms)
09 – You and the Night and the Music
10 – Early Morning Mood

Personnel:
Chet Baker – trumpet
Pepper Adams – baritone sax
Herbie Mann – flute
Kenny Burrell – guitar
Bill Evans – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Connie Kay, Philly Joe Jones – drums

Recorded in New York City; December 30, 1958 and January 19, 1959

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ella Fitzgerald with Joe Pass – Speak Love {Pablo}


Review by Matthew G. Sherwin (amazon.com)

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass will always remain the ultimate example of an accomplished, very special chanteuse and guitarist performing together, never giving us anything less than their very best. This CD is just one of three or four albums that Ella and Joe made together; and we get the rewards for all their hard work!

The CD track set begins with “Speak Low.” What a ballad! Ella’s voice is rich, warm and vibrant despite the fact that this set was recorded late in her career. Ella sings passionately and uses the full range of her voice to deliver “Speak Low” to perfection. Joe Pass plays the guitar well. It amazes me to hear just how much magic Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass could weave with just her voice and his solo guitar arrangement.

“Comes Love” follows “Speak Low.” “Comes Love” sports a romantic melody; and Ella’s treatment of the lyrics leaves you wanting for nothing! Ella plays with the tempo of her vocals as well; and this bolsters “Comes Love.” “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)!” lets Ella interpret a classic, well known love ballad–and her rendition shines like gold. Ella’s vocals are placed squarely in front of the musical arrangement; and she scats really nicely, too. When Joe does get his guitar solo in the middle of “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful),” he more than compensates for his staying in the background while Ella sings!

“At Last,” a ballad made so famous by the great Etta James, really shines as Ella sings this soulfully, slowly and passionately. Ella sings her heart out for “At Last!” Awesome! Ella scats just a little; Ella performs most of “At Last” as a ballad made all the more beautiful by the simplicity of the lyrics. “Gone With The Wind” features Ella singing with energy while refraining from being unrealistically boisterous for this number. Joe’s simple but moving guitar arrangement adds a lot to “Gone With The Wind.” I love his guitar solo on “Gone With The Wind,” too! Ella scats a little bit near the end of this ballad and she even ends it with a slightly upbeat sound at the very end as if to remind you she didn’t lose her talents as a scatter. If you want to hear Ella doing some really fine scatting, give a listen to “Blue And Sentimental.”

The CD ends with “Georgia On My Mind.” Joe starts with a few notes on his guitar; and although Ella and Joe keep the usual tempo they inject it with their own personal touch. Ella scats somewhat and Joe plays a few extra spicy notes on his guitar. The overall effect provides the album with a particularly strong ending.

The liner notes have a very brief essay by Norman Granz; I would have liked a longer essay but this is a minor disappointment. The cover art work has a great picture of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass together.

Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass could turn out a set that would make even the very greatest artists green with envy. They never miss a beat on any of their flawless performances. I highly recommend this for fans of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass; and people who like classic pop vocals with a jazzy twist will like this CD, too.

Enjoy!

Tracks:
01 – Speak Low
02 – Comes Love
03 – There’s No You
04 – I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)!
05 – At Last
06 – The Thrill is Gone (Medley)
07 – Gone with the Wind
08 – Blue and Sentimental
09 – Girl Talk
10 – Georgia on My Mind

Personnel:
Ella Fitzgerald – vocals
Joe Pass – guitar

Recorded in Hollywood, CA; March 21 & 22, 1983.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ben Webster Quartet – Big Ben Time {PHILIPS}


Review by Gerardo Martinez Casas (amazon.com)

It is, a mellow masterpiece of great jazz with some upbeat grooves to liven your evening… Love it

Tracks:
01 – How Deep is the Ocean?
02 – My One and Only Love
03 – Honeysuckle Rose
04 – Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
05 – Exactly Like You
06 – Where or When
07 – Just a-Sittin’ and a-Rockin’
08 – Solitude
09 – You Forgot to Remember
10 – The Jeep is Jumpin’

Personnel:
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Dick Katz – piano
Alan Haven – organ
Spike Heatley – bass
Tony Crombie – drums

Recorded in London, January 1967

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Tony Bennett – Steppin’ Out {Columbia}


Review by “All Music Guide” (allmusic.com)

Bennett’s tribute to songs that Fred Astaire made famous (including standards by Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern) is as strong a record as anything he has made recently, including the acclaimed Perfectly Frank.

Tracks:
01 – Steppin’ Out With My Baby
02 – Who Cares?
03 – Top Hat, White Tie and Tails
04 – They Can’t Take That Away from Me
05 – Dancing in the Dark
06 – Shine on Your Shoes
07 – He Loves and She Loves
08 – They All Laughed
09 – I Concentrate on You
10 – You’re All the World to Me
11 – All of You
12 – Nice Work If You Can Get It
13 – It Only Happens When I Dance With You
14 – Shall We Dance
15 – You’re Easy to Dance With / Change Partners / Cheek to Cheek
16 – I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan
17 – That’s Entertainment
18 – By Myself

Personnel:
Tony Bennett – vocals
Ralph Sharon – piano
Doug Richeson – bass
Clayton Cameron – drums

Recorded at Clinton Recording Studio, NY; released on 1993.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork