Shirley Horn – Light Out of Darkness “A tribute to Ray Charles” {Verve}

Review from

The stunning Light Out of Darkness is at once Shirley Horn’s loving tribute to the genius of Ray Charles, a stylistic departure from the introspective jazz balladry she’s known for, and a journey into the world of R&B. Horn and her trio swing hard on these tracks, and the organic R&B tinged jazz arrangements absolutely simmer, with Horn singing, playing piano, and Hammond B-3 organ. Her distinctive sultry and smoky vocals are bluesy and conversational, similar in approach to Charles’. Horn’s masterly chord cluster style of piano playing punctuates her every vocal phrase.

Her heartfelt solo rendition of “Being Green” forms the emotional centerpiece of the record, while other highlights include rocking versions of “Bye Bye Love” and “Hard Hearted Hannah,” as well as the gorgeous vision of love lost, “The Sun Died.” Light Out of Darkness displays Ray Charles’s influence on the artistry of Shirley Horn to superb effect.

01 – Hit the Road, Jack
02 – Just a Little Lovin’
03 – You Don’t Know Me
04 – Drown in My Own Tears
05 – Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah)
06 – Georgia on My Mind
07 – Makin’ Whoopie
08 – Green (It’s Not Easy Being Green)
09 – Bye Bye Love
10 – The Sun Died
11 – How Long Has This Been Going On
12 – If You Were Mine
13 – I Got a Man
14 – Just for a Thrill
15 – Light Out of Darkness

Shirley Horn – vocals, piano, hammond B-3 organ
Charles Ables – bass, guitar
Steve Williams – drums

and special guests:
Gary Bartz – alto saxophone
Tyler Mitchell – bass

Recorded April 30 and May 1-3, 1993 at Clinton Recording Studios, NYC

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

Review by Thom Jurek (

Shortly after Art Pepper’s death in 1982, JVC Records in Japan began issuing a series of titles of the great saxophonist’s performances in Japan. This set, recorded in 1979, was compiled from two different July performances and features the classic Pepper quartet with pianist George Cables, drummer Billy Higgins, and the great Tony Dumas on bass. Pepper played only alto on the dates, and these five tunes offer a portrait of the musician at the very top of his form and very inspired. There are three Pepper originals: “Red Car,” “Mambo de la Pinta,” and “The Trip,” all of which are over nine minutes, buffeted by the set’s lone ballad, “The Shadow of Your Smile,” and a smoking read of the title track. Only the ballad is on the short side, and the rest give Pepper the opportunity to really stretch himself and interact with Cables, whose fluid scalar approach to soloing, while invoking bop’s precision balanced by an abundant lyrical swing, was a perfect vehicle for the saxophonist’s intense melodic improvising. This is a welcome addition to the U.S. catalog for fans and a fantastic introduction to Pepper’s many gifts for the uninitiated.

01 – Red Car
02 – The Shadow of Your Smile
03 – The Trip
04 – Mambo de La Pinta
05 – Besame Mucho

Art Pepper – alto sax
George Cables – piano
Tony Dumas – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

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

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Dave Brubeck Quartet feat. Gerry Mulligan – Last Set At Newport {Atlantic}

Review by Scott Yanow (

The Dave Brubeck-Gerry Mulligan quartet is heard in a very inspired performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, just a short time before a riot by the audience closed the festival. These versions of “Take Five” and “Open the Gates” are memorable, but it is the extended “Blues for Newport” that is truly classic. Mulligan and Brubeck (backed by bassist Jack Six and drummer Alan Dawson) constantly challenge each other during this exciting performance, making this set well-worth searching for.

01 – Introduction by Father Norman O’Connor
02 – Blues for Newport
03 – Take Five
04 – Open the Gates (Out of the Way of the People)

Dave Brubeck – piano
Gerry Mulligan – baritone sax
Alan Dawson – drums
Jack Six – bass

Recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 3, 1971.

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Bill Evans Trio – Moon Beams {Riverside} “Analogue Productions”

Review by Review by Thom Jurek (

Moonbeams was the first recording Bill Evans made after the death of his musical right arm, bassist Scott LaFaro. Indeed, in LaFaro, Evans found a counterpart rather than a sideman, and the music they made together over four albums showed it. Bassist Chuck Israels from Cecil Taylor and Bud Powell’s bands took his place in the band with Evans and drummer Paul Motian and Evans recorded the only possible response to the loss of LaFaro — an album of ballads. The irony on this recording is that, despite material that was so natural for Evans to play, particularly with his trademark impressionistic sound collage style, is that other than as a sideman almost ten years before, he has never been more assertive than on Moonbeams. It is as if, with the death of LaFaro, Evans’ safety net was gone and he had to lead the trio alone. And he does first and foremost by abandoning the impressionism in favor of a more rhythmic and muscular approach to harmony. The set opens with an Evans original, “RE: Person I Knew,” a modal study that looks back to his days he spent with Miles Davis. There is perhaps the signature jazz rendition of “Stairway to the Stars,” with its loping yet halting melody line and solo that is heightened by Motian’s gorgeous brush accents in the bridge section. Other selections are so well paced and sequenced the record feels like a dream, with the lovely stuttering arpeggios that fall in “If You Could See Me Now,” and the cascading interplay between Evan’s chords and Israel’s punctuation in “It Might As Well Be Spring,” a tune Evans played for the rest of his life. The set concludes with a waltz in “Very Early,” that is played at that proper tempo with great taste and delicate elegance throughout, there is no temptation by the rhythm section to charge it up or to elongate the harmonic architecture by means of juggling intervals. Moonbeams was a startling return to the recording sphere and a major advancement in his development as a leader.

01 – Re: Person I Knew
02 – Polka Dots and Moonbeams
03 – I Fall in Love Too Easily
04 – Stairway to the Stars
05 – If You Could See Me Now
06 – It Might As Well Be Spring
07 – In Love in Vain
08 – Very Early

Bill Evans – piano
Chuck Israels – bass
Paul Motian – drums

Recorded in New York; June 2, 1962 (selections #2-4, 6, 7);
May 29, 1962 (#1, 8); May 17, 1962 (#5)

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Gene Harris (The 3 Sounds) – Bottoms Up! {Blue Note} “Analogue Productions”

Review by Scott Yanow (

The second record by the Three Sounds (which, like too many of their recordings, has yet to be reissued on CD in the U.S.) features the increasingly popular group in prime form. Pianist Gene Harris, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy are in top form performing their brand of funky jazz, which left plenty of room for inventive solos along with the percolating grooves. On this set, the trio plays seven standards (including “Besame Mucho,” “Love Walked In” and “I Could Write a Book”), plus the original “Jinne Lou.” Well worth searching for.

01 – Besame Mucho
02 – Angel Eyes
03 – Time After Time
04 – Love Walked In
05 – I Could Write a Book
06 – Jinne Lou
07 – Nothing Ever Changes My Love for You
08 – Falling in Love with Love

Gene Harris – piano and celeste
Andrew Simpkins – bass
Bill Dowdy – drums

Originally released in 1959 on Blue Note as BST-84014

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Dinah Washington – Ultimate Dinah Washington “Selected by Abbey Lincoln” {Verve}

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine (

Abbey Lincoln compiled The Ultimate Dinah Washington, a 16-track selection of Washington’s best-known songs that offers an excellent introduction to her Verve recordings. Although purists and collectors will have little use for this set, it suits the purposes of neophytes and curious listeners quite well. Among the highlights are “What a Diff’rence a Day Made,” “Backwater Blues,” “Cry Me a River,” “I Wanna Be Loved,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Harbor Lights,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” “I Won’t Cry Anymore,” “Unforgettable,” and “The Bitter Earth.”

01 – What a Diff’rence a Day Made
02 – Back Water Blues
03 – Cry Me a River
04 – I wanna be Loved
05 – There is No Greater Love
06 – Since I Fell for You
07 – Cold, Cold Heart
08 – I’m a Fool to Want You
09 – I Could Write a Book
10 – Blue Gardenia
11 – Harbor Lights
12 – Mixed Emotions
13 – You Don’t Know what Love Is
14 – I Won’t Cry Anymore
15 – Unforgettable
16 – This Bitter Earth

Dinah Washington – vocals (with collective personnel)

Compilation produced in 1997, PolyGram Records, Inc.

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Stan Getz Quartet – Pure Getz {Concord}

Review by Scott Yanow (

Stan Getz’s 1982 band featured the harmonically advanced pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Victor Lewis; Billy Hart fills in for Lewis on three numbers. This date sticks (with one exception) to high-quality jazz standards, some of which (“Sippin at Bell’s”) are not performed all that often. Getz is particularly swinging on “Tempus Fugit” and quite lyrical on Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count.”

01 – On the Up and Up
02 – Blood Count
03 – Very Early
04 – Sippin at Bell’s
05 – I Wish I Knew
06 – Come Rain or Come Shine
07 – Tempus Fugit

Stan Getz – tenor saxophone
James McNeely – piano
Victor Lewis, Billy Hart – drums

Recorded at Coast Recorders, San Francisco, California, January 1982;
and Soundmixers, New York, N.Y., February 1982.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork