Paul Chambers – Go [2CD] {VeeJay}


Review by Michael G. Nastos (allmusic.com)

The first of two Vee Jay label dates by the acclaimed modern jazz bassist Paul Chambers is a fine exercise in hard bop, split between showcasing his compositions and famous standards. Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard are on the front line, perhaps for the only time in their storied careers, and work well for the most part. Pianist Wynton Kelly and either drummers Philly Joe Jones or Jimmy Cobb complete the quintets. The advantage in buying this reissue is that the second CD is comprised exclusively of outtakes from the originally issued tracks, and many of them have extended solos. Of the covers, “There Is No Greater Love” features a chuckling and cajoling Adderley, very happy for the fortune smiling on him, while “Just Friends” has the two horns playing this chestnut pretty much straight, with counterpointed stop-start techniques chirping at the rhythm section, and a young Hubbard offering his best solo. “I Got Rhythm” brings Cobb to the team, as a modal base from Kelly and Chambers buoys the wailing horns. Of the originals, Hubbard and Adderley sound mismatched on the 6/8 to 3/4 calypso-swing “Julie Ann,” where their harmonics don’t quite synch up. Their teamwork pays off royally during “I Heard That” and the classic hard bopper with Cobb “Ease It,” where the tempo persists, but the horns grow quieter and quieter in mezzo piano range to near nothingness — the epitome of cool. There’s another classic here, as “Awful Mean” is emotionally neither, but instead cures Adderley’s brief once-through melody statement into a vintage shuffle. The alternate take of this one is two-and-a-half minutes longer. “I Heard That” is called a “remake” though the original is just fine, and the second “remake” of the ballad “Dear Ann” (one of three attempts included) extends Chambers on his arco bowed bass melody, both pieces adding a ramped uptempo. This recording and 1st Bassman offer different aspects of Chambers as a leader, with the latter album having him take on more responsibility as a lead melodicist. After having played with the game changing bands of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Chambers died far too young ten years hence in January of 1969, but left behind a memorable 15-year legacy, well represented by this recording where he was in his early prime.

Tracks – Disc One (Master Takes):
01 – Awful Mean
02 – Julie Ann
03 – There is No Greater Love
04 – I Heard That
05 – Dear Ann
06 – Shades of Blue
07 – Just Friends
08 – Ease It
09 – I Got Rhythm

Tracks – Disc Two (Alternate Takes):
01 – Awful Mean (take 4)
02 – I Heard That (remake take 1)
03 – I Heard That (take-8)
04 – Dear Ann (remake take 2)
05 – Dear Ann (take 3)
06 – Just Friends (take 6)
07 – I Got Rhythm (take 2)

Personnel:
Freddie Hubbard – trumpet
Cannonball Adderley – alto sax
Wynton Kelly – piano
Paul Chambers – bass
Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobb – drums

Recorded in New York City, February 2 and 3, 1959

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Frank Morgan – Easy Living {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

After nearly 30 years off the scene, altoist Frank Morgan made a remarkable comeback. Despite his years in prison and obscurity, he had not lost anything in his playing; in fact, he had grown as an individual. Teamed with pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Billy Higgins, Morgan (still just 51) digs into songs by Walton, McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter and Antonio Carlos Jobim that had not been written when he had last recorded; in addition, he plays versions of three standards that recall his main inspiration, Charlie Parker. Morgan’s improbable comeback after such a long period was fortunately permanent. This set (originally released by Contemporary) has been reissued on CD in the Original Jazz Classics series, and in addition to being a historic date, the music is excellent.

Tracks:
01 – Manha de Carnaval
02 – Yes and No
03 – Easy Living
04 – The Rubber Man
05 – Third Street Blues
06 – Three Flowers
07 – Embraceable You
08 – Now’s the Time

Personnel:
Frank Morgan – alto saxophone
Cedar Walton – piano
Tony Dumas – bass
Billy Higgins – drums

Recorded digitally at Monterey Sound Studio, Glendale, CA; June 12 and 13, 1985.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Peterson – The More I See You {TELARC}


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

After Oscar Peterson suffered a severe stroke in the spring of 1993, it was feared that he would never again play on a professional level, but two years of intense therapy resulted in the masterful pianist returning to what sounds, on this Telarc CD, like near-prime form. For the all-star date, The More I See You, Peterson tears into seven standards and two blues and outswings all potential competitors. Altoist Benny Carter at 87 sounds like he is 47 (if Carter had retired back in 1940 he would still be a legend), and flugelhornist Clark Terry (here 74) proves to be not only (along with the remarkable 90-year-old Doc Cheatham) the finest trumpeter over 70 but one of the top brassmen of any age. The cool-toned guitarist Lorne Lofsky and drummer Lewis Nash are also strong assets while bassist Ray Brown (a year younger than Peterson at a mere 68) displays his typical limitless energy on appealing tunes such as “In a Mellow Tone,” “When My Dream Boat Comes Home,” and a medium/up-tempo version of “For All We Know.” The musicians all play up to their usual high level, making this a joyous comeback album for the great Oscar Peterson.

Tracks:
01 – In a Mellow Tone
02 – Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You
03 – On the Trail
04 – When My Dream Boat Comes Home
05 – Ron’s Blues
06 – For All We Know
07 – Blues for Lisa
08 – Squatty Roo
09 – The More I See You

Personnel:
Oscar Peterson – piano
Benny Carter – alto saxophone
Clark Terry – trumpet & flugelhorn
Ray Brown – bass
Lorne Lofsky – guitar
Lewis Nash – drums

Released on 1995 by Telarc Distribution.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, scans

Nat “King” Cole – Love is the Thing {Capitol} “Analogue Productions”


Review by Lindsay Planer (allmusic.com)

Nat King Cole’s collaborations with Gordon Jenkins rank among the finest from either artist or arranger. Love Is the Thing (1957) — Cole’s first stereophonic long player — topped the album charts for eight weeks and remains the epitome of the pair’s undeniable compatibility. The opener “When I Fall in Love” is considered by many to be nothing short of definitive. Modern listeners might recall the 1996 Grammy winning remake featuring an electronically created duet with the senior Cole crooning beside his daughter Natalie Cole. On the original, the restrained orchestration perfectly adapts to the singer’s verdant vocals. Similarly, “Stardust” sparkles as a flawless musical alliance is formed with Cole’s warm and inviting narrative weaving over Jenkins’ intimate score. Simply stated, both songs are unmitigated masterworks — and we’re only two cuts into the dozen-song LP. Another key to the project’s success is Jenkins ability to rein in just enough instrumentation to support Cole’s uniformly restrained leads. Examples abound throughout, with “Stay as Sweet as You Are,” “At Last,” and the rural sophistication of “When Sunny Gets Blue.” The heartfelt “Love Letters” and even the comparatively light “Ain’t Misbehavin'” incorporate a sonic synergy as the airy string section glides between Cole’s line by line phrasing. Also worth mentioning is the Jenkins original “I Thought About Marie,” as it sits comfortably beside some of the most time-honored tunes in 20th century popular music.

Tracks:
01 – When I Fall in Love
02 – Stardust
03 – Stay as Sweet as You Are
04 – Where Can I Go Without You?
05 – Maybe it’s Because I Love You Too Much (mono)
06 – Love Letters (mono)
07 – Ain’t Misbehavin’
08 – I Thought About Marie
09 – At Last
10 – It’s All in the Game
11 – When Sunny Gets Blue
12 – Love is the Thing
13 – When I Fall in Love (mono)
14 – Stardust (mono)
15 – Stay as Sweet as You Are (mono)
16 – Where Can I Go Without You? (mono)
17 – Maybe It’s Because I Love You Too Much (mono)
18 – Love Letters (mono)
19 – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (mono)
20 – I Thought About Marie (mono)
21 – At Last (mono)
22 – It’s All in the Game (mono)
23 – When Sunny Gets Blue (mono)
24 – Love is the Thing (mono)

Personnel:
Nat “King” Cole – vocals, with orchestra; arranged & conducted by Gordon Jenkins.

Originally released in 1957 on Capitol Records, LLC, as SW-824.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Paul Desmond with Strings – Desmond Blue {Bluebird}


Review by Shawn M. Haney (allmusic.com)

As intended, this album presents alto sax specialist Paul Desmond as never featured before, with the backing of a string orchestra. The record, filled with such beautiful jazz standards as “My Funny Valentine,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “Body and Soul,” is very rich in texture, yet subtle and mellow overall in mood. It’s unyielding purpose: to soothe the souls of its listeners. Desmond’s style and tone shine with an alluring quality, and the record is filled with melodies that don’t fail to stimulate the sophisticated jazz listener. Desmond’s melodies are eloquently detailed and charmingly spun in the midst of the string orchestra arranged and conducted by Bob Prince. The legendary Jim Hall is featured as guest guitarist, playing yet another scintillating role and using his classic comping style. Hall is perhaps the most highly respected of all jazz guitarists for his good taste and witty inventiveness. Desmond has always been most familiar to the jazz public for his sweeping scale passages and his seemingly effortless spontaneity during periods of improvisation, although here he is often featured in a more lyrical ballad style on such romantic tunes as “My Funny Valentine,” “Late Lament,” and “Then I’ll Be Tired of You.” This album is a highly innovative and meticulously crafted work, reflecting the ongoing success of both Desmond and Hall within the 1960s and the cool jazz period. Both of these musicians spent time working with Dave Brubeck and later lent themselves to many of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova projects. The arrangements are extraordinary throughout this collection, including the charming “Valentine,” which begins with a fantastic Elizabethan flavor. The intro sets up the mood to carry Desmond into the first chorus, which then glides into a 20th century style. The tune “I Should Care” is “a shimmering debt to Ibert and one of the most imaginative blendings you will ever hear of strings, reeds, French horn and harp,” according to the liner notes. The tone of the album: lush, reflective, thought-provoking, and soul-stirring. This work is quite a plus for any listener and especially those who consider themselves avid fans of Paul Desmond.

Tracks:
01 – My Funny Valentine
02 – Desmond Blue
03 – Then I’ll Be Tired of You
04 – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
05 – Late Lament
06 – I Should Care
07 – Like Someone in Love
08 – Ill Wind (You’re Blowin’ Me No Good)
09 – Body and Soul
10 – Autumn Leaves
11 – Imagination
12 – Advise and Consent
13 – Autumn Leaves (take 1) – previously unreleased
14 – Autumn Leaves (take 3) – previously unreleased
15 – Imagination (take 4) – previously unreleased
16 – Advise and Consent (take 4) – previously unreleased

Personnel:
Paul Desmond – alto saxophone, featuring:

Jim Hall – guitar
Gene Cherico, Milt Hinton, George Duvivier – bass
Connie Kay, Bobby Thomas, Osie Johnson – drums

and string section; arranged and conducted by Bob Prince

All selections were recorded at Webster Hall, New York City.

Recorded September 14, 1961; October 2, 1961; June 19, 1961,
September 28, 1961 and March 15, 1962.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ed Thigpen – Young Men and Olds {Timeless}


Biography by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

A tasteful and subtle drummer who is a master with brushes, Ed Thigpen is still most famous for his longtime membership with the Oscar Peterson Trio. The son of Ben Thigpen (who played drums with Andy Kirk’s Orchestra throughout the 1930s), Ed gained early experience playing with Cootie Williams from 1951-1952. After a period in the Army, he worked with Dinah Washington (1954), Lennie Tristano, Johnny Hodges, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor’s Trio (1956-1959). Thigpen replaced guitarist Herb Ellis with Peterson’s group in 1959, staying with the masterful pianist through 1965 and appearing on dozens of records. His quiet yet swinging style perfectly supported Peterson and bassist Ray Brown. After leaving Peterson, Thigpen spent two periods touring the world with Ella Fitzgerald during 1966-1972. He settled in Copenhagen in 1972, worked as a teacher, wrote several instructional books, and continued playing with the who’s who of jazz as a freelancer. As an occasional leader, Ed Thigpen has recorded dates for Verve (an obscurity from 1966), GNP Crescendo, Reckless, Timeless, and Justin Time.

Tracks:
01 – Strike Up the Band
02 – Yesterdays
03 – Summertime
04 – Night and Day
05 – Scramble
06 – Shufflin’ Long
07 – Oh My Gosh
08 – Dark Before Dawn
09 – I Should Care

Personnel:
Ed Thigpen – drums with;
Branford Marsalis, Bill Easley, Terrence Blanchard, Rolan Hanna,
Ronnie Mathews, Rufus Reid, Bobby Thomas Jr.

Recorded at RCA “A” Studio in N.Y.; March 20-21, 1989

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chet Baker – She Was Too Good to Me {SONY} “Masterworks Jazz”


Review from “chetbakertribute.com”

Besides being a great recording, this one also has some historical significance, as it is viewed by many as Chet’s “comeback” album. Although Baker recorded in the late sixties, they were really dreadful commercial albums. This is the first significant recording Chet made since the ’65 Prestige sessions. It also marks the beginning of a very successful association with Creed Taylor and CTI Records. Chet recorded some of best work for CTI in the mid-to-late 1970’s.
Bob James’ electric piano and some strings (just the right amount) give this CD a unique flavor.

Tracks:
01 – Autumn Leaves
02 – She Was Too Good to Me
03 – Funk in Deep Freeze
04 – Tangerine
05 – With a Song in My Heart
06 – What’ll I Do
07 – It’s You or No One
08 – My Future Just Passed

Personnel:
Chet Baker – trumpet and vocal
Paul Desmond – alto saxophone
Bob James – electric piano
Ron Carter – bass
Jack DeJohnette, Steve Gadd – drums
Dave Friedman – vibes
Hubert Laws – flue and alto flute
Rome Penque – flute and clarinet
George Marge – alto flute and oboe d’amore

Violins: Lewis Eley, Max Ellen, Barry Finclair, Paul Gershman,
Harry Glickman, Emanuel Green, Harold Kohon, David Nadien, Herbert Sorkin

Cellos: Warren Lash, Jesse Levy, George Ricci

Arranged and Conducted by Don Sebesky

Recorded on July 17 and November 1, 1974
1974, 1987, 2010, SONY Music Entertainment.

Quality: xld, flac, cue, log, artwork