Charlie Parker – Jam Session {Verve}

Review by “Jazzcat Stef” (

This is an absolutly marvellous example of what Jazz was and still should be (not because it’s more mainstream than bebop, in any case I love them both). The joy of playing with friends on common grounds, the standards and blues repertoire. I think I own everything Bird has ever played/released or at least I come really near. All the Dial, Savoy, Verve, Benedetti recordings, Bird’s Eyes, Live & Broadcasts, Blue Note concerts, recent discoveries, almost everything (more than 150 cds). This album cannot be considered a pure Bird album because he shared the scene with a lot of other sax stars which gave the session a different feeling from a lot of Bird’s records. I mean that this album is more Jazz “the Kansas City way” than bebop. It is a session more traditional than bebop. The only true beboppers are Bird, Kessel and Peterson (and Brown of course). The others, Webster, Hodges, Carter etc are more traditional than strictly bebop so the overall sound is more on that side of course. But it’s not a complaint, only an obvious consideration. The album is really fresh and entertaining, you can compar eit to a lot of JATP sessions in a sense. So it’s not a “revolutionary” album, not one that set a standard or that marked a change in Jazz history, nevertheless it’s essential in its way. It is a perect representation of what Jazz was more at Lester Young time than Bird time, but it’s very very good. It deserves 5 stars absolutly. Every player shined here and found his time to strecht out and show his bags of tricks fully. One of the highlights is the comping by Oscar Peterson swing machine which gave to the session a fabolous imprinting. The program is damn good. Two very long blues tunes, a very beautiful standard (“What is this thing” one of the standards I love the most) and a ballad medley. Fantastic! And even if Bird is playing more or less his usual cliches and nothing more, he’s still Bird! I love this album, for real. Buy it, you will love it for years and years too.

01 – Jam Blues
02 – What is This Thing Called Love
03 – Ballad Medley:
a) All the Things You Are
b) Dearly Beloved
c) The Nearness of You
d) I’ll Get By
e) Everything Happens to Me
f) The Man I Love
g) What’s New
h) Someone to Watch Over Me
i) Isn’t it Romantic?
04 – Funky Blues

Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges – alto sax
Flip Phillips, Ben Webster – tenor sax
Oscar Peterson – piano
Barney Kessel – guitar
Ray Brown – bass
J.C. Heard – drums

Recorded July, 1952; Los Angeles.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Ahmad Jamal – A Quiet Time {Dreyfus}

Review by Michael G. Nastos (

Well into his golden years, Ahmad Jamal continues to tour and record with the vigor of a man half his age. What is also evident is that his artistic sense is as high as it has ever been, as he consistently doles out fresh new melodies charged by his extraordinary talent, which is hardly reined in. A Quiet Time might be a bit deceiving in that there’s plenty of Jamal’s energy to go around on this set of originals and two standards, sans ballads except for the finale “I Hear a Rhapsody.” With longtime partners in bassist James Cammack and drummer Kenny Washington, Jamal breeds the utmost confidence that his music succeeds on the upper end of modern mainstream jazz. Percussionist Manolo Badrena (ex-Weather Report) spices up the music without overt Latin overtures, and balances the swing inherent in Jamal’s style. When you hear Jamal’s fast and loose but controlled “Paris After Dark” in swinging or heavy modal context, you know your are listening to an undisputed master craftsman at work. The bouncy track “Flight to Russia” has Cammack’s bass locked in tight with the others, while Jamal’s bright dancing lines across the keyboard during “Tranquility,” and his heavy-to-lighter traipsing of notes for the title track indicate that this pianist has plenty in the tank in terms of sheer artistry. While he does a rather polite version of Randy Weston’s “Hi-Fly,” the contemporary beat of “The Blooming Flower” suggests it is an updated version of his all-time favorite “Poinciana.” More of his originals include the cascading freedom exuded in “Poetry” as notes tumble from waterfalls, while the lilting to free to tick-tock pace of “After JALC” proves Jamal can shift gears at will effortlessly. There’s nothing even remotely mediocre or rote about this effort, as Ahmad Jamal proves once again his viability to play jazz piano music is still on the rise, and inspired beyond most mortals.

01 – Paris After Dark
02 – The Love is Lost
03 – Flight to Russia
04 – Poetry
05 – Hi Fly
06 – My Inspiration
07 – After JALC (Jazz at Lincoln Center)
08 – A Quiet Time
09 – Tranquility
10 – The Blooming Flower
11 – I Hear a Rhapsody

Ahmad Jamal – piano
James Cammack – bass
Manolo Badrena – percussions
Kenny Washington – drums

Recorded July 9-11, 2009 at Systems Two Recording Studios, LTD.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Billie Holiday – Lady in Satin {Columbia}

Review by Sam Sutherland (

A harrowing classic, Billie Holiday’s personal favorite among her ’50s albums captures the singer 17 months before her death, her once honeyed voice, scarred and weakened from punishing life, its ravages highlighted by the 1958 session’s crisp sonics and the contrasting “satin” of Ray Ellis’ sleek string arrangements. Yet it is that very contrast that explains the power of these performances: In revisiting its torchy standards, Holiday reduces them to their core of pain and longing, transforming “I’m a Fool to Want You,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “You’ve Changed” into naked declarations as mesmerizing and unsettling as a horrific accident. Any postrocker that presumes pop standards and string sections automatically translate to “easy listening” hasn’t listened to this. This 1997 version adds unreleased takes and a beautiful 20-bit digital transfer to extract every shivering pang of Holiday’s music.

01 – I’m a Fool to Want You (Edited Master CS 8048)
02 – For Heaven’s Sake
03 – You Don’t Know What Love Is
04 – I Get Along Without You Very Well
05 – For All We Know
06 – Violets for Your Furs
07 – You’ve Changed
08 – It’s Easy to Remember
09 – But Beautiful
10 – Glad to Be Unhappy
11 – I’ll Be Around
12 – The End of a Love Affair (Mono – CL 1157)
13 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 3 – CL 1157)
14 – I’m a Fool to Want You (take 2 – alternate take)
15 – The End of a Love Affair: The Audio Story
16 – The End of a Love Affair (Stereo)
17 – Pause Track

Billie Holiday – vocals (with collective personnel – see book scans for details)
Ray Ellis – arranger & conductor

Recorded February 19-21, 1958.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chick Corea – Solo Piano “Standards” {Concord}

Review by David R. Adler (

Part two of Corea’s solo piano series features standard tunes. There is a preponderance of Thelonious Monk music: “Monk’s Dream,” “Blue Monk,” “Ask Me Now,” and “‘Round Midnight.” Bud Powell, another piano legend whose music Corea has recorded and studied closely over the years, is represented by “Dusk in Sandi” and “Oblivion.” The more universally familiar selections are “But Beautiful,” “Thinking of You,” “Yesterdays,” “It Could Happen to You,” “So in Love,” “How Deep Is the Ocean,” and “Brazil.” Corea knows this music intimately and is uniquely able to mine each selection for fresh insights and possibilities. There are few pianists alive who equal Corea in stature and influence, and this beautiful concert recording reminds us of his continuing importance as an interpreter of jazz tradition.

01 – Monk’s Dream
02 – But Beautiful
03 – Blue Monk
04 – Ask Me Now
05 – Thinking of You
06 – Yesterdays
07 – Dusk in Sandi
08 – It Could Happen to You
09 – ‘Round Midnight
10 – So in Love
11 – How Deep is the Ocean
12 – Oblivion
13 – Brazil

Chick Corea – piano

Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7 & 11 recorded at Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan – 11/30/99
Tracks 2 & 10 recorded at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, Yokohama, Japan – 11/28/99
Tracks 3 & 4 recorded at Club Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden – 11/17/99
Track 8 recorded at Sardinen Club, Bergen, Norway – 11/19/99
Tracks 9 & 13 recorded at Culture & Congress Center, Lucerne, Switzerland – 11/20/99
Track 12 recorded at Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark – 11/15/99

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Chick Corea – Solo Piano “Originals” {Concord}

Review by David R. Adler (

Perhaps hearkening back to 1971’s two-volume Piano Improvisations, pianist Chick Corea issues this majestic, two-part solo recording, the first disc of which features his original compositions. The music spans Corea’s career thus far: opening with “Brasilia” and then “Yellow Nimbus” — the latter written for flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia — he goes on to play “Armando’s Rhumba,” three selections from the 1983 solo piano album Children’s Songs, and then a short, to-the-point “Spain,” probably his most famous piece. (The finale, “Children’s Song #12,” runs over thirteen minutes.) Curiously, he also includes two preludes by classical composer Alexander Scriabin — one of which he also played solo on 1986’s Trio Music: Live in Europe. In an engaging twist, Corea plays four consecutive free improvisations, each inspired by an image or idea solicited from members of the concert audience: “April Snow,” “The Chase,” “The Falcon,” and “Swedish Landscape” (The last title came from Corea himself). Each is a marvel of improvisational ingenuity and technical poise. To give credit where it is due, the idea of a two-part series featuring originals and standards was executed earlier by a much younger pianist, Ethan Iverson on Construction Zone and Deconstruction Zone. But regardless, Corea’s two-disc opus serves as a sort of state-of-the-union address for his musicianship and piano mastery. While his chameleonic ways over the years have yielded some mixed results, this is Corea “unplugged,” if you will, and at his very best.

01 – Brasilia
02 – Yellow Nimbus
03 – Prelude #4, Opus 11
04 – Prelude #2, Opus 11
05 – Children’s Song #6
06 – Children’s Song #10
07 – Armando’s Rhumba
08 – April Snow
09 – The Chase
10 – The Falcon
11 – Swedish Landscape
12 – Spain
13 – Children’s Song #12

Chick Corea – piano

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6 & 7 recorded at;
Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall, Yokohama, Japan – 11/28/99
Track 2 recorded at Symphony Hall, Osaka, Japan – 11/30/99
Track 4 recorded at Culture & Congress Center, Lucerne, Switzerland – 11/20/99
Tracks 8, 9, 10 & 11 recorded at Plektrum, Lund, Sweden – 11/14/99
Track 12 recorded at Sardinen Club, Bergen, Norway – 11/19/99
Track 13 recorded at Club Fasching, Stockholm, Sweden – 11/17/99

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork