Ella Fitzgerald – Ella for Lovers {Verve} “Russian Print”


Review by Tim Sendra ~allmusic.com
This 16-track collection features Ella Fitzgerald in a variety of musical settings singing romantic songs of love. The disc covers the years 1950 to 1961 with songs taken from the Verve and Decca archives. Four songs are culled from Intimate Ella, which has pianist Paul Smith as her sole accompanist. For the six songs from Pure Ella, she is backed by the wonderful pianist Ellis Larkins. A lovely take from this session on the Gershwin brothers “I’ve Got a Crush on You” is a highlight of the compilation. Two tracks are lifted from the gently swinging Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! with backing by a small combo. Three songs are extracted from Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook; two with small-combo backing including Paul Smith on piano, one, the haunting “Wait Till You See Her,” with Barney Kessel providing guitar. The disc closes out with a song taken from Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book. “Russian Lullaby” is a spare track with Fitzgerald’s majestic vocals supported by viola and harp. Fitzgerald sounds marvelous throughout, she could sing your phone bill and make it sound like a heavenly choir, and the song selection is top notch. There are a lot of Ella Fitzgerald collections available, this is a solid if not essential addition to them and also a nice disc for a romantic evening.

Tracklist:
01. I Got a Guy (3:46)
02. I Hadn’t Anyone Till You (2:51)
03. Please Be Kind (3:36)
04. How Long has This Been Going On? (3:16)
05. With a Song in My Heart (2:47)
06. Baby, What Else can I Do? (3:50)
07. I’ve Got a Crush on You (3:16)
08. My Melancholy Baby (2:59)
09. Wait Till You See Her (1:32)
10. You’re My Thrill (3:39)
11. Misty (2:55)
12. What is There to Say? (3:23)
13. Bewitched (7:05)
14. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (2:38)
15. Imagination (2:37)
16. Russian Lullaby (1:52)

Personnel:
Ella Fitzgerald – vocals
Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel – guitar
Ellis Larkins, Lou Levy, Paul Smith – piano
Gus Johnson , Stan Levey, Alvin Stoller – drums
Wilfred Middlebrooks, Joe Mondragon – bass

Recorded at: Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA; New York, NY;
Nola Recording Studio, New York, NY; Radio Recorders, Hollywood, CA;
United Recorders, Hollywood, CA.; between 1950 – 1961.
Compilation producer: Bryan Koniarz.

Genre: Jazz
Style: Vocal Jazz, Standards
Label: Verve (Russian Print)
Year: 2003
Time: 52:01

Quality-1: flac (tracks, eac, cue, log) + full scans
Quality-2: mp3@320 + full scans

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Barney Kessel – Kessel Plays “Carmen” {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow
This is an unusual set that has been reissued on CD. During an era when many Broadway and movie scores were recorded in jazz settings (thanks in part to the success of Shelly Manne’s best-selling My Fair Lady album), guitarist Barney Kessel chose to interpret nine melodies from Bizet’s opera Carmen. The guitarist is heard in three different settings: joined by five woodwinds and a rhythm section; with five jazz horns (including altoist Herb Geller and trumpeter Ray Linn) and a trio; and with vibraphonist Victor Feldman in a quintet. Kessel also wrote the arrangements, which pay tribute to the melodies while not being shy of swinging the themes. An interesting if not essential project.

Tracklist:
01 – Swingin’ the Toreador 05:52
02 – A Pad on the Edge of Town 06:46
03 – If You Dig Me 04:04
04 – Free As a Bird 05:00
05 – Viva El Toro! 03:15
06 – Flowersville 06:00
07 – Carmen’s Cool 04:43
08 – Like, There’s No Place Like… 03:59
09 – The Gypsy’s Hip 03:56

Personnel:
Barney Kessel – guitar
Harry Betts – trombone
Ray Linn – trumpet
Herb Geller – alto sax
Justin Gordon – flute, alto flute, tenor sax
Chuck Gentry – baritone sax
Buddy Collette – flue, alto flute, clarinet
Bill Smith – clarinet, bass clarinet
Jules Jacob – oboe, clarinet
Pete Terry – bass clarinet, bassoon
Andre Previn – piano
Joe Mondragon – bass
Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded in Contemporary Records studio, Los Angeles; December 19 & 22, 1958.

Label: Contemporary / OJC
Year: 1986
Genre: Jazz
Total Time: 43:34

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Charlie Parker – Jam Session {Verve}


Review by “Jazzcat Stef” (amazon.com)

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.

Tracks:
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

Personnel:
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

Barney Kessel – To Swing or Not to Swing {Contemporary}[OJC]


Review by Scott Yanow (allmusic.com)

Guitarist Barney Kessel’s string of recordings for Contemporary in the 1950s included some of the finest work of his career. The unusual repertoire on this set — which includes “Louisiana,” “Indiana,” and “12th Street Rag,” along with four Kessel originals and more usual standards — would by itself make this bop/cool set noteworthy. Add to that a very interesting lineup of players (trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, Georgie Auld or Bill Perkins on tenor, pianist Jimmy Rowles, the rhythm guitar of Al Hendrickson, bassist Red Mitchell, and Shelly Manne or Irv Cottler on drums) and some excellent showcases for Kessel, and the overall result is a CD highly recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz.

Tracks:
01 – Begin the Blues
02 – Louisiana
03 – Happy Feeling
04 – Embraceable You
05 – Wail Street
06 – Indiana
07 – Moten Swing
08 – Midnight Sun
09 – Contemporary Blues
10 – Don’t Blame Me
11 – 12th Street Rag

Personnel:
Barney Kessel – guitar
Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet
Georgie Auld, Bill Perkins – tenor sax
Jimmy Rowles – piano
Al Hendrickson – rhythm guitar
Red Mitchell – bass
Irv Cottler, Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded in Los Angeles; March 28 and July 26, 1955.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

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

Barney Kessel with Shelly Manne & Ray Brown – The Poll Winners {Fantasy}[xrcd]


Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. (allmusic.com)

If the picture of three grown men hanging onto giant, colored swirl sticks looks a bit odd, or if the title The Poll Winners seems a bit conceited, the music, nonetheless — recorded in 1957 — still sounds great in 2002. Besides, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelly Manne really did win polls in Down Beat, Playboy, and Metronome in 1956, and this is precisely what brought the players together. Here, on their first outing, they interpret nine pieces for 40 lovely minutes of modern jazz. After kicking off with a fine take on Duke Jordan’s “Jordu,” the group delivers an emotionally warm, six-minute version of “Satin Doll,” one the album’s highlights. While each player is always fully engaged in this small setting, Kessel’s guitar supplies the lead voice. His expressive style has more in common with bluesy players like Kenny Burrell than cool ones like Tal Farlow. This quality leads to sensitive interpretations of melody-filled standards like “On Green Dolphin Street” and “It Could Happen to You.” As is traditional in small settings, both Manne and Brown are also given a piece of the action, usually near the end of a tune. The choice of material, the interplay between the three players, and the lead work all meld together beautifully on The Poll Winners

Tracks:
01 – Jordu
02 – Satin Doll
03 – It Could Happen to You
04 – Mean to Me
05 – Don’t Worry ’bout Me
06 – On Green Dolphin Street
07 – You Go to My Head
08 – Minor Mood
09 – Nagasaki

Personnel:
Barney Kessel – guitar
Ray Brown – bass
Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded at Contemporary’s Studio in Los Angeles; March 18-19, 1957.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork