This 55-CD set chronicles the remarkable Archiv label, begun in 1947. Devoted mainly to early and Baroque music, the recordings presented here, in facsimiles of their original sleeves (a nice touch), cover the period from Gregorian chant to Beethoven’s Fifth and Sixth symphonies, played on period instruments. There are stops in between for a great deal of Bach, music of the Gothic era, the French Baroque (Mouret, Delalande, Rameau, etc), Gibbons, Handel (Alcina, La Resurrezione, Messiah, Italian cantatas), Telemann, Zelenka, Gabrieli, Desprez, Haydn, LeJeune, and plenty of the usual, as well as unusual, suspects. There’s also a final CD with selections of new releases (more Handel, Cavalli, Gesualdo, Vivaldi).
The combination of an early modern jazz clarinet and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France creates a special kind of chemistry that occurs periodically throughout Django Reinhardt's recorded works. This volume in the Classics Reinhardt chronology contains an unusually high concentration of clarinetists, most notably the great Hubert Rostaing. Given his warm, personable timbre and unusual dexterity, it is surprising that more jazz lovers are not aware of this remarkable musician. The previous Django Reinhardt installment in the Classics chronology, 1947, contained no less than 13 tracks documenting the Rostaing/Reinhardt collaboration…
Here are Oscar Peterson's first recordings, made in Canada before his U.S. breakthrough under the wing of Norman Granz. These Montreal recordings first came out as singles on the Canadian branch of the Victor label. As such, they don't come up for reissue air very often, which is a real shame, because there's some truly extraordinary performances here, including "I Got Rhythm," "In a Little Spanish Town," "Blue Moon," "Sweet Lorraine," and "The Sheik of Araby." Peterson is nothing short of jaw-droppingly excellent on these sides, his playing every bit as deft on the ballads as it is on the uptempo numbers. Plain and simply, these performances belong in every jazz lover's collection.
The superb compilation West Coast 1945-1947 brings together various studio and live radio broadcasts from bop jazz trumpeter Howard McGhee. Born in Tulsa and raised in Detroit, McGhee was a powerhouse bop trumpeter in the vein of Fats Navarro and Dizzy Gillespie. He was also a melodicist, which meant that he was capable of soloing with both dazzling technical proficiency and gorgeous romantic lyricism. One of the few bop musicians to relocate to California during the '40s, McGhee even backed Charlie Parker on some Dial sessions during the saxophonist's West Coast tour at about the same time he made the recordings featured here.
This is the third and final volume in the complete recordings of Lil Green in chronological order as reissued by the Classics Blues & Rhythm Series. By 1947 Lil Green was beginning to sound more than a little like Ida Cox, even when handling songs from Tin Pan Alley rather than straight up out of the tried and true traditional blues repertoire. Comparisons could also be drawn between Lil Green and Nellie Lutcher or Julia Lee. While her "crossover" performances are worthwhile, there's nothing quite like hearing this woman savor the flavor of Bessie Smith hits like "Aggravatin' Papa," "Outside of That," and "You've Been a Good Old Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)." Green's own "Lonely Woman" has a powerful undercurrent running through it – there is even a remote possibility that Ornette Coleman was inspired by this record when conceiving his own composition of the same title in 1959. Even if the link is purely coincidental, these melodies have something wonderful in common. Green's final recordings for the Victor label are strengthened by the presence of tenor saxophonists Budd Johnson, Lem Johnson, and David Young.