Don Byas was a giant of the tenor sax, though his accomplishments were all but overlooked in his native land once he moved to Europe for good. This CD from Universal Music's Jazz in Paris series compiles three separate studio sessions from the early '50s, all with different rhythm sections. Most of the tracks are standard ballads, featuring the leader throughout. His expressive take of "Laura" shows off a big tone with a bit of vibrato much like Ben Webster in his later years. The one original is his snappy "Riviera Blues," a lively number likely improvised on the spot. Had he remained in the U.S., it is possible that Don Byas might have been ranked along with Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster in the top echelon of tenor saxophonists, so anyone unfamiliar with his work should seek out this very affordable collection.
This four-CD set contains a somewhat streamlined presentation of Parker's complete known live broadcasts from New York's Royal Roost, dating during 1948 and 1949, augmented with five of the live September 29, 1947, Carnegie Hall recordings and one lower-quality tape made in Chicago during 1950…
It is no exaggeration to call Little Walter the Jimi Hendrix of the electric harp: he redefined what the instrument was and what it could do, pushing the instrument so far into the future that his music still sounds modern decades after it was recorded. Little Walter wasn't the first musician to amplify the harmonica but he arguably was the first to make the harp sound electric, twisting twitching, vibrant runs out of his instrument; nearly stealing the show from Muddy Waters on his earliest Chess recordings; and so impressing Leonard Chess that he made Muddy keep Walter as his harpist even after Waters broke up his band. Chess also made Walter into his studio's house harpist and started to release Little Walter solo records with the instrumental "Juke" in 1952. "Juke" became a smash hit and turned Little Walter into a star, making him a steady presence on the '50s R&B charts.
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).