Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): "The most significant feature of the album is the uncanny rapport between the two leaders. It is difficult to believe but probably true that, although they had undoubtedly frequently heard each other's work, they had never played together. But of course they had many attitudes and attributes in common. If the blues is indeed a language, it is one in which both of these men were extremely fluent. Equally important to both was the melodic content of their music. Some otherwise admirable players do not seem to have fully grasped the important fact that to perform a ballad properly involves much more than just keeping the tempo slow. Both Bags and Wes were firmly aware of this distinction. There is an extraordinary richness and fullness to their performances here, and there is also a feeling that each man is somehow drawing something tangible from the other's performance.”
Orrin’s commentary (from his new liner notes): “I began constructing the 1960 definitive presentation of [Wes] Montgomery by recognizing the need to keep things as clear-cut and uncomplicated as possible. There were at least three unique aspects to his performing style: he played with his thumb, never using a pick… and his solos almost invariably included two elements routinely referred to as ‘impossible’—his use of octaves and of pianistic block chords. Self-taught (his first ‘lesson’ had involved heavy listening to Charlie Christian records) and never able to read music notation of any kind, he somehow possessed an unfailing command of the blues and of ballad tempo and was an impressive composer.”
This 2-LP set from 1973 is a re-issue of material guitarist Wes Montgomery recorded in 1961, the first 8 tracks were on the “Bags Meets Wes” LP by Wes Montgomery & Milt Jackson, while the remaining 11 tracks were part of “Love Walked In” by George Shearing & The Montgomery Brothers. Players on the first album are Milt Jackson, Wynton Kelly, Sam Jones and Philly Joe Jones, while on the second we get Buddy Montgomery, George Shearing, Monk Montgomery, Walter Perkins, Armando Peraza and Richard Chimelis.
Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): “This turned out to be the easiest Bill Evans record session I was ever involved in. The trio's initial working repertoire consisted entirely of material that he wanted to record but had not yet attempted; I probably would have preferred having more than two originals, having not yet fully realized that his ability to reconstruct and revitalize old and often over-familiar standards was one of his more important contributions to the jazz vocabulary.”
Orrin’s commentary (from his new liner notes): “Although I had been very much impressed by his work with [John Coltrane], listening to [McCoy Tyner] in New York clubs in the years that followed made me aware of how remarkably he was developing. He was, and still remains, one of the most powerful pianists I have ever heard; many years ago having learned to merge that strength with a very personal form of lyricism—an unusual, unique combination. To me, it is this linking of power and beauty—in both the writing and the playing here—that distinguishes Fly With the Wind and makes it possibly my personal favorite among the 17 albums that I worked on with this extraordinary artist during our eight years together at Milestone.”
Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): "This, you might say, is an album of undiluted Monk. Like most generalizations, that wouldbe putting things a bit too simply, but the core of truth is there. For, with the deliberate exceptionof the final selection, this is literally Thelonious Himself—Monk, alone in the recording studio, offering highly personal versions of some standards and some of his own tunes.
Conventional wisdom, which in this case may be right, holds that Bill Evans' storied career peaked on June 25, 1961, a date that yielded two live records, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, the final two documents of Evans' first, and best, trio, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. In the two years he'd been playing with Evans, LaFaro had opened up new possibilities for the jazz bass, playing with a harmonically oblique, melodically flexible style that was, at the time, unprecedented. Ten days after this record was made he died, just 25 years old.
Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from the original liner notes): “This is Blue Mitchell's third album as a leader. The first two were very good and well worth the attention of the jazz-listening public. But this present album is something else. It represents so definite and striking a forward step…with this recording Blue would seem to have stepped over the invisible line: He is no longer merely 'promising,' he has arrived…The most significant 'new' factor in the sound and content of Mitchell's playing is something best described as confidence, or authority.”
Orrin’s commentary (from his original liner notes): “Because Sonny Rollins is as passionate, talented, multifaceted and variable as this album (and many others over his many years of activity) would lead you to believe, I am glad to be able to say that this remarkable artist remains one of the greatest and most creative of all tenor saxophone players and improvisers, and that he also happens to remain a valued friend.”