Townes Van Zandt played to a standing room-only crowd in Nashville on April 19, 1985, when he recorded Live & Obscure at 12th and Porter. The show was billed as "the return of the lost sheep of the songwriting fold." The rambling Texas troubadour did not disappoint his fans, peers, and colleagues that night (or any other). In this intimate setting, Van Zandt's aw-shucks charm comes through not just his songs, but his in-between banter. Luckily, he failed to heed his mother's advice to not talk, just play and sing. Another beauty that appears in a raw setting such as this is of the songs themselves.
In the '60s the jazz pianist Bill Evans would occasionally record an orchestral "easy listening" session to pay the bills, with predictably mediocre results. But FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, while certainly easy on the ears, is also one of Evans' most intriguing "lost" records, brought to us courtesy of Verve's winning "By Request" series. The novelty is that Evans plays both Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano simultaneously in real time, trading off themes and improvs with deliberative taste and, of course, rare skill. The sessions were produced by Evans' long-time, protective manager Helen Keane, so there was little danger of "selling out."
During the seven year span at Riverside that launched his career, Bill Evans only twice recorded outside his customary trio format: in the summer of 1962, when he went into the studio in quintet settings involving some of the major jazz artists of the period. The results are combined in this package. #1-6 originally issued as Interplay (Riverside 445). #7-13 originally issued as part of The Interplay Sessions double-LP (Milestone 47055), as previously unreleased selections.
The three albums tenorman Bill Barron made as a leader for Savoy Records in early 60s embody every facet of this accomplished jazzman as a talented soloist, composer and arranger. And, despite the similarities in their harmonic ideas, Barron was not a slavish disciple of John Coltrane.
The Tenor Stylings of Bill Barron is the debut album by saxophonist Bill Barron which was recorded in 1961 and first released on the Savoy label. This recording displays all the why's and wherefore's as to his unsung greatness, showcasing his clever compositions and his clear, distinct, definite tenor tone that holds allegiance to no peer or predecessor. The Tenor Stylings Of Bill Barron somehow was engineered for sharper and more assertive sound reproduction, clarifying the roles of the instruments within each piece. Furthermore, the compositions on the album are based upon single themes for the most part.
For a brief time, tenor saxophonist Bill Holman and drummer Mel Lewis led a hard-swinging quintet based in Los Angeles. Trumpeter Lee Katzman, pianist Jimmy Rowles and bassist Wilford Middlebrook complete the group, a band that benefits greatly from the arrangements of Holman. Rowles contributed "502 Blues Theme," Holman brought in two songs, and the unit also performs the obscure "Mah Lindy Lou" and two originals. This album (originally on the Andex label) serves as proof that not all jazz recordings from Los Angeles in the 1950s are quiet and cool.