Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and pianist Oscar Peterson are the stars of this delightful collection of jazz recordings supervised by producer Norman Granz over an almost exactly 12-month period extending from 1953 to 1954. Granz's marvelous knack for bringing together excellent musicians resulted in the combined presence of trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, trombonist Bill Harris, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, tenor saxophonists Ben Webster and Flip Phillips, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Buddy Rich. The combination of musical minds is extraordinary, and Hamp's amazing wavelength is dependably positive and uplifting.
Antonio Carlos Jobim's entry in the exhaustive Verve Jazz Masters set of historical reissues is one of the best single-disc Jobim anthologies available. It's not got much in the way of historical range, since it stops in the mid-'60s, just before Jobim left Verve for Reprise and then A&M. However, since Jobim's Verve years were, in the minds of many, his career highpoint, Verve Jazz Masters 13 distills the best of his most artistically and commercially successful period. Nearly all of Jobim's greatest songs are here in their definitive versions, and the whole is sequenced thoughtfully, so that the disc has a logical and delightful flow. This is magnificent stuff, as well as being the birth of bossa nova.
Not all of the installments in the Verve Jazz Masters series contain material originally issued on Verve. Verve Jazz Masters 3, for example, consists of 14 examples drawn from seven Chick Corea LPs released on the Polydor label during the years 1972-1978. Six of these come from Corea's Return to Forever period. The backbone of this collection (tracks one, seven, ten and fourteen) are selections from the highly acclaimed album Light as a Feather (1972) and there are excerpts from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973) and No Mystery (1975). The other eight titles are traceable to Corea's theatrically costumed and somewhat heavy-handed production albums The Leprechaun (1975), My Spanish Heart (1976), Friends (1978) and The Mad Hatter (1978)…
This fabulous five disc set is replete with some of those old Stokowski warhorses all recorded in absolutely mind boggling Phase 4 sound, overblown perhaps but astounding for its time. Decca's remastering is absolutely magnificent and the discs are jam packed with almost six hours of music. This is another fine memorial to a great conductor who remained astonishingly vital until the very end of his life.
Verve Jazz Masters 57 presents an introduction to the recordings of George Shearing. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
"…I just asked the band what they'd like to play, and they said, 'Oh, let's play some "I'll Remember April", or let's play some "September in the Rain".' So we did , and (the latter) sold nine hundred thousand copies." So London-born George Shearing reminisces on his early US fame and fortune in Brian Priestley's liner note. Shearing had an almost uncanny knack for creating music both pleasing to the public and artistically satisfying - as can be heard in this compilation of his early Fifties MGM sessions, which includes many tracks never issued on CD.
Verve Jazz Masters 31 presents an introduction to the recordings of Cannonball Adderley. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
Cannonball Adderley was a happy man in an angry time. His success was largely based on that fact and so were his limitations. Called 'the new Bird" because of his remarkable facility on the alto saxophone, he never plumbed the dark depths of sorrow the way his predecessor did: he was Ella Fitzgerald to Charlie Parker's Billie Holiday. Nor did he ebulllient saxophone is showcased here playing classic songs, in small combos, swinging octets, and backed by string orchestras - from his mid-Fifties output for Mercury and EmArcy. With Paul Chambers, Kenny Clarke, John Coltraine, J.J. Johnson, Wynton Kelly an, of course, Cannonball's brother, Nat.