This reissue is unrelated to another V.S.O.P. set simply titled A Jazz Band Ball. Terry Gibbs on vibes and marimba matches wits and creativity with Victor Feldman and Larry Bunker, both of whom double on vibes and xylophone. Assisted by pianist Lou Levy, bassist Max Bennett and drummer Mel Lewis, the intriguing frontline essentially plays bop, but with a great deal of color. The interaction between the vibraphonists, who are all featured and occasionally trade off, is the main reason to acquire this very interesting set.
On this reissue CD, pianist/arranger Marty Paich heads a septet that consists of trumpeters Jack Sheldon and Don Fagerquist, valve trombonists Stu Williamson and Bob Enevoldsen, and a quiet rhythm section with bassist Buddy Clark and drummer Mel Lewis. While some swing standards are taken as stomps (including "Blue Lou" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside"), a pair of Dixieland warhorses ("Dinah" and "Ida") are surprisingly recast as dreamy and introspective ballads. In addition, there are a couple other familiar pieces, plus an original apiece by Paich ("Iris of the IRA") and Bill Holman. The cool-toned music holds one's interest and is one of many fine Marty Paich recordings from the 1950s.
For nearly half a century, Miles Davis (1926-1991) was arguably the preeminent innovator in jazz - rarely staying in the same place twice, experimenting with the most cutting-edge styles and ideas he could imagine. This year, some of Miles' most enduring works for Columbia Records are collected the way they were originally heard: MILES DAVIS: THE ORIGINAL MONO RECORDINGS. Each CD, newly remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios, is housed in a mini-LP replica jacket, faithfully replicating the original LP sleeves. They are encased in a quality slipcase, alongside a 40-page booklet with rare photos and brand-new essay offering in-depth, first-hand accounts from George Avakian, who signed Miles to Columbia in 1955, AND play-by-play from mastering engineer Mark Wilder. This is the true genius of Miles Davis as most people first heard it, the way it was intended to be heard: in mono.
The artistic prowess of saxophonist John Coltrane was so expansive and influential - even in his own short lifetime, let alone in the decades since his death - that it's difficult to quantify or differentiate his significance as a leader, a collaborator, a sideman or any other role in the jazz idiom. What's certain, though, is that some of his most pivotal session work took place on the Prestige label in the 1950s.