Verve Records celebrated the 50th anniversary of Norman Granz's first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert with an all-star get-together at Carnegie Hall. Different groups of top players from Verve's legacy (both past and present) had opportunities to perform, and this CD has many of the highlights. Pianist Peter Delano plays "Tangerine" with a trio; Dee Dee Bridgewater sings "Shiny Stockings" with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; Hank Jones pays tribute to Art Tatum; Abbey Lincoln sings "I Must Have That Man"; Joe Henderson meets up with Antonio Carlos Jobim (who made his final concert appearance) on "Desafinado";"Manteca" features trumpeter Roy Hargrove and trombonist Steve Turre; pianist Yosuke Yamashita pays tribute to Bud Powell; Betty Carter scats on "How High the Moon"; Herbie Hancock and John McLaughlin play a restrained acoustic version of Bill Evans' "Turn out the Stars"; Hargrove teams up with altoist Jackie McLean and guitarist Pat Metheny for "The Eternal Triangle"; organist Jimmy Smith revisits Oliver Nelson's arrangement of "Down by the Riverside"; Art Porter and Jeff Lorber play some crossover, and J.J. Johnson contributes a few trombone solos.
Nat Hentoff prefaced his 1956 down beat review of Verve's first Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong collaboration with a prediction: "Ella and Louis is one of the very, very few albums to have been issued in this era of the LP flood that is sure to endure for decades." Today, those sublime performances, along with two subsequent Norman Granz-produced Fitzgerald-Armstrong albums, are regarded as milestones of American music. A dozen gems from these works are presented here.
For the first time, all of Ella & Louis' classic duets are in one place. This 4CD set gathers their timeless three Verve albums newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess combining them with their eight Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl plus several alternates & false starts from the Decca & Verve eras, illuminating their craft & good humor. The set also includes an extensive essay by Ricky Riccardi.