Very nice set of Mingus' legendary Candid recordings – produced in 1960, after Mingus angrily departed Columbia records, and was finally given the freedom to work in the way that he wanted. The recordings are some of Mingus best – and they feature a righteous anger and sheer jazz power that's unmatched by few other recordings.
In Memoriam. RIP Mr. Buddy. Buddy De Franco, a highly accomplished and exquisite jazz clarinetist who began his career in several leading swing bands of the 1940s before pivoting to bebop in the late 1940s and early '50s and teaming with leading jazz artists throughout the LP era, died on Dec. 24. He was 91. The album may be laidback, but it's hardly mellow at all – thanks to the presence of Sonny Clark on piano! The session's one of those great 50s pairings of Clark's piano and the clarinet of Buddy DeFranco – proof not only that Buddy could sound pretty darn soulful when he wanted, but also that he was always willing to grow and bring in some new ideas to his music.
Jazz pianist Beegie Adair's series of "romantic songs" songbook albums, devoted to the major songwriters of the interwar era (there are also titles for George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers), tend to have photographs of affectionate couples on the covers, as does this one, featuring the music of Duke Ellington. That's a signal that the recordings are intended to accompany the listeners on their own romantic adventures, as much as express the feelings of the songwriters.
"Exotic and Latin albums were big deals in the 1950s and early '60s, and singers as diverse as Dean Martin, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee were recording with castanets and bongo drums. Peggy Lee was so successful at the style that she cut two albums of light pseudo-Latin jazz in 1960. Like Peggy Lee, Julie London combined a restrained vocal approach with jazz phrasing and a cool attitude with icy sex appeal…"