Bop wasn't supposed to be as accessible as the popular big-band jazz that preceded it, but it's albums like this that give the lie to such generalizations. Serenade to Laura contains some of the most inventive and yet beguiling jazz piano ever recorded, and has been seducing listeners for 60 years and counting. Erroll Garner cut the original 14 sides on this LP across almost four years, in trio sessions on both coasts, backed initially by John Levy on bass and George DeHart on drums; and later by John Simmons on bass and Alvin Stoller on drums.
In this Rhythm Makeover edition, Adam Levy presents his signature electric rhythm guitar techniques and creative approaches. Adam has been featured on recordings by major-label artists such as Norah Jones (her first three albums), Tracy Chapman (New Beginning) and Amos Lee (Amos Lee), and acclaimed indie artists such as Ani DiFranco and Anais Mitchell.
After recording two thoroughly excellent LPs for the Mainstream label, Expressions East and Oud Artistry, John Berberian followed his benefactor, A&R man Peter Spargo, to the notorious Morris Levy's Roulette Records, where he waxed this standout album. Recorded in 1965 or 1966 and released around the same time, Music of the Middle East continues the oud master's progressive interpretations of traditional Armenian, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic material.
A superbly arranged, produced, and mastered session from a wonderful vocalist. Wilson's singing, delivery, and tone are enticing and sensual throughout, even when the songs threaten to get overly sentimental or just sappy. Although the album was aimed at the adult contemporary audience, Wilson never coasted through any number, and this was about as polished and effective as this kind of session could get.
Nancy Wilson's unimpeachable combination of high sophistication and artistic substance was tailor-made for entertaining both the high-rollers and rubber-neckers assembled at the Sands Hotel & Casino's Copa Room for this August 1968 performance. She began with a delightful tweak of any star-gazers in the room, dedicating the opener to a "specific" (but unspecified) group in attendance at the show, then launching into a bustling version of "Hello, Young Lovers."
Nancy Wilson's not the first name in bluesy jazz (check out Dinah Washington and Joe Williams for that), but she usually can enliven the form with her sophisticated and sultry style. That's made clear on her rendition of "Stormy Monday Blues," where she eschews blues clichés in favor of a husky airiness, at once referencing a lowdown mood and infusing it with a sense of buoyancy. This split is nicely essayed on Capitol's Blues and Jazz Sessions, as half the tracks ooze with Wilson's cocktail blues tone and the other find the jazz-pop chanteuse in a summery and swinging mood. Ranging from the big band blues of "I've Got Your Number" to the lilting bossa nova "Wave," Wilson handles all the varying dynamics and musical settings with aplomb. Featuring cuts from her '60s prime with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Oliver Nelson, George Shearing, Gerald Wilson, and a host of top sidemen, this best-of disc offers a fine, off-the-beaten-path overview of Wilson's Capitol heyday.