Doug Sahm once sang, "You just can't live in Texas if you don't have a lot of soul," and, as a proud son of the Lone Star state, he seemed bent on proving that every time he stepped in front of a microphone. Whether he was playing roots rock, garage punk, blues, country, norteño, or (as was often the case) something that mixed up several of the above-mentioned ingredients, Doug Sahm always sounded like Doug Sahm – a little wild, a little loose, but always good company, and a guy with a whole lot of soul who knew a lot of musicians upon whom the same praise could be bestowed. Pulling together a single disc compilation that would make sense of the length and breadth of the artist's recording career (which spanned five decades) would be just about impossible (the licensing hassles involved with the many labels involved would probably scotch such a project anyway), but this disc, which boasts 22 songs recorded over the course of eight years, is a pretty good starter for anyone wanting to get to know Sahm's music.
Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet was recorded in 1956, and is considered by many to be among the best performances and recordings of hard bop jazz. This album is a part of the Rudy Van Gelder Remasters series; these albums have been remastered by Rudy Van Gelder (the original session engineer). Recorded May 11 and October 26, 1956 at Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet is the first of four classic albums that emerged from two marathon and fruitful sessions recorded in 1956 (the other three discs released in Cookin's wake were Workin', Relaxin' and Steamin'). All the albums were recorded live in the studio, as Davis sought to capture, with Rudy Van Gelder's expert engineering, the sense of a club show · la the Café Bohemia in New York, with his new quintet, featuring tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. In Miles's own words, he says he called this album Cookin' because "that's what we did-came in and cooked." What's particularly significant about this Davis album is his first recording of what became a classic tune for him: "My Funny Valentine." Hot playing is also reserved for the uptempo number "Tune Up," which revs with the zoom of both the leader and Trane.
Vibraphonist Cal Tjader is in typically fine form on this live set from 1968. His quintet at the time featured Armand Perazza on congas and pianist Joe Kloess and his repertoire ranged from Afro-Cuban jazz to occasional straightahead tunes. Six of the eight selections on this date are originals by band members or Gary McFarland. Although Tjader had been playing this style of music for 15 years by this time, he still was quite creative and enthusiastic, and is heard throughout in excellent form.