Mahalia Jackson rewrote the rules for singing gospel in the late '40s by bringing blues phrasing and other secular elements into sacred song, and with her powerful alto, she sang with an immediacy and conviction that are still startling when they break out of the speakers some 30 years after her death. This two-disc set collects tracks from Jackson's long stay at Columbia Records, as well as a few tracks from her previous label, Apollo Records, where she recorded from 1947 until signing with Columbia in 1954.
Brother Joe May was the male counterpart to Mahalia Jackson, a full-voiced tenor of amazing range and power. Although he recorded prolifically for the Nashboro label for the bulk of his career, this 27-track collection brings together his earliest recordings for the Specialty label. Although many of these tracks feature him working with the Sallie Martin Singers, Sister Wynona Carr, the Pilgrim Travelers, and his daughter Annette May, the real star of the show is Brother Joe, whose voice simply soars no matter what the surroundings.
This 2014 BGO two-fer pairs 1972's Blue River and Stages: The Lost Album, largely recorded in 1972 but released in 1991. It's a nice pairing, containing Andersen's acclaimed Columbia debut and the record he cut for the label immediately afterward, a record the label didn't release until two decades later. Andersen made good records before and good records after, but these two albums are arguably his peak and it's nice to have them together on a two-fer.
50th Anniversary Commemoration Edition of the TORMÉ-PAICH legendary sessions. A milestone in the history of vocal jazz, with fully illustrated booklet (rare & unpublished photos). The definitive edition. Fascinated by the sound of the 1953 Gerry Mulligan Ten-tette, Mel Tormé had always felt that these same patterns, re-worked for the proper vocalist, could blend voice and instrument to the mutual satisfaction of both. In 1956, this idea became a reality. The task of selecting musicians who could produce this sound was given to the versatile pianist-arranger Marty Paich who, in fact, co-featured with Mel on these recordings.