There are many Gene Ammons recordings currently available on CD in Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics, since the versatile tenorman was a longtime Prestige recording artist. Unlike his earlier jam sessions, this particular outing finds Ammons as the only horn, fronting a talented rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor, and Ray Barretto on congas). Ammons explores standards (including a near-classic version of "Canadian Sunset"), blues, and ballads in his usual warm, soulful, and swinging fashion. This is a fine outing by one of the true "bosses" of the tenor.
Looked at in the cold light of day and from some years' distance, Gene Loves Jezebel would seem like the last band whose work would stand the test of time. Weird thing, though – in all their "everything goes" exuberance, from abstract goth wailing to balls-out Sunset Strip rock, the Aston brothers, much like their labelmates in the Cult, made everything work somehow. Not all the time, certainly, but Voodoo Dollies wisely draws on the best and biggest hits of the group, not to mention a couple of rarer items for the hardcore fanbase, to make an enjoyable career overview (certainly better than Some of the Best of Gene Loves Jezebel). Following a straight chronological order and enjoying the usual high quality of Beggars Banquet remastering, the 18-track collection is a fine treat. Besides the obvious numbers like "Desire (Come and Get It)," "The Motion of Love" (appearing here in a single mix), and "Jealous," the less well-known songs help to really flesh out the band's freaked-out, glammed-up appeal.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Although drummer Shelly Manne was closely associated with the Contemporary label for many years, he also recorded for other companies after Contemporary slowed down operations. This particular Koch CD reissues a set that was cut for Atlantic. The 1966 version of Shelly Manne's Men (altoist Frank Strozier, trumpeter Conte Candoli, pianist Russ Freeman, and bassist Monty Budwig) played in a similar style to his 1950s groups. Only Strozier hints (and only slightly in spots) at the avant-garde explorations then going on elsewhere. The quintet performs three group originals, an obscurity, "The Breeze and I," and "Margie" (which was arranged by Jimmy Rowles). Fine hard bop music.