The new Stax Classics series celebrates the iconic label's greatest stars, offering new liner notes, label discographies and 12 choice cuts from the artists' Stax catalog. This collection highlights one of the most influential bluesmen in history, Albert King, who single-handedly ushered blues into the modern era by combining his direct, urgent Mississippi blues style with contemporary soul rhythms, continually redefining the state of the genre. During his nine years on the label, the prolific artist released dozens of innovative hits and became one of the few blues artists to break through to the young, white rock crowd, influencing many of the biggest rock stars of the 60s and 70s, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. This album includes such classics as 'Crosscut Saw,' 'Born Under a Bad Sign,' and 'Breaking Up Somebody's Home.'
Louis Armstrong's tenure as second cornetist to the great King Oliver is one of jazz history's legendary apprenticeships, on par with the one Miles Davis served with Charlie Parker or Stephane Grappelli's with Django Reinhardt. Sadly, only a handful of recordings survive from this formative period in Armstrong's career. This LP features 18 of King Oliver's 1923 recordings with Armstrong, as well as a bonus appendix consisting of seven tracks recorded in 1924 by the Red Onion Jazz Babies under Armstrong's sole leadership (and featuring, on one number, a very young Alberta Hunter). The performances are as red-hot as you'd expect, and include two King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton duets.
Pianist Michel Camilo made his recording debut as a leader with this session for the Japanese King label. Camilo was anxious to show everything, and did so on such cuts as "Thinking Of You" and the title track. He ripped through phrases, added powerhouse chords and rippling lines, switched tempos and meters, and moved from a hard bop feel to an Afro-Latin groove in the middle of a piece. His intensity and energy were impressive, but at times he tried too much and stumbled getting back to the melody…It wasn't an unflawed debut, but Camilo showed that he would be a pianist to be reckoned with down the line.