A great Capitol moment from pianist Paul Smith – an artist who really cut some of his best material ever for the label ! The Smith sound is at the height of its powers here in the late 50s — kind of a blend of jazz and more easy-going pianistic modes — often stretched out with lots of flourishes by Smith on the keys, but never the too-flowery styles used by some of his contemporaries ! Instead, Paul keeps things nice and lean — always enough to be plenty swinging in all the right moments — with quartet help from Barney Kessel on guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass, and Stan Levey on drums.
Movie themes, along with songs from Broadway, have long been fodder for jazz musicians. This United Artists LP features Jerome Richardson leading his working quintet during a live engagement, though the venue is unidentified. The extended workout of Duke Jordan's "No Problem" (from the film Les Liaisons Dangereuses) showcases Richardson's robust baritone sax and Les Spann on flute, with the leader adding a tag at the end on piccolo. Richardson switches to tenor sax and Spann to guitar for a rather brisk arrangement of "Moon River." "Tonight" (from West Side Story) is a bit unusual in that it features both musicians on flute.
A holy grail of jazz – Roy Ayers' first album as a leader, and a near-lost session that's simply sublime! The record was cut at the same time that Roy was working in LA with pianist Jack Wilson – and it's got an approach that's a bit similar to some of the Wilson/Ayers sessions for Atlantic, Blue Note, and Vault – but with a marked difference here in the presence of Curtis Amy, who plays some incredible tenor and soprano sax on the session – arcing out over the modal lines set up by the vibes and piano, and shading in the record with a much deeper sense of soul! Amy plays on about half the album's tracks – all of which are standout modal tunes that preface the MPS/Saba sound by a number of years, and which we'd easily rank as some of the greatest jazz recorded anywhere in the 60s.
A great album recorded in 1963 for Atlantic – one of our favorite ever! Jack Wilson's one of our favorite piano players, and we rave about him all the time on these pages – and one of the reasons why we love him so much is that he was often accompanied by Roy Ayers, who started out his career playing vibes in his group! The pair together are a dream, and this album is arguably their best effort – filled with moody modal cuts, and lots of lyrical interplay that hits these beautiful high points, then dives into pits of darkness. Titles include "Harbor Freeway", "De Critifeux", "Corcovado", "Jackleg", and "Nirvana & Dana".
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Somethin' Sanctified is an album by American jazz trombonist, composer and arranger Slide Hampton which was released on the Atlantic label in 1961. In 1959, trombonist Slide Hampton was known mainly for the excellent arrangements he did for the Maynard Ferguson Band, so it was no surprise that he formed his octet band and began making a serious bid for recognition as a top jazz artist and arranger, recording his first album for the small label Strand. His impact was immediate and in 1960 Slide signed for Atlantic resulting in two studio albums, Sister Salvation and Somethin Sanctified, which were the octets first for the label.
Reissue with the latest 2015 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Pianist Denny Zeitlin is sporting a beard on the cover of this fourth album for Columbia Records – and his music here definitely reflects a bit of a change from his earlier cleaner-cut image! Denny steps a bit outside at times – never to much so to make the album a session of avant jazz, but definitely showing the listener at the start that he's able to stretch out in the same way as some of the more adventurous pianists of his generation – yet really sound best as a master of lyrical understatement, as on his previous few records! Zeitlin's command of chords is wonderful – these blocks of color and subtle sound in his hands – inspired by Bill Evans, but taken in a whole new direction – and set up here in two different trios, with either Charlie Haden or Joe Halpin on bass, and Oliver Johnson or Jerry Granelli on drums. The real star of the show is always Denny.
Guitarist Gabor Szabo's debut as a leader (after an important stint with the Chico Hamilton Quintet) is surprisingly successful. The reason this LP is a bit of a surprise is that the repertoire (in addition to two originals apiece by the leader and Gary McFarland) has a few unlikely songs by the Beatles ("Yesterday" and "If I Fell") and Burt Bacharach (including "Walk On By"). Usually jazz adaptations of rock songs in the 1960s are lightweight, but Szabo's original sound, the unusual instrumentation (two or three guitars, Sadao Watanabe on flute, Gary McFarland on marimba, bass, drums and percussion) and McFarland's clever arrangements uplift the music. The playing time at 35 minutes is a bit brief, but the performances are better than expected.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. The 1960's represented a very interesting time for musicians of all genres; three particular reasons began a trend for future generations of musical artists. The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones were the 3 reasons which permanently altered the musical landscape and basically made it impossible for stars of the past to remain economically viable in the present. The only 2 exceptions to the rule of course were Mel Tormé and Frank Sinatra.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Clare Fischer's big-band release was only briefly available as an Atlantic LP but it has finally reappeared in the CD era after a brief appearance under another title on LP some ten years after its first release. Fischer's potent originals and first-rate arrangements bring out the best in his musicians, which include Warne Marsh and Conte Candoli (featured on "Miles Behind"), Bill Perkins on a work trumpeter Stewart Fischer specially composed for the baritone saxophonist ("Calamus"), and alto saxophonist Gary Foster featured with Marsh on Lennie Tristano's "Lennie's Pennies."
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Those only familiar with Frank Rosolino’s trombone work may be surprised to find out that he also dabbled in vocals as well. Rosolino was highly regarded as a trombonist, especially on the West Coast scene, but seldom recorded as a leader; Free For All on the Specialty label is probably his best known work. Turn Me Loose features Rosolino doing double duty as soloist and vocalist, a la Chet Baker, and one could judge solely by the cover that this is an entertaining record by a man who is marching to the beat of a different drummer.