Other than a Bethlehem album in 1955 and a few obscure titles, all of vibraphonist Joe Roland's recordings as a leader are on this enjoyable CD reissue. Roland, best-known for an early '50s stint with George Shearing's Quintet, was a excellent vibist whose style fell somewhere between Terry Gibbs and Milt Jackson. He is paired in two 1954 quintets with either Freddie Redd (who plays conventional bop) and Wade Legge (sounding at his most eccentric) on piano. However the most memorable set is from 1950 for Roland is joined by guitar (Joe Puma), bass, drums and a string quartet. The writing for the strings (which is uncredited) is quite inventive and, although the strings do not solo, they sound very much like a jazz ensemble. It is particularly interesting to hear this instrumentation playing "Half Nelson," "Dee Dee's Dance" and Roland's original "Sally Is Gone"; guest singer Paula Castle does a fine job on the haunting "Love Is Just a Plaything." Recommended.
THE COMPLETE REMASTERED RECORDINGS ON BLACK SAINT & SOUL NOTE is a monographic box-set collection aimed at recounting the most beautiful chapters that revolutionised the history of jazz. This new series was launched in March 2010 with the simultaneous release of four box-sets, including albums by some of the artists who participated in the success of the outstanding labels. A philological work, beginning with the original recordings on multi-track master tapes, patiently integrally remastered paying strict attention to the sound quality.
This album, recorded the same two days as Man Here Plays Fine Piano, is the equal of its companion. Five pieces are taken as piano solos by Don Ewell (including Jelly Roll Morton's "Chicago Breakdown" and "Just You, Just Me"), "Blue Turning Grey over You" has Ewell joined by drummer Minor Hall and the remaining five numbers are quartet explorations by Ewell, Hall, bassist Pops Foster and the fine New Orleans-style clarinetist Darnell Howard; of the latter tunes "Wolverine Blues" and "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" are most memorable.
For over two years, organist Chris Hazelton and his soulful septet, the Boogaloo 7, have held down a wildly successful residency every Friday night at Kansas City's acclaimed Green Lady Lounge. Expanding on the funky sounds popularized by Jimmy McGriff, Charles Earland, Lou Donaldson, and others, this group brings a mixture of original tunes and covers, both old and new, that excite and move audiences week after week. With two in-demand 45rpm singles already under their belt, the logical next step was a full length album, and this one catches them in their element: live at the club they call home.
Experimental at the time, this is a difficult listen years later. Recorded live at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival, this album features some challenging compositions by pianist Mike Nock. Violinist Michael White shows why he was a potential star, but this heavily electrified jazz is too abstract for most. The Fourth Way was a pioneering jazz-rock fusion group formed in the late 60s, before the horizons of the genre narrowed, and fusion became a perjorative term. The group was formed in the heady days of the San Francisco music era, comprised of pianist Mike Nock and violinist Michael White (both from the John Handy group), with bassist Ron McLure (from the Charles Lloyd quartet) and drummer Eddie Marshall.
Stride pianist Don Ewell made three albums for Good Time Jazz during 1956-57 and all are quite enjoyable. This CD reissues the first of his LPs (great title!) and features Ewell on five solos and seven pieces with a trio that also includes clarinetist Darnell Howard and drummer Minor Hall. Ewell is in top form and the many highlights include "I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me," Howard's "Bush Street Scramble," "You Took Advantage of Me" and "My Honey's Lovin' Arms.
The original Chico Hamilton Quintet was one of the last significant West Coast jazz bands of the cool era. Consisting of Buddy Collette on reeds (flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor), guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Carson Smith, and the drummer/leader, the most distinctive element in the group's identity was cellist Fred Katz. The band could play quite softly, blending together elements of bop and classical music into their popular sound and occupying their own niche. This six-CD, limited-edition box set from 1997 starts off with a Hamilton drum solo from a 1954 performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet; it contains three full albums and many previously unreleased numbers) by the original Chico Hamilton band and also has quite a few titles from the second Hamilton group (which has Paul Horn and John Pisano in the places of Collette and Hall).