Jimmy Giuffre may not have gotten his due with American audiences outside very specific kinds of jazz circles, but he was loved and respected by other musicians and the audiences of Europe and Asia. His reputation among those groups of listeners and players is well deserved for the radical, if quiet and unassuming path he walked throughout his seven-decade career. These sides, recorded between 1956 and 1959 with guitarist Jim Hall, his most symbiotic collaborator and foil, are at the heart of his reputation as a pioneer – even more so than his killer early-'60s sides (à la Free Fall) with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow.
The closely affiliated Black Saint and Soul Note labels were established in the 1970s by Italian jazz lover Giacomo Pellicciotti, and together they released some of the most forward-thinking jazz recordings on the market during their four decades of independent existence (both labels were acquired by another company in 2008). In 2011, the labels' new owner began releasing a series of budget-priced box sets documenting the complete output of particular artists, each individual disc housed in an LP-style cardboard sleeve. This one features four albums by reedman and noted avant-cool composer Jimmy Giuffre. The box offers three albums (Dragonfly, Quasar, and Liquid Dancers) by the Jimmy Giuffre 4, which included keyboardist Pete Levin, bassist Bob Nieske, and drummer Randy Kaye.
This unusual two-CD set not only reissues the original LP of the same name but three other rare Verve LP's from the 1950's. Altoist Lee Konitz (on "An Image") is showcased during a set of adventurous Bill Russo arrangements for an orchestra and strings in 1958, pops up on half of Ralph Burns' underrated 1951 classic Free Forms (the most enjoyable of the four sets) and meets up with baritonist Jimmy Giuffre, whose arrangements for five saxes (including the great tenor Warne Marsh) and a trio led by pianist Bill Evans are sometimes equally influenced by classical music and bop.
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. On this interesting LP, Four Brothers Sound refers to the four overdubbed tenor saxes Giuffre uses throughout the session. The effect is similar to that achieved by Bill Evans on his similar effort, Conversations With Myself. The chief differences between the two might be this: where Evans layered wholly different improvisational lines to the same changes, Giuffre generally sticks to ensemble work. Also, Evans was the only performer on his set, while pianist Bob Brookmeyer and guitarist Jim Hall join Giuffre on several cuts.
Why aren't there more recordings like Fly Away Little Bird? Perhaps it's because there aren't more musicians of this stature. The studio reunion of the legendarily experimental Jimmy Giuffre 3 in 1992 was reissued in 2002 on the French Sunnyside label and is a radical departure from anything the trio had done in the past. These studio apparitions of the band are their most seamlessly accessible while being wildly exploratory. In addition to the consummate improvisations and compositions by Giuffre (title track, a redone "Tumbleweed"), the tender meditations by Steve Swallow ("Fits" and "Starts"), and the bottom-register contrapuntal improves by Paul Bley ("Qualude"), this is a trio recording that uses standards such as "Lover Man," a radically and gorgeously reworked "I Can't Get Started," "Sweet and Lovely," and "All the Things You Are" to state hidden textural possibilities inside chromatic harmony. There is never the notion of restraint in the slow, easy, and proactive way these compositions are approached.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. One of the most sublime Jimmy Giuffre albums of all time – and a perfect realization of his piano-less/bass-less trio style! The approach here is really revolutionary, especially for the time – as the group simply features Bob Brookmeyer on trombone, Jim Hall on guitar, and Giuffre on reeds – working with no other rhythm at all, and coming up with this incredible approach to music that's as breathtaking as it is groundbreaking! Notes hang in mid-air, slowly sliding around one another, flying freely from the players, yet still managing to swing in a beautiful way. The titles are a mix of standards and originals – but all tracks sound completely unique, with a sound unlike anything else we can describe.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Jimmy Guiffre 3 features the first version of Giuffre's 3. With guitarist Jim Hall and either Ralph Pena or Jim Atlas on bass, Giuffre is heard on clarinet, tenor, and baritone. The generally introverted music is wistful, has a fair amount of variety, and is melodic while still sounding advanced. In addition to the nine original songs (including the earliest recording of Giuffre's classic folk song "The Train and the River"). An excellent introduction to Jimmy Giuffre's unique music.