This is the one that started it: Mosaic, recorded in 1961, was the first recording of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as a sextet, a setting he kept from 1961-1964. The band's front line was trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Curtis Fuller, and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter; Cedar Walton played piano and Jymie Merritt (a criminally underappreciated talent) was the bassist. Everything on this set was written by the musicians in the band. Walton wrote the burning title track; its blazing tempo and Eastern modes were uncharacteristic of the Jazz Messengers sound, but it swings like mad. Hubbard contributed two pieces to the album, the first of which is the groover "Down Under," with its blues gospel feel…
Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson led his greatest big band during the years that he was signed to Roulette and all of the music from his 13 Roulette LPs (plus 11 previously unissued selections) are included on this deluxe limited-edition ten-CD box set. Although three of the LPs were originally recorded as dance records (and stick close to the melodies), this box as a whole finds Maynard at his peak and with an orchestra that includes such talented soloists as trombonists Slide Hampton and Don Sebesky (both of whom contributed arrangements), altoist Lanny Morgan, the tenors of Carmen Leggio, Willie Maiden, Joe Farrell, and Don Menza, pianists Jaki Byard and Joe Zawinul, and drummer Rufus Jones in addition to the leader. The music is very jazz-oriented and contains more than its share of classic moments, particularly the sessions that resulted in A Message From Newport and Newport Suite. It's highly recommended.
Oliver Nelson was one of the more distinctive arrangers to be active in jazz, the studios, and popular music of the '60s. While most Nelson reissues focus on his always-excellent saxophone playing (whether on tenor or alto), this six-CD set, Argo, Verve and Impulse Big Band Studio Sessions, focuses on Oliver Nelson the arranger-composer-bandleader. He does take solos on some of these dates on tenor, alto,and soprano (his only recorded solos on that instrument), but it his writing that takes center stage.
Centered around the Byrd/Adams Blue Note dates Byrd in Hand, Chant, Royal Flush, The Cat Walk, and Off to the Races, Mosaic's Complete Blue Note Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Studio Sessions finds the Detroit natives at the top of their game during 1959-1962. Writing and performing some of the most original and tight hard bop around, Byrd and Adams led a variety of combos that featured the likes of Herbie Hancock (his first session), Wynton Kelly, Duke Pearson (who also contributed material), Charlie Rouse, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins. From distinct covers ("Lover Come Back to Me") to seamlessly complex originals ("Bronze Dance"), Byrd's pure-toned trumpet and Adams' angular baritone unexpectedly make a perfect match. And beyond a wealth of sides that prove the point, the collection also features – in typically thorough and classy Mosaic fashion – some stunning session photos by Blue Note lensman Francis Wolff and an extensive essay by Bob Blumenthal. A hard bop experience of the highest order.
A killer collection of this unique musical moment from Gerry Mulligan – with material that appeared on the albums Concert Jazz Band, Concert Jazz Band At The Village Vanguard, A Concert In Jazz, Concert Jazz Band On Tour Guest Soloist Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan 63 – plus unissued tracks, too! This four disc-set contains all of the existing Concert Band Sessions from May 1960 to December 1962, and makes available for the first time five previously unreleased performances. Some seven others, whose original tapes are either missing or lost, are notated here for the sake of discography. This was, arguably – after and aside from Mulligan's piano-less quartet with Chet Baker – the most visionary music he ever made. It eclipses his nonet recordings of the 1950s because of the sophisticated charts written by trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, and the writing Mulligan was doing formed the strength of this band – though this is not immediately apparent at the outset of Disc One. The set commences with a version of the band that included six brass, four reeds, Mulligan on baritone (and piano occasionally), bass, and drums.
In 1956, Jonah Jones started to become an unlikely commercial success. A veteran swing trumpeter not known to the general public despite being an exciting player, Jones caught on playing frequently muted solos with a quartet at the Embers in New York. His music often featured a shuffle rhythm and mixed Dixieland, swing and show tunes. This first recording by the quartet (also including pianist George Rhodes, bassist John Browne and drummer Harold Austin) was popular, although it would soon be dwarfed by Jones' successes for Capitol. Highlights of the date, which was also released by Groove and Victor, include "It's All Right With Me," "All of You," "High Society" and "At Sundown."