Buddy Rich, the most remarkable drummer to ever play jazz, can easily have his career divided into three. During 1937-1945 he was a notable sideman with big bands including those of Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey. In 1966 he formed his own successful orchestra that capitulated him to his greatest fame. During the 20 years in between, Rich led short-lived bebop big bands, a variety of combos, toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic, recorded with all-star groups, and had stints with the orchestras of Dorsey and Harry James. This seven-CD set draws its material from Rich's second period and it can also be divided into two. The first half has Rich recording for producer Norman Granz in a variety of combos.
Count Basie defined the jazz meaning of swing. His band could get more bounce from a line that any other. And though his soloists were never of highest dazzle, they always fit the program. These live recordings from 1959, 1961 and 1962 capture the Count at his comfort. Mosaic has done its usual fine job with them on eight CDs. Roulette itself has reissued 12 of the cuts on a single CD entitled ``Basie in Sweden,`` for those who just want a taste.
The Complete CBS Buck Clayton Jam Sessions (extremely rare & limited 1993 US 32-track Mosaic audiophile 8-LP box set) is a superlative package contains all the jam session recordings for CBS, plus alternate takes and originals restored to their full length, with soloists including Joe Newman, Ruby Braff, Urbie Green, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman & more. Housed in a beautifully presented textured outer black box with front pasted picture cover, complete with an informative 20-page LP sized booklet, featuring stunning black & white session photographs and extensive liner notes).
The Complete Blue Note/UA/Roulette Recordings of Thad Jones is a wonderful limited-edition three-disc box set, containing everything the trumpeter recorded for the labels in the late '50s. Jones was a fantastic hard bop trumpeter, and the set captures him in all of his glory, making it of interest to serious hard bop connoisseurs.
Issued in 1970 as his second album for Creed Taylor's CTI label, Hubert Laws' Afro-Classic is a classic for the manner in which Laws, with brilliant assistance from arranger Don Sebesky, melded the jazz and classical worlds – not to mention pop – into a seamless whole. Laws was the first artist signed to Taylor's imprint. His debut for the label, Crying Song, won critical notice, but it was Afro-Classic that established a new role for the flute in contemporary jazz. Herbie Mann may have been the first, but Laws explored jazz and all the sound worlds that informed it – especially in the electric domain – with the kind of grace and innovative vision that made him a mainstay.
Benny Goodman took some stylistic chances during his 11-year tenure with Capitol. He listened closely to, then flirted with, bebop during this time, not altering his own swing-based playing but inserting it into a bop framework. He also played traditional swing in various small groups. The sessions covered on this most recent Mosaic four-disc (six-album) set were originally issued on a number of 10" and 12" albums, as well as the CDs BG in Hi Fi and The Benny Goodman Story, a Japanese issue.
One of the staples in the Count Basie discography, April in Paris is one of those rare albums that makes its mark as an almost instant classic in the jazz pantheon. April in Paris represents the reassembly of the original Count Basie orchestra that define swing in the 1930s and 1940…