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The Ronnell Bright Trio - S/titled

Ronnell Bright was in Paris for just a simple stopover during the European tour that Sarah Vaughan was doing to represent the United States at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels.

This rare date was cut at Studio des Dames in Paris on June 5, 1958, for the French Polydor label and it’s a stripped-down trio date with a nicely relaxed feel — one that has Ronnell Bright really opening up on the keys, in ways you don’t always hear on his material with singers. This session took place in a certain euphoria on Thursday of Corpus Christi, and you can feel the joy and dynamics in the music. The other players in the trio are Richard Davis on bass and the English drummer Art Morgan.

Roy Haynes Quartet - Out Of The Afternoon Roy Haynes Quartet - Out Of The Afternoon A 1962 set from the Roy Haynes Quartet – which, at the time, consisted of Haynes, Henry Grimes on bass, Tommy Flanagan on piano and Roland Kirk on saxes, manzello, stritch and flutes. The album is a delightful mix of technique in arrangement and performance, with all of the musicians delivering terrific work – Haynes' drumming is absolutely wonderful here, lightly dancing around the other instruments. Flanagan's piano playing is equally light and delicate, and Grimes' bass work is outstanding. There's not much that can be said about Kirk's sax and flute work that hasn't already been said a hundred times. Impulse
Sammy Davis & Count Basie - Our Shining Hour Sammy Davis & Count Basie - Our Shining Hour They’d performed together several times onstage, but not until Quincy Jones came up with these brilliant arrangements in 1974 did Sammy Davis and Count Basie finally work together in the studio. Better than with either Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra, the relaxed swing of Sammy Davis harmonized perfectly with the light swing of Count Basie and his crew. A few assertive notes on the keyboard and the band begins to swing; a snap of the fingers and Sammy Davis’ whole body begins to swing. Just listen to the “New York City Blues” for a wonderful example. In “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” listen to the voice melting with the band as though it were a musical instrument. “She’s A Woman” is first-class entertainment and the tap dancing in “Bill Basie, Won’t You Please Come Home” is quite unsurpassed. Verve
Sarah Vaughan - Sarah Vaughan

"Wowza...that's all I have to say. This is one heck of a stunning album. With the likes of the great Clifford Brown on trumpet and some other fine accompanists, this record just blew me away when I first heard it...There is absolutely nothing you can do but devote your complete attention to the artists once your stylus hits the groove...A first class treat!" - Richard Foster, Hi-Fi+, Issue 37

"The Jazz World, instrumentally and vocally, may be said to be split into two camps. There are the followers and the followed; the imitators and the inimitable. True, there are many who have managed to graduate out of the first class into the second (didn’t Dizzy Gillespie once sound just like Roy Eldridge?), but in the case of Sarah Vaughan it can safely be assumed that this talent has been sui generis from the very beginning; that the Newark neighbors who heard her first infant cries in 1924 could tell immediately when it was Vaughan who was wailing…It is doubtful whether anyone, including Sarah herself, is likely to be able to find any more completely satisfying representation of her work, or any more appropriate musical setting, than are offered in this LP. These sides are sure to rank among the foremost achievements of her decade as a recording artist." - from the original liner notes. EmArcy

Sarah Vaughan - Sassy Sarah Vaughan - Sassy
Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday are rightly considered today as two of the most influential jazz singers - and the third in this famous line-up is Sarah Lois Vaughan (*1924), fondly known as "Sassy".

Right at the beginning of her career, Sassy sang (and also played the piano!) in the orchestras led by Earl Hines and Billy Eckstein, but in 1945 she started on a career as a soloist in the main. Her recordings of predominantly slow, popular ballads - made over the five years (1949-1954) that she recorded for Columbia Records - resulted in her breakthrough. Sarah Vaughan had reached stardom.

During her Mercury years (1954-1959), her fame grew and she had well and truly "arrived". But she was a woman with two souls: on the one hand she worked with such full-blooded jazz musicians as Clifford Brown and Cannonball Adderley, and on the other hand she continued to record highly successful albums with "easy-listening" orchestras, such as Sassy, recorded in 1956 with Hal Mooney and his orchestra. Easy listening, however, certainly is not to be put on a par with shallowness, as is well proved by Mooney's laid-back, tasteful arrangements which allow Sarah Vaughan once more to demonstrate just how capable she is of expressing the contrasting moods and varying atmospheres of each and every song. The range of her now fully mature voice, with its truly instrumental flexibility and versatility, will never cease to amaze. Mercury

Shelly Manne/Bill Evans - Empathy Shelly Manne/Bill Evans - Empathy This album came about through a fortuitous convergence of circumstances. Shelly Manne & His Men were appearing at New York's Village Vanguard, sharing the bill with the Bill Evans Trio. Getting Riverside's permission to let the pianist participate, Creed Taylor set up a session at Rudy Van Gelder's studio with Evans and Manne sharing top billing. Manne's bass player, Monty Budwig, made up the trio. This was a busman's holiday for Evans, who was freed from the musical parameters he had set for his then-current trio. The result is that his playing seemed lighter, freer, and more relaxed than it had for a while. The album kicks off with a jaunty version of Irving Berlin's "The Washington Twist" from the unsuccessful Mr. President with Budwig sharing the honors with Evans as much as Manne. Manne spends most of his time driving Evans into more diminished and sharper playing than was usually Evans' wont. Another relatively unfamiliar Berlin work, "Let's Go Back to the Waltz," gives full reign to Evans' lyricism. The longest tune on the set is an audacious, almost lampooned version of "With a Song in My Heart" with light chordal phrasing that pretty much characterized much of the tone coming from this session. Listening to these three, it's clear that everyone was having a good time and simply enjoying being relieved of their duties with their regular combos, even if for just one day. Empathy — Dave Nathan. Verve
Sonny Stitt & The Oscar Peterson Trio - Sonny Stitt Sits In With,, Sonny Stitt & The Oscar Peterson Trio - Sonny Stitt Sits In With The Oscar Peterson Trio "This record combines together a complete session that Sonny Stitt (doubling on alto and tenor) did with the 1959 Oscar Peterson Trio (which includes the pianist/leader, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen) and three titles from 1957 with Peterson, Brown, guitarist Herb Ellis and drummer Stan Levey. The music very much has the feel of a jam session and, other than a themeless blues, all of the songs are veteran standards. Highlights on this fine effort include 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love,' 'The Gypsy,' 'Scrapple From The Apple,' 'Easy Does It' and 'I Remember You.' Lots of cooking music." – All Music Guide. Verve
Sonny Rollins - East Broadway Rundown Sonny Rollins - East Broadway Rundown Produced by Bob Thiele in 1966 at Rudy Van Gelder's famed studios in New Jersey (Coltrane's favorite studio hang-out), this Sonny Rollins recording is known not only for Rollins' tenor saxophone work but the studio players who supported his performances. The roster includes Elvin Jones, drums; Jimmy Garrison, bass and Freddie Hubbard, trumpet – coincidentally, John Coltrane's rhythm section. Impulse
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz and Gilberto Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz and Gilberto Two names spring to mind upon hearing the words jazz and samba , namely those of Stan Getz and João Gilberto. But really one should be thinking of Antonio Carlos Jobim, who, with his composition from 1958 Chega de saudade, first created the type of Brazilian samba that is known today as bossa nova. It was with one of Jobim’s songs, Desafinado, that the bossa nova began its triumphant conquest of the USA. In 1962, Stan Getz made the work widely known when he recorded the number, together with Charlie Byrd, on his album Jazz Samba. It was this recording, along with Focus (1961), which was responsible for Getz’s definitive comeback in the USA at that same time. Jazz Samba opened the floodgates to a new musical vogue, and although cool jazz had been swept aside by hard bop, the reserved and melancholy touch of Getz’s style once again became all the rage. It is really not at all surprising, therefore, that the album Getz/Gilberto, recorded in March 1963 for the Verve label, was a winner right from the very start, bringing together as it did the two godfathers of samba Jobim and Gilberto with their American brother Getz. This music is like a pleasantly warm bath whose water is perfumed with essential oil, or like a mild summer night bathed in golden moonlight. The songs, all of them now classics in their own right, are filled with the joy of life, peace and harmony. Verve
Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfa - Jazz Samba Encore! Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfa - Jazz Samba Encore! When Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfa surprised the Americans with their first samba recording they did not imagine that this was to be their biggest success together. With such titles such as "Desafinado" and "One Note Samba", Brazilian pop music stormed the borders. So popular was the music that voices cried for more - and the VERVE producers satisfied the fans with Jazz Samba Encore. The music contained in this album delved somewhat deeper into the heart of Brazilian melodies. Bonfa and Jobim, the composers and famous guitarists, picked up their instruments and both they and their soloists, - Maria Toledo in particular proves herself a maestra of her country's music -, proceeded to delight their fans with their seemingly effortless music-making. Although he was not Brazilian and only later became a samba expert, Stan Getz fits amazingly well into this ensemble. His full tenor voice even in the upper regions and his rippling legato are wholly characteristic of his art. A delightful sound and natural rhythm - above all, rhythm! - make this record a "must" for every party. Verve
Stan Getz - Stan Getz with guest artist Laurindo Almeida Stan Getz - Stan Getz with guest artist Laurindo Almeida Stan Getz' fifth bossa nova LP was not a great sales success in the Sixties. The compositions were not at fault, nor was the somewhat forceful tone of the saxophone. More likely it was because the critics no longer regarded "New Wave" as new, and maybe they (unjustly) missed the melancholia of Astrud Gilberto's singing on this album. Yet the voice of Brazilian singer Laurindo Almeida is full of spontaneity and inspiration, it is assured, full of freedom and expressiveness, which is not often found in such an amalgamation of jazz and Brazilian drive. Almeida composed the musically strongest number on this compilation and added to that he is also a virtuoso classical guitar player. Getz performs highly expressive solos but remains jazzy and favors long drawn-out improvisations. Verve
The Oscar Peterson Trio - Night Train The Oscar Peterson Trio - Night Train In this classic album - the crowning achievement in his greatest year - Peterson doesn't just interpret these songs - he immortalizes them. The well known title track is presented here with an additional take, and there are five other previously unissued tracks. Verve
Theolonious Monk- Its Monk Time With its three compositions by Thelonious Monk, one might call this LP from 1964 “3 Standards and 3 Monks”. The 'High Priest' of bebop had reached a further pinnacle in his career and performed with his fantastic, skilful and well-rehearsed quartet at numerous festivals and concerts. As if in a dream, the musicians penetrate the apparently simple yet rhythmically complicated themes, interrupted again and again by Monk’s solo escapades on the piano. On the stage, Monk often stood up and jigged around the piano like a lumbering dancing bear, with one of his distinctive hats on his head; he plonks down on the piano stool after the Charlie Rouse solo; his enormous feet tap back and forth to the beat; he constantly fiddles with the ring on his finger; and he creates the most wonderful improvisations ever heard with his 'false' fingering.
Calling all jazz fans: Listen to Thelonious Monk, and you will have a ball – most especially if you put this super disc with the promising title "It’s Monks Time" on your turntable!
Various Artists - Jazz At the Philharmonic in Europe Various Artists - Jazz At the Philharmonic in Europe Never re-released, these four LPs have become true collector's items. Now - after almost 50 years - they are once again available for your pure enjoyment.

The number of jazz fans who heard the live concert series Jazz At The Philharmonic must be fairly diminished by now. Nevertheless, these sessions still enjoy legendary status in the 21st century. The concert promoter Norman Granz took his giants of jazz to Europe in the mid-Fifties. Oscar Peterson, Illinois Jacquet and Ella Fitzgerald were the great names, which caused fans in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and Brussels to leap from their seats with enthusiasm, and in November 1960 they were followed by the encounters between young and old, and between white and black soloists. At the concert on November 21 in the packed Konserthuset in Stockholm, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Don Byas met up with Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderley, Leo Wright and J.J. Johnson - the stylistic link being provided by the two trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie. The themes opened up new perspectives too: "Bernie's Tune," "Kush," "All The Things You Are" and "Trotting" are clearly audible as real challenges for the old hands. And the younger musicians - several of them who were counted among the avant-garde - follow admirably in their footsteps: for example Stan Getz yet free from bossa nova clichés; Cannonball Adderley, full of soul and a funky sound; and a groovy and grooving J.J. Johnson. Although the JATP jam sessions had undoubtedly reached their zenith in the Forties, the recordings made in November 1960 for Norman Granz's Verve label offer a wealth of great listening and points of discussion. (4 LP Set). Verve
Weather Report - Tale Spinnin' Weather Report - Tale Spinnin'

This would probably frighten off listeners in today's mass market. But back in those days CBS was satisfied with the group's sound being somewhat similar to the Miles Davis Combo and offered them a recording contract without carrying out the usual sound check. The magic potion "Bitches Brew", which Zawinul and Wayne Shorter had conjured up with Miles Davis, was promising exhilarating new things to come.

The heart-stopping mix of motivic fixed points and exciting improvisations, »the sketchy melodies, all that a synthesizer and other similar electronic devices could offer, combined with a Milky Way of rhythms (Der Spiegel) was the pathway down which Weather Report went — without ever becoming pure routine. Their fifth album, Tale Spinnin', is captivating for its wealth of distinctive, often warm, synthesized sounds, which are further enhanced by Wayne Shorter's bright, twangy soprano saxophone, lending it a jazzy aura. To be sure, this gripping jazz fusion never progresses steadily all the time, but takes up snatchy, though seemingly familiar, melodic ingredients and combines them to produce a new mixture. The exception is "Badia," however — completely different: A quietly flowing and totally rhythmic ethnic work that today would be classified as World Music.

Wes Montgomery - Down Here On The Ground Wes Montgomery - Down Here On The Ground
Sales figures of the first two LPs for World Pacific Records were minimal at the time when Wes Montgomery's first band was a purely family affair called "The Montgomery Brothers". From California, Wes travelled eastwards, and the Riverside label produced his first jazz recordings. But it was with the label Verve and Creed Taylor, who had risen to the position of producer, with whom he made his true success story.

Let's talk money! Creed Taylor left Verve and took several musicians with him, including Montgomery. The CTI-Concept with strings, flutes and oboes led to 'easy-listening jazz' - but in Wes Montgomery's case it was sheer delight. Film themes, bossa nova and themes from the world of pop created a mixture that forced one to concentrate on the fine nuances and rhythmic detail of this new concept. Flights of double octaves, finely chiselled rhythms, blockchords, and a highly individual sound which has yet to be equalled are especially effective in well-known pop songs such as "I Say A Little Prayer" (just try this number to whet your appetite!) and in the blues composition "Goin’ On To Detroit". A&M

Wynton Kelly Trio - Smokin' At The Half Note Wynton Kelly Trio - Smokin' At The Half Note An American jazz critic once said that Wes Montgomery was the "best thing that could happen to a guitar". Grand words, one might say quickly racking one's brains to come up with other great names. But after only a few minutes of listening to this live recording made in 1965 at the Half Note in New York, you will forget your brain-storming and concentrate on the unfused performance of this brilliant guitarist and the superb Wynton Kelly Trio. The very first number on this album, which despite its tongue-in-cheek title "No Blues" is full of the spirit of black jazz, makes plain Montgomery's unique talents. Highly-polished arching melodies, sharply-dissonant chordal runs and free improvisation displaying brilliant technique are the characteristics of this wizard of the "semi-acoustic" guitar. The quartet's thrilling mixture of Blues, Latin and Soul is as fresh, modern and compelling as it was 30 years ago. This is music which gets down to the nitty-gritty, is always cool and straight with no fuss or frills getting in the way: the message comes over clearly - and it makes the blood surge through one's veins! The almost tangible atmosphere of the recording venue and the pure sound quality further enhance this collector's item and guarantee a jazz happening of the very highest order.

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