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Three Suites

Duke Ellington

Jazz - Released January 1, 1960 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
One of Duke Ellington's most delightful adaptations of another composer's material is his reworking of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite into jazz; this version is a classic and well worth treasuring. Ellington's reworking of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suites (including In the Hall of the Mountain King) and his tribute to John Steinbeck (Suite Thursday) are also among his better extended works, really utilizing the unique tones of his distinctive sidemen. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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CDkr193.39

Homecoming: Live At The Village Vanguard

Dexter Gordon

Bebop - Released October 9, 1990 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

The acclaim that met Dexter Gordon when he returned to the United States after 14 years in Europe was completely unexpected. Not only did the jazz critics praise the great tenor but there were literally lines of young fans waiting to see his performances. This double CD, recorded during his historic first American tour, improved on the original double LP with the inclusion of previously unreleased versions of "Fried Bananas" and "Body and Soul." Gordon -- in a quintet with trumpeter Woody Shaw, pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Stafford James, and drummer Louis Hayes -- frequently sounds exuberant on these lengthy performances; eight of the ten songs are at least 11 minutes long. The excitement of the period can definitely be felt in this excellent music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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CDkr151.99

Vol. II: At The Jazz Band Ball

Bix Beiderbecke

Traditional Jazz & New Orleans - Released September 25, 1990 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This second installment into Bix's recorded career focuses on the sides he made while working as a member of Paul Whiteman's band. Cutting dates with old friends and bandmates like Frank Trumbauer, Adrian Rollini, Pee Wee Russell, Bill Rank, Eddie Lang, and drummer Chauncey Morehouse, these sides chronicle Bix's activities in the studios away from the "king of jazz" between 1927 and 1928. But don't consider all these sides as some sort of hot jazz oasis away from the more stilted arrangements of the Whiteman band; there's more than enough corn aboard on sides like "Mississippi Mud," two takes of "Clorinda," "Our Bungalow of Dreams," and "There'll Come a Time," several of these tracks clumsily adorned with annoying glee-club vocals. But sides like the two takes of "Three Blind Mice," "Sorry," "Jazz Me Blues," "Royal Garden Blues," and "Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down" show Bix still was full of creative ideas galore and a tone to die for. While conventional wisdom has this period as the start of Bix's musical decline, these sides show that there was much great music left in him. © Cub Koda /TiVo
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CDkr151.99

Unsung Hero

Charlie Rouse

Jazz - Released September 24, 1990 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who would spend all of the 1960s as a member of Thelonious Monk's Quartet, had relatively few opportunities to lead his own sessions. This CD reissue has an LP and a half's worth of material that the instantly recognizable tenor cut for Epic. Well-versed in the swing/bop tradition and a veteran of both the Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie orchestras, Rouse plays thoughtful solos with a pair of conventional rhythm sections on this album (which includes either Billy Gardner or Gildo Mahones on piano, Peck Morrison or Reggie Workman on bass and Dave Bailey or Art Taylor on drums), sticking mostly to standards and avoiding Monk tunes (which he performed on a nightly basis anyway). A fine example of Charlie Rouse's playing outside of the world of Thelonious Monk. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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CDkr151.99

Vol. V: Louis In New York

Louis Armstrong

Jazz - Released September 21, 1990 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The fifth in Columbia's extremely valuable series of vintage Louis Armstrong recordings features the immortal trumpeter-vocalist primarily on his 1929 big-band sides. Armstrong leads a jam session on "Knockin' a Jug," sits in backup groups accompanying singers Seger Ellis and Victoria Spivey, and is showcased on ten influential performances with either the Luis Russell Orchestra or the remnants of the Carroll Dickerson big band. These renditions of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "Mahogany Hall Stomp," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Black and Blue," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Some of These Days," and "When You're Smiling" became quite famous during the period and helped lead the way toward the swing era. In addition to the non-vocal alternate takes of "Some of These Days" and "When You're Smiling," this CD releases for the first time two alternate versions of "After You've Gone." Timeless music. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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CDkr151.99

Jazz Goes To College

The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Jazz - Released March 1, 1954 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Dave Brubeck (piano) began his Columbia Records association on a second album of material that his quartet had cut during its spring of 1954 tour of North American college campuses, Paul and Dave's Jazz Interwoven (1954) being the first. Joining Brubeck are Paul Desmond (alto sax), Bob Bates (bass), and Joe Dodge (drums), whose support of Brubeck is uniformly flawless, ultimately producing what many consider as the most memorable music in the artist's cannon. "Balcony Rock" commences the platter from sides documented at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The heavily improvised tune is formed on an eight-bar blues as Desmond steers the combo via his inspired and lyrical leads. The bouncy "Out of Nowhere," comes via a show at the University of Cincinnati and centers on Brubeck's uncanny timing as his passages quickly vacillate between edgy and atonal to decidedly more fluid and melodic. Again, Desmond is nothing short of exemplary as his sax weaves around the rhythm section. "Le Souk" hails from Oberlin College in Ohio and provides Desmond another strong vehicle. His lines tie Bates' prominent propulsions together with Dodge's solid backbeat and Brubeck's similarly aggressive bashing. This takes place behind Brubeck's emphatic and frenetic pounding and garners considerable appreciation by those in attendance. The sturdy bop supporting Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" is given further fuel thanks to the combination of Desmond's straightforward and unfettered blows and Dodge's punchy interjections. "The Song Is You" is a minor masterpiece as Desmond's efforts resonate his exceptional fluidity. In fact, practically the whole track is marked by his cool, limber phrasing, with Brubeck taking the helm only briefly at the end. The refined and stately reading of "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" reaches far beyond the blues intimated by the sense of forlorn in Brubeck's contributions, thanks to the simple if not austere arrangement. The converse can be said regarding the striking energy of "I Want to Be Happy" as the band leans in hard with a purpose and finesse that can be eloquently summed up in the final phrase as all four members seemingly draw the song to a dynamic and dramatic conclusion. Indeed the genre gets schooled on Jazz Goes to College, a (dare say) perfect representation of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's pre-Time Out (1959) antics in the preferable concert performance setting. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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CDkr151.99

Jazz Party

Duke Ellington

Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Columbia Jazz Masterpieces

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This most unusual Duke Ellington record includes two selections featuring nine symphonic percussionists on timpani, vibes, marimbas, and xylophones. Dizzy Gillespie makes a historic appearance with Ellington's orchestra on "U.M.M.G." (a meeting that should have been repeated often but sadly never was), Jimmy Rushing (Count Basie's former vocalist) sings "Hello Little Girl," and both Johnny Hodges ("All of Me") and Paul Gonsalves ("Ready Go!") have chances to blow. © Scott Yanow /TiVo