Albums

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Bebop - Released September 20, 2011 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 8, 2009 | HighNote Records

The Art & Soul of Houston Person is a unique compilation. The great saxophonist has recorded as a leader for labels such as Prestige, 20th Century, Muse, Savant, and is currently with High Note, where this appears. His tenure at Prestige is the only one longer than this one. As such, this massive, three-disc collection is drawn from a dozen High Note albums cut in as many years. The unifying factor in these cuts is that they were not chosen randomly to include simply stellar performances, but from his wide-ranging interpretations on standards; in addition, they were all recorded by Rudy Van Gelder at his studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. There are 30 performances in all, including four that open disc one which are all new takes on tunes he'd tracked previously, but this time out with his current quartet of pianist John di Martino, bassist Jon Burr, and drummer Jerome Jennings. Some of the other players on this comp include pianists Bill Charlap, Stan Hope, and Richard Wyands, bassists Ray Drummond, Ron Carter, Per-Ola Gadd, Peter Washington, and George Kaye, drummers Grady Tate, Chip White, and Kenny Washington, and guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Bollenback. The readings of these tunes make for a very unified collection because no matter who the personnel are and what gifts they bring to the table, Person has a way of playing songs that not only retain their melody, but their melodic integrity; his is simply not interested in employing them as frameworks for showboat improvisation. His own inventiveness is in how warm and dignified a melodist he is. He sings through the horn with the emotional commitment of Ben Webster, the soul of Gene Ammons, and the studied elegance of Paul Quinichette and Frank Wess. Listeners will have a great time picking their favorites out of this morass of excellent material, but it is safe to say that Person makes virtually all of it compelling -- there isn't a dull second here. Whether it's "Sentimental Journey,"and "All The Things You Are," or "Blue Moon" and "Mack the Knife," these sides are drenched in classy sophistication and down-home soul. Highly recommended. ~ Thom Jurek
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Bebop - Released September 20, 2011 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

This two-disc anthology presents formative Jarrett material from the late '60s and early '70s; it doesn't have the depth, emotional intensity, imagination or charm of his Impulse or ECM releases, but still contains some fine tracks. These include two superb songs with Gary Burton, plus a cut with Blakey's Messengers and some odds and ends from unrelated dates. The second disc includes three 1971 tunes by The Jarrett unit with Haden, Motian and Redman. At this time, the foursome wasn't fully comfortable or used to each other, and there are uncertain, tentative stretches balanced by other periods with all four interacting smoothly. Jarrett is regarded now as an enigma by some and a genius by others; these songs are reminders of a less assured, but in some ways less predictable and wary pianist. ~ Ron Wynn
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Bebop - Released June 16, 2014 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
Trios Live features saxophonist Joshua Redman performing live in concert with his trio on two separate dates. The first concert was recorded in 2009 at New York's Jazz Standard and the second was recorded in 2013 at Washington's Blues Alley. Backing Redman on both of these dates is drummer Gregory Hutchinson; who is then joined by bassist Matt Penman on the Jazz Standard recording, and bassist Reuben Rogers for the Blues Alley performance. As there are no chordal instruments such as piano or guitar in Redman's trio, he is free to explore a wide harmonic color palette and does so here with plenty of exuberance. This is Redman the bluesy, muscular, yet mathematically concise improviser, digging deep into such influences as Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Ornette Coleman. Although Redman has never shied away from progressive, extroverted improvisation, as Trios Live comes on the heels of his reflective, lushly produced 2013 orchestral ballads album, Walking Shadows, it has more in common with his adventurous 2007 studio trio album, Back East, as well as his fearless 2009 double-trios experiment, Compass. Along with three originals, on Trios Live we also get Redman's take on such standards as Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's "Moritat (Mack the Knife)," Jay Livingston and Ray Evans' "Never Let Me Go," and Thelonious Monk's "Trinkle, Tinkle." Also included is Redman's frenetic reworking of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean." Always an engaging improviser, Redman is perhaps at his best in a club setting and Trios Live does nothing to dissuade one of that notion. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released January 23, 1995 | RCA Bluebird

Although the sheer scope of this double-CD roundup of all of Dizzy's Victor sessions places it most obviously within the evolution of bebop, it is absolutely essential to Latin jazz collections as well. Here listeners find the discographical launching pad of Afro-Cuban jazz on December 22, 1947, when Cuban conguero Chano Pozo added his galvanic congas and bongos to Gillespie's big band for the first time on record. One can feel the explosive effect of Pozo's subdivisions of the beat, rhythmic incantations, and grooves on the band's bebop charts. Though the musicians' styles aren't much affected, and Pozo does most of the adapting to bebop rather than vice versa, the foundation has clearly shifted. Alas, aside from recorded live gigs, Pozo only made eight tracks with the band -- four on December 22 and four more eight days later, just before the second Musicians Union recording ban kicked in. Yet even after Pozo's murder the following year, Gillespie continued to expand his Latin experiments, using two Latin percussionists who brought more rhythmic variety to the sound of tunes like "Guarachi Guaro" (later popularized by Cal Tjader as "Soul Sauce") and even commercial ballads like "That Old Black Magic." The reprocessing of these recordings from late in the 78 rpm era through the CEDAR process sounds a bit harsh, though less so than most of RCA's earlier desecrations of vault material using NoNOISE. Even so, this remains the best way to acquire these seminal Latin jazz tracks. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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Bebop - Released October 31, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy

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Bebop - Released April 5, 1990 | Columbia

Musicologist/conductor Gunther Schuller discovered and restored this massive, 130-minute work by the late bassist, then presented it in concert in New York in 1989. Scored for 30-piece jazz orchestra, Epitaph is thought by Schuller to have been worked on between 1940 and 1962. Amazingly enough, six of the players specified in the score appear on this recording. Some of the sections are familiar to Charles Mingus fans from small-band recordings, particularly "Better Get It in Your Soul," "Monk, Bunk, & Vice Versa (Osmotin')," and "Peggy's Blue Skylight," and there was an attempt to record this work for United Artists in 1962. Schuller makes a case for this work as a unified, 18-movement work in his extensive notes to this set. There is definite evidence that this is how Mingus himself thought of it as well. There is plenty of great big-band writing here, and some fine soloists, notably Bobby Watson, Randy Brecker, George Adams, and Wynton Marsalis. Schuller says it best in his notes: "This recording, while not the perfect realization of Epitaph -- can that ever be achieved? -- is an enthusiastic, dedicated, loving recreation, which now at last brings Mingus' magnum opus to life." With luck, this release will send people back to his many excellent recordings. ~ Stuart Kremsky
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Bebop - Released February 3, 2017 | Omnivore Recordings

Booklet
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Bebop - Released April 24, 2009 | Nonesuch

Pat Metheny by himself with an acoustic guitar -- for longtime fans it might not get any better. Always interested in blending jazz with folk and pop, the guitarist does just that, focusing heavily on the folk end of things on One Quiet Night. Featuring a nice afterglow interpretation of Norah Jones' hit "Don't Know Why" and an unexpected reinterpretation of "Ferry Cross the Mersey" which turns the Gerry & the Pacemakers classic into a poignant lament, the album also showcases Metheny as a melodic pop composer. "Song for the Boys" sounds surprisingly like an instrumental take on early-'80s British pop à la the Smiths, while "Last Train Home" brilliantly mixes Metheny's knack for taking simple chord progressions and beautifully tweaking them with odd harmonies. Perhaps a bit light for some straight-ahead jazz fans, listeners interested in thoughtful, folky, jazz-inflected ballads will find this rapturous. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released June 2, 2009 | Nonesuch

This 2009 deluxe package brings together LP and CD versions of the Pat Metheny Trio's well-received 2008 DAY TRIP along with its live-in-Japan prequel EP, TOKYO DAY TRIP. Accompanied by Christian McBride on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums, DAY TRIP was recorded in just one day in 2005 and is widely regarded as one of Metheny's finest recordings. There are no unusual fusion experiments here and no superstar turns, just an utterly fluent contemporary guitar trio playing in a thoroughly modern idiom. A enduring highlight is the plaintive acoustic ballad, "Is This America?," written in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina. As for the Tokyo date, it was actually recorded before the studio session but released at the same time as DAY TRIP in early 2008. Ironically, the live recording sounds larger and more produced than its studio cousin. Likewise, there is no repetition of material; these Tokyo compositions are painted in broader strokes and have a certain rock feeling to them, reminiscent of up-and-coming avant-guitarist Mary Halvorson's striking DRAGON"S HEAD. The availability in one place of both these live and studio dates, and in their respective formats, is a real treasure trove for contemporary jazz and Pat Metheny fans alike.
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Bebop - Released May 23, 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

The last Steps Ahead recording to feature Michael Brecker, this album finds the band exploring the use of electronic instruments and synthesis. Michael Brecker's use of the Akai E.W.I. (electronic wind instrument) is astonishing. ~ Paul Kohler
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Bebop - Released February 15, 2007 | Nonesuch

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Bebop - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

The first studio date of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, with Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette, was recorded and released just a few days before the band took both the European and American festival circuits by storm. First came Europe, which was just getting the disc as the band was tearing up its stages. While the live dates are now the stuff of legend, it's easy to overlook the recordings, but to do so would be a mistake. Dream Weaver is a fully realized project by a band -- a real band -- in which each member has a unique part of the whole to contribute. Jarrett's unusual piano style fits musically with Lloyd's lyricism in a way that it shouldn't. Jarrett was even then an iconoclast, playing harmonic figures from the inside out and relying on counterpoint to create new spaces, not fill them in. (Just listen to "Autumn Sequence," where his solos and his backing harmonics are equally strident and inventive as Lloyd's Eastern explorations of mood and mode.) And then there's the rhythm section of McBee and DeJohnette, whose modal inventions on the intervals make the "Dream Weaver" suite an exercise in open time, allowing all players to wander around inside it and take what they want out. The set closes with a group party jam on "Sombrero Sam," with Lloyd and Jarrett trading eights on a Cuban variation on a fantasia. There were no records like this one by new groups in 1966. ~ Thom Jurek
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Bebop - Released June 17, 2014 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Bebop - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Released by Atlantic in 1971 when the Charles Lloyd Quartet was already history, these performances (from the same concert that resulted in Charles Lloyd in Europe) contain some excellent remakes ("Love In/Island Blues" and "Goin' to Memphis"), Gabor Szabo's "Gypsy '66," Cecil McBee's "Wilpan's," and a fine rendition of "Speak Low." Lloyd (whether on tenor or flute), the already impressive pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist McBee, and drummer Jack DeJohnette are heard in enthusiastic form. This set is even a bit better than the In Europe album due to the stronger (if more familiar) material. ~ Scott Yanow
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Bebop - Released August 25, 2008 | Rhino Atlantic

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Bebop - Released March 29, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Sonny Stitt forged his own approach to playing bebop out of the sound and style of Charlie Parker, so this tribute album was a very logical project. With fine support from guitarist Jim Hall, pianist John Lewis, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Connie Kay, Stitt performs ten Parker compositions, plus Jay McShann's "Hootie Blues"; these renditions of "Now's the Time" and "Yardbird Suite" were previously unreleased. Stitt, who mastered bebop and could play hot licks in his sleep, is in top form on such numbers as "Constellation," "Confirmation," and "Ko-Ko," making this an essential item for straight-ahead jazz fans (although the prolific altoist would record eight other albums in 1963 alone). ~ Scott Yanow
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Bebop - Released June 15, 1958 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res
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Bebop - Released May 3, 2013 | Nonesuch