CHET BAKER
          Picture of Heath

               Recording Date:
                   October 31, 1956

                   Chet Baker        TP 
                   Curtis Counce    B 
                   Larance Marable D 
                   Art Pepper        AS
                   Carl Perkins       P 
                   Phil Urso           TS


Review by Lindsay Planer
The seven sides that make up the all-star outing Picture of Heath (1961) might be familiar to fans of co-leads Chet Baker (trumpet) or Art Pepper (alto saxophone), as Playboys (1956). Perhaps owing to trademark-related issues with the men's magazine of the same name, Picture of Heath became the moniker placed on the 1961 Pacific Jazz vinyl re-release, as well as the 1989 compact disc. Regardless of the designation on the label, the contents gather selections recorded on October 31, 1956 — the third encounter between Baker and Pepper. Backing Baker and Pepper are the sizable quartet of Carl Perkins (piano) [note: not to be confused with the '50s and '60s rockabilly star], Larance Marable (drums), Curtis Counce (bass), and Phil Urso (tenor sax). Although Pepper supplied "Minor Yours" and "Tynan Time," the majority of the material can be traced to Heath Brothers trio member, Jimmy Heath (sax/flute), who was himself an acclaimed instrumentalist, composer, and arranger. The aggregate provide essential interpretations of his work, adding their own unique earmarks on to what is arguably the best and most playful interaction involving Baker and Pepper. Notable occurrences can be heard on "Picture of Heath" where Pepper sonically salutes Thelonious Monk, quoting recognizable passages from "Rhythm-A-Ning" on a number of occasions — initially during a fierce exchange with Baker on the title track and then again prominently in the commencement of the aforementioned Pepper composition "Tynan Time." One of the more striking elements coalescing the partnership between the combo's soloists is the seemingly innate abilities that Baker and Pepper share as they propel themselves through the limber lines of "For Minors Only." The level of musicianship is evident as Counce, Perkins, and Marable effortlessly banter with youthful verve. Both the studied bop enthusiast and average jazz lover will find much to enjoy and revisit on Picture of Heath.

 Review by Lindsay Planer
These Halloween 1956 sides originally appeared as Playboys in 1961 on Pacific Jazz. Myth and rumor persist that, under legal advice from the publisher of a similarly named magazine, the collection would have to be retitled. When the CD version of the same material was issued in the early '90s, it had been accurately christened Picture of Heath — as more than half of the tracks are Jimmy Heath compositions. Since then, a CD version sporting the original provocative '50s pinup cover and the name Playboys has also surfaced. Regardless of title, however, the music is the absolute same. These are the third sessions to feature the dynamic duo of Art Pepper (alto sax) and Chet Baker (trumpet). Their other two meetings had produced unequivocal successes. The first was during a brief July 1956 session at the Forum Theater in L.A. Baker joined forces with epper's sextet, ultimately netting material for the disc Route. Exactly three months to the day later, Pepper and Baker reconvened to record tracks for the Chet Baker Big Band album. The quartet supporting Baker and Pepper on Playboys includes Curtis Counce (bass), Phil Urso (tenor sax), Carl Perkins (piano), and Larance Marable (drums). Baker and Pepper have an instinctual rapport that yields outstanding interplay. The harmony constant throughout the practically inseparable lines that Baker weaves with Pepper drives the bop throughout the slinky "For Minors Only." The soloists take subtle cues directly off each other, with considerable contributions from Perkins, Counce, and Marable. With the notorious track record both Baker and Pepper had regarding other decidedly less successful duets, it is unfortunate that more recordings do not exist that captured their special bond. These thoroughly enjoyable and often high-energy sides are perfect for bop connoisseurs as well as mainstream jazz listeners.


          ART BLAKEY

            Recording Date:
               October 30, 1958

              Art Blakey         D 
              Benny Golson    TS 
              Jymie Merritt    B
              Lee Morgan       TP 
              Bobby Timmons P


Review by Scott Yanow
The third version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers debuted with this stunning album. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson helped give the quintet its own personality with his compositions and arrangements (contributing "Blues March," "Along Came Betty," "Are You Real," and "The Drum Thunder Suite" to this set), 20-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan quickly emerged as a powerful soloist and the funky pianist Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'" became the Messengers' first real hit. This classic album, a major influence on hard bop, is highly recommended.


      The Vienna Concert
            Recording Date:
                October 1984

               Hector Console     B
               Fernando Suarez   Vio
               Astor Piazzolla     BND

               Oscar Lopez Ruiz  G
               Pablo Ziegler        P 


Review by Kurt Keefner
This concert, recorded in a studio with a live audience in October 1984, is a delight. The program is great fun, containing for example "Caliente," a tune that ranges from the bright to the crepuscular, and which is given a lyrical performance, especially by violinist Fernando Suarez Paz. Piazzolla, no doubt keeping in mind that he is in Europe, opens "Decarisimo" with a charming solo in the style of a musette. And, demonstrating that it is possible to tell a musical joke, there is Piazzolla's conclusion to "Invierno Porteño," written in the form of three parts on a ground, therefore sounding just like Pachabel's Canon! The only blemish is that the recording's length, at just over 42 minutes, is too short for a compact disc. However, the liner notes contain a good history of Piazzolla's career and the New Tango. Truly, this is an album for tango sophisticates everywhere.


            CHARLIE PARKER
                Dial Session

                    Recording Date:
                       WOR Studios, NYC
                       October 28, 1947

                        Miles Davis      TP
                        Charlie Parker  AS
                        Duke Jordan     P
                        Tommy Potter   B
                        Max Roach       D


Review by Why Evolution Is True
Charlie Parker: Embraceable You:  To me, one of the most amazing human activities is musical improvisation, especially in jazz. How can somebody come up with a new and appealing variation of a theme, and play it on the spot? It’s this instant translation of thought into music—good music—that so baffles me. One of the best examples comprises two takes of the George and Ira Gershwin classic “Embraceable You,” by perhaps the greatest jazz saxophonist in history:  Charlie Parker (1920-1955).  Parker recorded both versions in New York City on October 28, 1947.  The differences between them, reflecting Parker’s tastes at the moment of playing, are profound.  I won’t go on about Parker, but would recommend a nice biography, not very scholarly but immensely readable:  Bird Lives! The group is the Charlie Parker Quintet, including Duke Jordan on piano, Tommy Potter on bass, Max Roach on drums, and a young Miles Davis on trumpet.  I like the first take better, but both are great.  This is in fact my favorite Parker recording, for he was just as great on ballads like this as he was on hard-driving bebop.


              ZOOT SIMS
              If I'm Lucky
                  Recording Date:
                      October 27-28, 1977

                     Mousie Alexander D 
                     George Mraz        B 
                     Jimmy Rowles      P
                     Zoot Sims            TS


Review by Scott Yanow
Tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims recorded quite a few albums with pianist Jimmy Rowles during his Pablo years; all are recommended. Rowles assisted Sims in coming up with obscurities to interpret, and this CD reissue is highlighted by such little-performed songs as "If I'm Lucky," "Shadow Waltz," "Gypsy Sweetheart" and "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone." The lead voices are backed ably by bassist George Mraz and drummer Mousey Alexander on this enjoyable straight-ahead date.


       Song for My Father
           Recording Date:
              October 31, 1963 tk 3,6
              October 26, 1964

              Horace Silver        P
              Teddy Smith         B
              Carmell Jones       TP
              Joe Henderson      TS
              Roger Humphries   D
              Blue Mitchell    TP tk 3,6
              Junior Cook     TS tk 3,6
               Roy Brooks    D  tk 3,6
               Gene Taylor   B  tk 3,6


Review by Steve Huey
One of Blue Note's greatest mainstream hard bop dates, Song for My Father is Horace Silver's signature LP and the peak of a discography already studded with classics. Silver was always a master at balancing jumping rhythms with complex harmonies for a unique blend of earthiness and sophistication, and Song for My Father has perhaps the most sophisticated air of all his albums. Part of the reason is the faintly exotic tint that comes from Silver's flowering fascination with rhythms and modes from overseas — the bossa nova beat of the classic "Song for My Father," for example, or the Eastern-flavored theme of "Calcutta Cutie," or the tropical-sounding rhythms of "Que Pasa?" Subtle touches like these alter Silver's core sound just enough to bring out its hidden class, which is why the album has become such a favorite source of upscale ambience. Song for My Father was actually far less focused in its origins than the typical Silver project; it dates from the period when Silver was disbanding his classic quintet and assembling a new group, and it features performances from both bands (and, on the CD reissue with bonus tracks, three different sessions). Still, it hangs together remarkably well, and Silver's writing is at its tightest and catchiest. The title cut became Silver's best-known composition, partly because it provided the musical basis for jazz-rock group Steely Dan's biggest pop hit "Rikki Don't Lose That Number." Another hard bop standard is introduced here in the lone non-Silver tune, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson's "The Kicker," covered often for the challenge of its stuttering phrases and intricate rhythms. Yet somehow it comes off as warm and inviting as the rest of the album, which is necessary for all jazz collections — mainstream hard bop rarely comes as good as Song for My Father.


       & Sonny Rollins

         Recording Date:
           October 25, 1954 tk 1-2

           September 22, 1954 tk 3-4
           November 13, 1953  tk 5

          Thelonious Monk P

          Sonny Rollins      TS tk 1-2,5
          Art Taylor           D tk 1-2

          Tommy Potter     B tk 1-2
          Percy Heath        B  tk 3-5
          Art Blakey           D  tk 3-4
          Willie Jones        D  tk 5
         Julius Watkins   FRH tk 5

Review by Lindsay Planer
This disc contains an all-star cast headed up by Thelonious Monk (piano) and includes some collaborative efforts with Sonny Rollins (tenor sax) that go beyond simply inspired and into a realm of musical telepathy. The five tunes included on Work are derived from three separate sessions held between November of 1953 and  September of the following year. As is often the case, this likewise means that there are three distinct groups of musicians featured. Whether by design or happenstance, the tracks compiled for this EP present
Monk in the favorable confines and settings of smaller combos, ranging from the intimacy of the Percy Heath (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) trio on "Nutty" as well as the equally grooving title track. Both utilize Monk's uncanny and distinct sense of melody and are conspicuous for Blakey's rollicking percussive contributions -- which, at times, become thrust between Monk's disjointed chord work. The larger quartet and quintet settings are equally as inventive, retaining the highly inventive atmosphere. However, the undeniable highlight is the interaction between Monk and Rollins. Leading off the disc is a definitive and freewheeling reading of the pop standard "The Way You Look Tonight." Equally as scintillating is "I Want to Be Happy," both of which are also highlighted by Art Taylor (drums) and Tommy Potter (bass). They provide a supple and unencumbered framework for the soloists to weave their inimitable and often contrasting contributions. The final track is the beautifully dissonant and extended "Friday the Thirteenth," which is ironically the first fortuitous collaboration between the two co-leads. Rollins is able to entwine a sinuous lead throughout Monk's contrasting chord counterpoint. Enthusiasts seeking additional tracks from these and the remainder of Monk's sessions during this brief residency with Prestige should consider the suitably titled four-CD Complete Prestige Recordings compilation.


           Trio Session

            Recording Date:
                October 24, 1947
                WOR Studios, NYC

               Thelonious Monk P
               Gene Ramey       B
               Art Blakey          D


Nice Work If You Can Get It
Ruby, My Dear (aka Manhattan Moods)-A beautiful ballad and one of Monk’s best known compositions, it was written originally for his then girlfriend, Ruby Richardson. Monk was probably still a teenager when he composed “Ruby, My Dear.”
Well You Needn’t-First recorded for Blue Note (549) on October 24, 1947, it is one of Monk’s most recorded and most popular tunes, and a very good example of Monk’s penchant for chromatic harmonic motion.
April in Paris
Off Minor (aka What Now)-Was actually first recorded in January of 1947, but not by Monk. Bud Powell was the first to put “Off Minor” on wax when he was with Cootie Williams’s Orchestra. Monk first recorded it on October 24, 1947 (Blue Note ). Also, Dizzy Gillespie’s big band had intended on using it in their book. It stands among Monk’s more frequently recorded tunes. It is so named probably because it is written in G minor but never resolves on the tonic.
Introspection (aka Playhouse)-Originally titled “Playhouse” as a tribute to Minton’s, this song was first recorded for Blue Note on October 24, 1947, but was not released until 1956! Monk wrote it during his association with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band and Walter Gil Fuller wrote an arrangement of “Playhouse,” but there is no record of the band recording it, let alone playing it. It’s unusual thirty-six bar structure and wandering chord progressions set it apart from the music identified as “bebop.”


     Kansas City Revisited

          Recording Date:
             October 23, 1958

             Big Miller           Vo
             Bob Brookmeyer TB
             Addison Farmer   B
             Jim Hall             G
             Osie Johnson      D
             Nat Pierce          P
             Paul Quinichette TS


By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
Cool jazz meets swing on this valuable but long out-of-print LP. Valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, tenors Al Cohn and Paul Quinichette, pianist Nat Pierce, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Osie Johnson perform four songs associated with the late-'30s Count Basie Orchestra plus a couple of numbers ("A Blues" and "Travlin' Light") that are sung by the underrated vocalist Big Miller who was making his recording debut at the time. This memorable set is long overdue to be reissued on CD.

From Dusty Groove.
A very unusual session -- especially considering Bob Brookmeyer's more modernist modes of the 50s! This album has Bob going back to roots you might not guess that he had -- picking up bits of a Kansas City sound that (as he tells in the liner notes) clearly inspired him in the early days, and which is presented here surprisingly well by a septet that includes Bob on valve trombone, Al Cohn and Paul Quinichette on tenor, Nat Pierce on piano, Jim Hall on guitar, Addison Farmer on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums -- all playing long and lean on some real Basie-styled numbers. Quinichette's presence really sets the tone for the record, and seems to pull out earthy qualities in the other players that we didn't even know they had -- and on 2 numbers, Big Miller delivers some bluesy vocals as well. Titles include "Jumping At The Woodside", "A Blues", "Blue & Sentimental", and "Moten Swing". (Red label pressing with the deep groove. Cover has light staining on the back near the bottom seam.) 


       Jazz for Commuters

       October 15, 1958  tk 1,3-5,10
       Beltone Studios, New York
             Ben Smith       Brass 
             Sam Taylor    CL,BS,TS
             Charlie Shavers TP
             Georgie Auld    TS
             Budd Johnson   TS
             Frank Rehak     TB
             Hank Jones       P
             Milt Hinton        B
             Barry Galbraith  G  
             Osie Johnson     D


October 22, 1958  tk 2,6-9
 Sam Taylor     CL,BS,TS
 Lee Anderson        P 
 Billy Bauer             G 
 Jimmy Cleveland   TB 
 Thad Jones           T 
 Herb Lovelle          D 
 Barney Richmond   B
All sessions recorded in New York.
The album tracks were recorded on October 15 & 22, 1958.
The Bonus tracks came from different sessions cut between March, 1955 and June, 1956.


            JOHN COLTRANE
        My Favorite Things
           Recording Date:
              October 21, 1960  tk1
              October 24, 1960  tk3
              October 26, 1960  tk2,4
              John Coltrane   TS,SS
              Steve Davis      B
              Jimmy Garrison B tk1
              Elvin Jones       D
              McCoy Tyner     P 

                                                                 IFPI killed the  LINK 

Review by Lindsay Planer
Although seemingly impossible to comprehend, this landmark jazz recording was made in less than three days. All the more remarkable is that the same sessions which yielded My Favorite Things would also inform a majority of the albums Coltrane Plays the Blues, Coltrane's Sound, and Coltrane Legacy. It is easy to understand the appeal that these sides continue to hold. The unforced, practically casual soloing styles of the assembled quartet — which includes Coltrane (soprano/tenor sax), McCoy Tyner (piano), Steve Davis (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums) — allow for tastefully executed passages à la the Miles Davis Quintet, a trait Coltrane no doubt honed during his tenure in that band. Each track of this album is a joy to revisit. The ultimate listenability may reside in this quartet's capacity to not be overwhelmed by the soloist. Likewise, they are able to push the grooves along surreptitiously and unfettered. For instance, the support that the trio — most notably Tyner — gives to Coltrane on the title track winds the melody in and around itself. However, instead of becoming entangled and directionless, these musical sidebars simultaneously define the direction the song is taking. As a soloist, the definitive soprano sax runs during the Cole Porter standard "Everytime We Say Goodbye" and tenor solos on "But Not for Me" easily establish Coltrane as a pioneer of both instruments.


               LEO PARKER
         Rollin' with Leo
         Recording Date:
            Oct. 12, 1961   tk 3-4
            Oct.r 20, 1961  tk 1-2,5-8

           John Acea        P
            Leo Parker      TS  
            Dave Burns      TP
            Bill Swindell    TS
            Stan Conover   B tk 3-4
            Purnell Rice     D  tk 3-4
            Wilbert Hogan  D  1-2,5-8
           Al Lucas         B  tk 1-2,5-8


Review by Steve Leggett
Drugs and addictions defined most of Leo Parker's adult life, finally claiming it entirely in February of 1962 when he was only 36 years old. Only months earlier in 1961, in two sessions held on October 12 and October 20, Parker had played his heart out in what would have been his second album for Blue Note Records that year, and it had appeared that the baritone saxophonist was well on his way to a much deserved career comeback. The sessions, however, weren't released until almost 20 years later. Rollin' with Leo, presented here in remastered form, is a wonderful portrait of this unsung but brilliant player, whose huge, sad, but almost impossibly strong tone always felt like it carried the world on its shoulders. The centerpiece of Rollin' with Leo is the fascinating "Talkin' the Blues," which unfolds, nearly themeless, like a late-night conversation, ebbing and flowing exactly the way a conversation does, with Parker's baritone swinging back to gather notes, but always moving and stretching forward, expanding the conversation until it seems like everything that could be said HAS been said. Parker's death was tragic because he had so much more to say, and that makes this fine set all that more of a treasure.


                     SUN RA
       Space Is the Place
           [Original Soundtrack]         

           Recording Date:
                October 19-20, 1972

           Sun Ra     O,P,Vo,CV,Syn
           Marshall Allen   FL,BS,OB,AS
           Danny Davis     FL,AS,CL
           John Gilmore   TS,D,Vo
           Kwame Hadi     TP
           Wayne Harris    TP

Lamont McLamb  TP
Ahk Tal Ebah      TP,FG
Stanley Morgan    Per
Lex Humphries    D
Russell Branch     Per
June Tyson         Vo
Judith Holton     Vo
Ruth Wright       Vo

Review by Stephen Cook                       LINK 
Space Is the Place [Impulse!] provides an excellent introduction to Sun Ra's vast and free-form jazz catalog. Typical of many Sun Ra recordings, the program is varied; earthbound songs, like the swing number "Images" and Egyptian exotica piece "Discipline," fit right in with more space-age cuts, like the tumultuous "Sea of Sounds" and the humorous "Rocket Number Nine." Sun Ra fuses many of these styles on the sprawling title cut, as interlocking harmonies, African percussion, manic synthesizer lines, and joyous ensemble blowing all jell into some sort of church revival of the cosmos. Throughout the recording, Sun Ra displays his typically wide-ranging talents on space organ and piano, reed players John Gilmore and Marshall Allen contribute incisive and intense solos, and June Tyson masterfully leads the Space Ethnic Voices on dreamy vocal flights. This is a fine recording and a must for Sun Ra fans.

Review by Ron Wynn                      LINKSpace Is the Place [Original Soundtrack ] is the soundtrack to a film that was made but never released, and the tunes are among his most ambitious, unorthodox, and compelling compositions. Between June Tyson's declarative vocals, chants, and dialogue and Ra's crashing, flailing synthesizer and organ fills, and with such songs as "Blackman/Love in Outer Space," "It's After the End of the World," and "I Am the Brother of the Wind," this disc offers aggressive, energized, and uncompromising material. Ra's pianistic forays, phrases, and textures were sometimes dismissed as mere noodling when they were part of a well-constructed multimedia package. This comes as close as any of Ra's releases to being not only a concept work but a blueprint for his live shows from the early '70s until the end of his career. Features some previously unissued cuts.


               SONNY STITT
          And the Giants

             Recording Date:
                October 18, 1967

                Sonny Stitt        AS
                Howard McGhee TP
                Walter Bishop    P
                Tommy Potter    B
                Kenny Clarke      D


Review by Scott Yanow
This enjoyable LP features an all-star quintet at a session cut while in Zurich. Altoist Sonny Stitt and trumpeter Howard McGhee match together well and the rhythm section (pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Tommy Potter and drummer Kenny Clarke) is state of the art for bop of the period. Three blues feature the full group while "Lover Man," "Satin Doll" and "Don't Blame Me" are showcases for Stitt, the trio and McGhee respectively; the latter two tracks have not yet been reissued on CD.


      Howard Theater
       Washington, DC

         Recording Date:
             October 17, 1952

             Charlie Walp   TP
             Earl Swope      TB
             Charlie Parker  AS
             Zoot Sims        TS
             Bill Shanahan    P
             Mert Oliver      B
             Don Lamond     D


Review by arwulf arwulf
The earliest took place at the Howard Theater on October 18, 1952; the band was billed as "the Charlie Parker Tentet" and one of the participants was tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims. On February 22, 1953 Bird performed at the Club Kavakos in front of a big band led by drummer Joe Timer. For generations the recordings made that night have been savored as glowing examples of how inventive and adaptable Charlie Parker really was. As Rodney explains, there wasn't time for Yardbird to rehearse with the big band. Completely unfamiliar with the arrangements, Bird relied entirely on instinctual "bop logic" to navigate with ease as he formulated solos of remarkabl


   Encounters Ben Webster

              Recording Date: 
                  October 16, 1957

                  Ray Brown           B 
                  Herb Ellis            G 
                  Coleman Hawkins TS 
                  Oscar Peterson     P 
                  Alvin Stoller         D 
                  Ben Webster        TS


Review by Jonathon Lindhorst
One of the great studio sessions of the 1950's (and part of a series by producer Norman Granz to pair pianist Oscar Peterson’s trio with great horn players), Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster remains a jazz masterpieces. Musicians back then would often show up and call tunes instead of bringing original compositions to recording sessions. The concept may have been simple, but the performances by Hawkins and Webster, two of the greatest tenor saxophone players in jazz, are incredibly deep. The renditions of certain jazz standards on this classic album some of the most beautiful versions ever put on record.
First is the raunchy “Blues for Yolande,” where the two tenors battle it out through a 6/8 shuffle. Coleman Hawkins proves that he's still the man, honking through the blues with a gruff verve that was emulated by the young rock sax players of the day like King Curtis and Boots Randolph. Listen for the part where Hawkins is literally screaming through his horn, a technique that would later be heavily adopted by free players such Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, and Dewey Redman. Webster answers with his typically smooth and plaintive moan, but soon proves that he can growl with the best of them.
This album also features some of the most beautiful ballad playing of both saxophonists career. “It Never Entered my Mind” and “Prisoner of Love” demonstrate both Hawkins' and Webster's distinct but equally gorgeous breathy sounds. Hawkins, the rougher of the two, places a harder inflection and heavier vibrato on every note, while Webster creamily scoops and bends his way into each phrase. It’s as though Hawkins is rising from the earth itself while Webster floats above the proceedings in a cloud.

With the exception of the Latin-tinged groove that drives “La Rosita,” most of this album swings incredibly hard. Tracks like “You'd be So Nice to Come Home To” and “Tangerine” have the kind of feel that just make you just want to tap your foot along with it. While there are very few solos from the rhythm section (indeed the only person to take a solo aside from Webster or Hawkins is Oscar Peterson), so much of the success of this album hinges upon Peterson, Ray Brown on bass, Herb Ellis on guitar, and Alvin Stoller on drums. They prove why they were one of the top call rhythm sections of the 1950's.
Overall, this is a beautifully melodic and sensitive record. Its relaxed pace (it never gets faster than a medium swing) allows the masterful saxophonists to showcase their greatest strengths, namely their deep and distinctive tones and heartfelt interpretations of the melodies. While the album is a saxophone feature all around, the rhythm section provides the rhythmic depth to make the record all the more satisfying. Coleman Hawkins encounters Ben Webster displays a warmth and lyricism that is often lost in modern jazz in favour of complicated rhythms and harmonies. This record definitely goes on my list of essential classic listening.


           BEN WEBSTER
               Recording Date: 
                   October 15, 1957

                   Ray Brown        B 
                   Herb Ellis         G 
                   Stan Levey       D 
                   Oscar Peterson  P 
                   Ben Webster     TS,P


Review by Stephen Cook
The by turns grizzled and vaporous-toned Webster really hit his stride on the Verve label. During a stretch from roughly 1953-1959, the Ellington alumnus showcased his supreme playing with both combos and string sections, swingers and ballads — and lurking beneath his blustery and hulking sound were solo lines brimming with sophistication and wit. This 1957 date with the Oscar Peterson Trio is one of the highlights of that golden '50s run. After starting off with two bluesy originals — the slow burning title track and gutsy "Late Date" — Webster gets to the heart of things on five wistful ballads: Here, his exquisitely sly "Makin' Whoopee" is only outdone by an incredibly nuanced "Where Are You." Providing sympathetic counterpoint, Peterson forgoes his usual pyrotechnics for some leisurely compact solos; his cohorts — guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Stan Levey — are equally assured and splendid. And ending the set with flair, Webster takes over the piano for three somewhat middling yet still impressive stride and boogie-woogie-styled numbers (these are his only piano recordings). Newcomers shouldn't hesitate to start here.


             BENNY GOLSON
        New York Scene

          Recording Date:
               Oct 14, 1957  tk 2,4,7
               Oct 17, 1957  tk 1,3,5,6,8

               Paul Chambers   B
               Wynton Kelly      P 
               Charlie Persip    D
               Art Farmer        TP 
               Benny Golson     TS

Tracks 2,4,7
 Jimmy Cleveland TB                
 Gigi Gryce          AS  
 Sahib Shihab       BS  
 Julius Watkins     FH


Review by Scott Yanow
Benny Golson's debut as a leader was recorded at a time when he was better known as a composer than a tenor saxophonist. This album, reissued during the CD era with "B.G.'s Holiday" added to the original LP
program as a bonus track, features Golson in a quintet with fellow future Jazztet co-leader Art Farmer on trumpet, pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Charlie Persip on five selections, and with the same group plus four horns on three other songs. The set is most significant for including an early version of Golson's "Whisper Not" (which soon became a jazz standard) along with "Step Lightly," as well as for the leader's inventive and swinging arrangements; plus, there are some excellent solos from Golson and Farmer. Overall, this underrated gem served as a strong start to Benny Golson's influential solo career.


            DAVE BRUBECK
            Interchanges '54

             Recording Date:
                Oct 12, 1954  tk 1,2,7,9,11
                October 13, 1954  tk 5
                October 14, 1954  tk 3,4,8
                November 10, 1954 tk 6

                  Bob Bates         B 
                  Dave Brubeck    P 
                  Paul Desmond   AS 
                 Joe Dodge          D 


Review by Scott Yanow
This excellent CD reissues the LP Brubeck Time plus half of Red Hot and Cool. One of the few early studio (as opposed to club) recordings by the early Dave Brubeck Quartet (this version has bassist Bob Bates and drummer Joe Dodge in addition to pianist Brubeck and altoist Paul Desmond), the fine unit performs nine standards plus three new compositions: "Stompin' for Mili," "Audrey" (dedicated to Audrey Hepburn) and Brubeck's classic, "The Duke."



          Recording Date:
             October 12, 2006

             Alex Sipiagin      TP,FG
             Chris Potter       TS
             Dave Kikoski       P 
             Monday Michiru  FT
             Scott Colley        B  
             Antonio Sanchéz D 


For his sixth Criss Cross release, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin focuses more heavily on his own writing than on 2005's RETURNING. Clearly rooted in the jazz tradition, Sipiagin's compositions continue to evolve his distinctly modernistic approach to harmony, meter and form. The ever-inventive and ever-supportive bassist Scott Colley is back from RETURNING, as is drummer Antonio Sanchez, who continues to demonstrate a remarkable ability to combine elasticity, reponsiveness and groove.  Pianist David Kikoski, a longtime collaborator, broadens the textural palette through his use of the Fender Rhodes on selected tracks, while ubiquitous saxophonist Chris Potter adds both passion and elegance.
Eminently approachable despite their inherent depth and complexity, Sipiagin's five compositions remain as focused and lyrical as his playing. Sipiagin reinvents Thelonious Monk's Epistrophy and Bill Evans' rarely covered Orbit (Unless It's You), both seamlessly fitting within his musical universe while remaining true to their essence.


                   Roy Campbell
        Ethnic Stew and Brew

                Recording Date:
                    October 11-12, 2000

                   Roy Campbell   TP,Per,FG 
                   William Parker  B
                   Hamid Drake     Per,D 


Review by Alex Henderson
World music has been a major influence on Roy Campbell; so it isn't surprising that the chance-taking trumpeter/flügelhornist would call this 2000 session Ethnic Stew and Brew. Leading his cohesive Pyramid Trio — which also includes bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake — Campbell combines mildly avant-garde jazz with African, Asian, and Middle Eastern elements. One of the more African-influenced tracks is "Amadou Diallo," an emotional piece that was inspired by the tragic shooting of an African immigrant in New York in the late '90s. (Diallo was shot 41 times by NYPD officers, who assumed he was reaching for a gun — however, the immigrant turned out to be unarmed). Meanwhile, "Impressions of Yokahama" has a strong Japanese flavor and features Parker on the shakuhachi — a bamboo flute that has been used in traditional Japanese music for centuries (although the instrument was actually brought to Japan by the Chinese). While Ethnic Stew and Brew is slightly left of center, it is far from an album of atonal chaos. All of the songs have discernible melodies, and the Pyramid Trio's playing is more inside than outside. Ethnic Stew and Brew isn't Campbell's most essential album, but it is still an exciting illustration of his talents as both a composer and a soloist.


            Stan Getz
      Oscar Peterson Trio

            Recording Date: 
                  October 10, 1957

               Ray Brown       B
               Herb Ellis        G 
               Stan Getz        TS
               Oscar Peterson P


Review by Scott Yanow
This very enjoyable CD for the first time gathers together all of the music recorded at this timeless session. Tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz is joined by pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown for a well-rounded set filled with appealing standards, three Getz originals (two of which are blues) and a fine ballad medley. Everyone is in top form and Getz clearly enjoyed playing with Peterson.