As part of the label’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Chicago’s own Delmark Records has released two double-disc sets, highlighting the label’s jazz and blues lines respectively. Presently reviewed is the jazz set. This set is composed of 28 songs, five of which are not previously released on compact disc. These included Art Hodes’ interpretation of "Cake Walkin’ Babies From Home," in which the pianist pay great attention to 1920s performance practice, giving the song an authentic Chicago feel. One wonders when Bix is going to join Hodes and make it a duet.
Additionally are the previously unheard "Pick Up On Tab" by Tab Smith, Malachi Thompson’s "The Panther, "Sonny Stitt’s "Parker’s Mood," and the Windy City Six’s "Royal Garden Blues," the first recordings made by label- meister Bob Koester. These five recordings certainly boast the depth and breadth of the catalog by including post-New Orleans Chicago jazz, organ-soul jazz, big band, bebop, and traditional jazz.
Appropriately, the overall timbre of the set is the blues. Whether overt blues like Thompson’s "The Panther" or Sonny Stitt’s "Parker’s Mood," or covert blues like Ken Vandermark’s "One More Once" or Archie Shepp’s "Revelations" the subatomic physics of the blues is ever present. That said, 50 years of Jazz and Blues: Jazz can be listened to as the soundtrack of the past half-century of jazz. It is an excellent sampler of excellent music that could be at equally at home buried in a time capsule or in one’s car CD player. I am looking forward to hearing the remaining releases dedicated to the Delmark Anniversary.