What a bargain this 2-cd set is! More than two hours of music performed by Telarc's outstanding stable of jazz recording artists, all for the price of a single album. And the record company's stable reads like an honor roll of contemporary jazz performers, Dave Brubeck, Mel Tormé, Sweets Edison and Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, James Moody to name a few. Not only does this release exhibit the scope of jazz artists who were recording for Telarc during the 1990's, but that they touched many of the jazz genre bases, from mainstream, traditional, bop and post bop.
There's so much here that it is hard to single out any set of tracks for special attention. But here goes. The master of wordless vocalizing, Mel Tormé, shows how it's done on "It Don't Mean a Thing (if It Ain't Got that Swing)" from a 1992 performance at Michael's Pub. There is bop driven "A Night in Tunisia" by an all-star group led by Slide Hampton from a Village Vanguard gig. Many had written off Dave Brubeck until he showed them otherwise with his Nightshift album. This set includes his avant gardish, ethereal interpretation of "Yesterdays" from that release. The venerable Stephane Grappelli is represented by "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" where he and Bucky and John Pizzarelli do an unusually subdued, classical music leaning version of this traditional jazz warhorse.
It's nice to report that he liner notes list all relevant information for each track and even have a picture of the album cover from which the performances were taken. This album is highly recommended.
Track Listing: CD -1 A Night in Tunisia - Slide Hampton & the Jazz Masters; Diz Related - Centerpiece; Con Alma- Dizzy Gillespie; Kelly's Blues - Oscar Peterson Trio; It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing - Mel Torm