- COLEMAN HAWKINS Good Old Broadway (JVC)
- BILL EVANS TRIO At Shelly's Manne-Hole (JVC)
- GENE AMMONS Boss Tenor (JVC)
Fantasy has been pretty good about licensing titles it owns to labels that put out audiophile CDs, including DCC and JVC. The sound quality is superb on these three audiophile versions of titles that originally came out on Riverside and Prestige catalogues and are presently owned by Fantasy.
Toward the end of his life, Coleman Hawkins sunk into an emotional abyss and drank himself to death. But Hawk's breathy tenor still sounded great on January 2, 1962, when he entered the studio with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Major Holley and drummer Eddie Locke and celebrated the music of the theatre with Good Old Broadway. High-speed aggression isn't a priority here. Comfortable tempos are dominant, and Hawk brings a relaxed confidence to "Get Out Of Town," "Strange Music,"
"A Fellow Needs A Girl" and other songs from Broadway plays. Tragically, Gene Ammons spent most of the 1960s incarcerated on drug charges, but despite his self-abuse, Ammons was a consistent and usually impressive saxman who rarely failed to swing. One of his excellent Prestige dates of the early 1960s, Boss Tenor boasts fine examples of his mastery of ballads ("My Romance") and blues ("Hittin' The Jug"," "Blue Ammons") and unites the Chicago legend with pianist Tommy Flanagan, conga man Ray Barretto, drummer Art Taylor and bassist Doug Watkins. The album, recorded in 1960, also contains Ammons' celebrated version of "Canadian Sunset" as well as good- spirited takes on Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" and Benny Goodman's "Stompin' At The Savoy."
Bill Evans is in superb form on At Shelly's Manne-Hole, which captures the ultra-influential pianist at the famous Hollywood club in 1963 with Philly bassist Chuck Israels and L.A. drummer Larry Bunker. On moving versions of "Our Love Is Here To Stay," "Isn't It Romantic," "Stella By Starlight" and other standards, Evans is everything you expect him to bepoetic, elegant, charismatic and very personal. You can be certain that this was among the Evans classics that Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett paid close attention to. Pianism doesn't get much better.
Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.