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More Fresh Sounds From Fresh Sound

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The Fresh Sound record label has released another superb batch of late 1950s and early 1960s recordings by jazz legends, greats, near-greats and now obscure artists who, then and now, deserve wider recognition. As detailed in previous pieces, Fresh Sound is the only organization out there issuing these essential works, which otherwise would remain lost.

Enter the album name here Without doubt, in the legendary category are the 1956 and 1957 quintet and sextet sessions led by vibraphonist Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
1923 - 1999
vibraphone
and featuring the tenor saxophone of Lucky Thompson
Lucky Thompson
Lucky Thompson
1924 - 2005
saxophone
. These sessions, Milt Jackson Quintet and Sextet with Lucky Thompson (2012), originally on the Savoy label, represent quintessential, relatively early Bags, soulfully swinging as always, and apart from what some believed were the "confines" of the Modern Jazz Quartet. This two-CD set, which includes bonus tracks from a 1956 and 1957 Atlantic Records date, stand as Jackson's first sessions as a leader, though he had been recording as early as the mid-1940s. The vibraphonist's playing is fully formed here, as is Thompson's modern version of Don Byas
Don Byas
Don Byas
1912 - 1972
sax, tenor
. Many of the sidemen on these titles, which include drummer Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke
Kenny Clarke
1914 - 1985
drums
, bassist Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
Oscar Pettiford
1922 - 1960
bass
, pianistsHank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
, Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
1928 - 2014
piano
, and the MJQ's John Lewis
John Lewis
John Lewis
b.1920
piano
; qualify for legendary status as well. These sides—all of them—are landmarks in the history of recorded jazz.

Long before Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson
Oliver Nelson
1932 - 1975
arranger
became one of the busiest and most respected composers and arrangers on the Hollywood movie and television scene, he was a hard-blowing, exciting, bluesy tenor and alto saxophonist, and when the occasion called for it, a thoughtful balladeer with a beautiful tone and attractive vibrato. Fresh Sound has issued Nelson's first outings as a leader, both Prestige blowing dates, Meet Oliver Nelson, from 1959 and Main Stem, from two years later. Nelson, who left us much too soon at the age of 43 in 1975, is heard here as a soulful combination of Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
with overtones of early John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
, and it's easy to hear where he was headed in later years with albums like Blues and the Abstract Truth (Impulse!, 1961) and classic compositions like "Stolen Moments." He swings like mad, egged on by frontline partner Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
Kenny Dorham
1924 - 1972
trumpet
on trumpet, pianist Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
Ray Bryant
1931 - 2011
piano
, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Art Taylor
Art Taylor
Art Taylor
1929 - 1995
drums
on the first session. On Main Stem, Joe Newman
Joe Newman
Joe Newman
b.1922
plays trumpet, with a rhythm section comprised of Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
on piano, George Duvivieron bass, Charlie Persip
Charlie Persip
Charlie Persip
b.1929
drums
on drums, and Latin percussionist Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
1929 - 2006
congas
on some tracks. Many releases like this were taken for granted back in the day. We know now that they shouldn't have been.

Enter the album name here Nelson also shows up on one half of a CD devoted to the tragic vibraphonist Lem Winchester
Lem Winchester
Lem Winchester
1928 - 1961
vibraphone
. Winchester, one of the most promising figures in jazz, was a Wilmington, Delaware, policeman who left the force to become a full-time musician in. He was on his way to becoming a certifiable star when he shot himself while, some say, playing Russian Roulette, and died at the age of 33 in 1961. Winchester plays on Nelson's quintet date of 1960, Takin Care of Business (1960), which also featured the organ of Johnny "Hammond" Smith
Johnny
Johnny "Hammond" Smith
1933 - 1997
organ, Hammond B3
, highlighted by an early version of Nelson's "Trane Whistle." Winchester was headed toward individuality on vibes, as something of a combination of Milt Jackson's soulfulness and the swinging fire and velocity of Terry Gibbs
Terry Gibbs
Terry Gibbs
b.1924
vibraphone
. Part two of this CD—both originally Prestige releases—is a Winchester-led session called Lem's Beat (1960), where Nelson served as a featured sideman.

Fresh Sound has thankfully seen fit to issue everything ever recorded by Winchester, including With Feeling (1960) and Nocturne (1960), which also features the fabulous singing of Etta Jones
Etta Jones
Etta Jones
b.1928
vocalist
; the 1958 New Faces at Newport program; and from the same year, A Tribute to Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
Clifford Brown
1930 - 1956
trumpet
,
where the vibraphonist is backed by the instantly identifiable sound of pianist Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis
Ramsey Lewis
b.1935
piano
' original trio. Also impressive are Winchester Special, from 1959 and featuring pianist Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
1930 - 2001
piano
, and Another Opus, where the vibraphonist shares the front line with the flute and tenor sax of Frank Wess
Frank Wess
Frank Wess
1922 - 2013
sax, tenor
. Though he left us as a very young age, jazz listeners are fortunate that he left behind a reasonably extensive recorded legacy.

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