Various Artists: Standards On Impulse!
J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding combine their crisp trombone sounds on "I Concentrate on You." The unison work here is most impressive. In fact, who's done it better? Then Benny Carter and His Orchestra gives us (only) four minutes of "Body and Soul"; pity there wasn't more time for the orchestra to stretch out; as it is we get only a taste of Benny (alto sax), Phil Woods (alto), Coleman Hawkins (tenor), and Charlie Rouse (tenor). The Gil Evans Orchestra features Johnny Coles in the Miles Davis chair (and filling it ably) for "Sister Sadie," and the ensemble is as crisp and clean as ever came from Mr. Evans' guiding hand.
"Unforgettable" is what Johnny Hartman's voice is, and he's here too. Count Basie gives us "Oh, Lady Be Good," and Mingus adds a straight "Mood Indigo" from his Black Saint and the Sinner Lady -era large group. Roland Kirk adds piquancy to Roy Haynes' take on "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)," but John Coltrane's "What's New" is as straight as they come. Spare, sharp, and just right. Likewise, McCoy Tyner's bouncy "Satin Doll" and Shelly Manne's "Cherokee." Ben Webster's "Stardust" is intriguing to compare to Archie Shepp's roiling "Girl from Ipanema," for the two saxmen, as has been oft-remarked, have a father-son relationship, and you can hear it for yourself here. The other tracks are merely Clark Terry ("'Til You Hear from Me") and the Duke with the Hawk ("Solitude").
Once again, on a collection like this there are no weak spots. Every hair is in place. Still, where is more adventurous territory (to complement Shepp) like Trane's "Chim Chim Cheree"? Of course, most of that sort of thing didn't include standards. So this is a good sampling of what material exists. Again, for newcomers.
Record Label: Impulse!