Orrin Keepnews' Collection
It would be impossible to sum up, with anything approaching clarity and cohesion, the music offered on the first ten releases. The above-mentioned Flora Purim album, originally an early '70s Milestone disc, boasts stunning keyboard work from George Duke; it also contains a gorgeous version of Stanley Clarke's "Light as a Feather", made famous by Chick Corea's seminal Return to Forever. Clarke's bass playing is vibrant and full, obviously benefiting from a good recording and the remastering treatment. The same is true of Everybody Digs Bill Evans, one of the best of the pianist's early albums, if such a qualitative choice can really be made in light of so much fine material. "Peace Piece" shines brighter than ever, each meditative gesture fading into the never-quite-silent warmth an analogue source provides.
Special mention must go to Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco, here presented with a crackling alternate version of "This Here" that has never seen the light of day. "Yeah," Keepnews agrees, "That's a damn good take." He is justly proud of the alternates scattered throughout the series, presented, whenever available, to shed more light on the processes behind these formative albums.
There's something in the Keepnews Collection to suit every taste, from hard bop to electric fusion; here's hoping that this welcome project will be continued with the same high standards.