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DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate

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Ben Webster Tenor Sax Legend: Live and Intimate Shanachie 2009

Although he looked like a frog or a bullmastiff (hence his nicknames Frog and The Brute), saxophonist Ben Webster was splendidly photogenic, his emotions nakedly on his face. This DVD brings together three concert performances and one documentary from his last decade in Europe. He purrs, snarls and moans with a rhythm trio, a big band, a string section, in a casual club jam session, surrounded by congenial young players: violinist Finn Ziegler, bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, trumpeter Charlie Shavers and pianist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bing Crosby: The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings (1954-56)

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When contemporary culture acknowledges Bing Crosby at all, it is as a relic of ancient pop, his musical conservatism epitomized by “White Christmas." Happily, a new seven-disc Mosaic Records set reminds us that Crosby always swung without strain. In the mid-1950s, when he had apparently been eclipsed by Sinatra, then by Elvis, Crosby was still singing splendidly. The often high-level melodrama of his early records had given way to a masterful casualness.

The 160 tracks in this set were recorded on tape for his daily radio show and find Crosby fronting pianist Buddy Cole's easy-going jazz quartet (anchored ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Oscar Peterson: The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Sessions of the Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953)

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Oscar Peterson The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Recordings of The Oscar Peterson Trio (1951-1953) Mosaic Records 2008

The late Oscar Peterson was technically dazzling, harmonically sophisticated and indefatigably rhythmic. His virtuosic command of the piano has never been questioned. Because of Norman Granz' enthusiasm for his work, Peterson recorded prolifically as soloist and sideman as well as the leader of his own trio. Patterned after Nat Cole's trio, this group featured bassist Ray Brown, guitarists Barney Kessel (eight of the sessions presented here) or Irving Ashby (only one from January 1952) and later, ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Trying To Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon

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Jack Sheldon Trying To Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon Bialystock & Bloom, Inc./February Films 2009

Born in 1931, the near-legendary West Coast jazzman Jack Sheldon--trumpeter, singer, comedian, actor--has played and recorded with Stan Kenton, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, Red Norvo, Bill Harris, Art Pepper, Anita O'Day and Tierney Sutton, as well as leading his own groups. His horn has been heard on movie soundtracks, he was featured on the Merv Griffin Show and had his own short-lived television series, Run, Buddy, Run. Sheldon has a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Webster: Ben Webster: The Brute & The Beautiful

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Ben Webster (1909-73), perhaps the least acknowledged of the great jazz tenor saxophonists, was fortunate enough to have a varied 40-year recording career. His ballads were immensely tender and his blues and faster tunes could be nearly violent in their intensity. Hence the title of this two-disc set, a centennial issue that celebrates this musical duality. Webster's career found him in so many contexts (accompanying Billie Holiday, early and late; an integral member of the classic 1940-41 Ellington orchestra; leading 52nd Street small groups with Big Sid Catlett, Al Haig, Tony Scott and others; recording with strings; starring in Jazz ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Louis Armstrong: Integrale Vol. 5 & Live in Australia 1964

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Louis ArmstrongIntegrale Vol. 5 (CD) Fremeaux & Associes2008 Louis Armstrong Live in Australia 1964 (DVD) Medici Arts 2008 Some might assert that the Fremaux label's triple-CD set, containing almost everything Louis Armstrong recorded between December 1928 and April 1931, presents him at his creative peak and that Medici Arts' DVD (actually from 1963) is an occasionally sad document of a man who had achieved international fame but was no longer innovative. And this much ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Wein: George Wein Is Alive And Well In Mexico

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Impresario George Wein has given the music he loves invaluable support for more than half a century and no one would dare question that. But Wein also insists on being taken seriously as a jazz pianist and bandleader of the Newport All-Stars. His taste in musicians is excellent and his groups have provided gigs and record contracts for superb mainstream players. His long advocacy of Ruby Braff and Pee Wee Russell has been particularly commendable. This Mosaic reissue captures the Newport All-Stars at 1967 concerts in Mexico and offers irreplaceable playing by the horns (Braff, Russell and ...



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