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Reassessing

October 10, 2013

Oscar Peterson & Stephane Grappelli: Skol

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Oscar Peterson and Stephane Grappelli Skol OJC 1979/2013 Music impresario Norman Granz (1918-2001) was a cagey so-and-so. When he inaugurated Pablo Records in 1973, he already had a catalog of recordings and an immediate pool of exceptional performers who also happened to be under his management (often making his acquaintance through Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic program). With this combination of fortunes, Granz was able to release some 350 recordings in 15 years, before he sold his company to Fantasy Records in 1987. We are amid the 40th anniversary of the ...

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September 26, 2013

Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy’s Big 4

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Dizzy GillespieDizzy's Big 4OJC1975/2013 Concord Music Group kicked off their Pablo Records 40th anniversary celebration with the releases of John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions (Pablo, 1963/2013) and Sarah Vaughan: Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook (Pablo,2013) both supplemented by improved programming. These releases have been followed by additional straight remasters of: Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers (Pablo, 1975/2013), Art Tatum: Solo Masterpieces, Volume 1 (Pablo, 1975/2013), and, now, Dizzy's Big 4. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie first recorded “Be Bop (Dizzy's Fingers)" in New York City, January 9, 1945, ...

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September 24, 2013

Art Tatum: Solo Masterpieces, Volume One

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Art TatumSolo Masterpieces, Volume OneOJC1975/2013 If blues icon Robert Johnson is a phantom, then pianist Art Tatum is a myth. In spite of James Lester's 1995 biography Too Marvelous For Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum (Oxford University Press, 1995), little is known of Tatum, whose piano talent has yet to be equaled more than fifty years after his death. It is acknowledged by more than one authority that Tatum was the greatest jazz pianist to play. But Tatum was marginalized for most of his life. Tad Hershorn, in ...

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September 23, 2013

Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Zoot SimsZoot Sims And The Gershwin BrothersOJC1975/2013 The Concord Music Group inaugurated their celebration of the 40th anniversary of Norman Granz's Pablo Records with the releases of John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions (Pablo, 1963/2013) and Sarah Vaughan-- Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook (Pablo,2013). These releases are to be followed by an additional five remasters, the first of which, Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers, is considered here. Recorded in New York City at RCA Studios, June 6, 1975, Norman Granz paired Sims (1925-1985) with a dream rhythm ...

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September 12, 2013

Sarah Vaughan: Sophisticated Lady - The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Sarah VaughanSophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook CollectionOJC2013 Some long-ago forgotten jazz magazine once went out on a limb to name the most important figures in jazz history. It went something like this (chronologically): Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. That is a nice and succinct list that many could defend or deny. Breaking things down further, who might be the most important female jazz vocalist? Bessie Smith could be considered if one neglects her strong blues creds. Billie Holiday would be on this ...

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August 29, 2013

John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

John ColtraneAfro Blue ImpressionsOJC1963/2013 When considering the panoply of music living beneath the banner of Concord Music Group, there should be no problem understanding the company's reissue policy, which has been curious. Any wrinkles in such logic smooth out when anniversaries are celebrated. Concord recently acknowledged what is the first of several remastered groups of recordings celebrating Riverside Records 60th anniversary with the copious release of remastered albums of Julian Cannonball Adderley's 1959 Things Are Getting Better, guitarist Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar, trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best ...

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August 23, 2013

Cannonball Adderley & Milt Jackson: Things Are Getting Better

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Cannonball Adderley & Milt JacksonThings Are Getting BetterOJC1959/2013 Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley's 1959 Things Are Getting Better joins guitarist Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar!, trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and Gerry Mulligan's Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in re-issue celebrating the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. Adderley was in much demand in the late 1950s, being part of Miles Davis' great sextet that would record Milestones (Columbia, 1958), 1958 Miles (Columbia, 1958) and Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959). In ...

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August 20, 2013

Bill Evans Trio: How My Heart Sings

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

The Bill Evans TrioHow My Heart SingsOJC1962/2013 Pianist Bill Evans' 1962 Riverside recording How My Heart Sings concludes the first wave of re-issues celebrating the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. The previous releases include: alto saxophonist Julian Cannonball Adderley's 1959 Things Are Getting Better, guitarist Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar!, trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013). This series frames recordings released between 1957 and 1962, giving witness to the productivity and gravity of ...

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August 19, 2013

Wes Montgomery: So Much Guitar!

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Wes MontgomerySo Much Guitar!OJC1962/2013 Wes Montgomery's So Much Guitar! continues the latest round of re-releases/re-masters from the Concord Music Group, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. So Much Guitar! follows the re-releases of singer and trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe (OJC/Riverside, 1959/2013) and Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in the label's birthday celebration. Montgomery enjoyed a productive stay at Riverside between 1958 and 1963, making many of his most memorable recordings. So Much Guitar! falls between the release of 1960's breakthrough ...

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July 26, 2013

Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Chet BakerChet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & LoeweOJC1959/2013 The newest round of re-releases/remasters from the Concord Music Group celebrate the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. Singer and trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe joins Mulligan Meets Monk (OJC/Riverside, 1957/2013) in the label's birthday celebration. Plays The Best Of Lerner & Loewe can easily be considered a sequel and one half of a creative diptych with Chet (Riverside, 1959). On top of the jazz world a mere five years previously, Baker was amid one ...

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July 21, 2013

Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk: Mulligan Meets Monk

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious MonkMulligan Meets MonkOJC2013 (1957) The beauty of the Concord Music Group's treasure trove of a catalog is that it will always provide material for the “Reassessing" column at All About Jazz and similar columns elsewhere. The newest round of re-releases celebrate the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. Riverside Records was founded by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer in 1953, remaining a major force in jazz recording in New York City for a decade, when Grauer perished from a heart attack and the label declared bankruptcy. The catalog ...

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August 4, 2012

Santana: Welcome

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By JEFF WINBUSH

SantanaWelcomeColumbia1973 Once upon a time there was a guitar god who had grown bored with all his fame, riches and glory. He longed for something more than another multi-platinum selling record. He desired not simply acclaim, but respect. He knew to get it he would have to walk away from the distinctive style that made him popular and wealthy. It was a risk to confuse his band and his fans by making a radical change in his musical direction. But he did it anyway and broke up the classic version of his ...

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July 22, 2012

Lee Konitz and Martial Solal: Star Eyes 1983

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By C. MICHAEL BAILEY

Lee Konitz and Martial SolalStar Eyes 1983Hatology2009 Even in his eighties, pianist Martial Solal has proven to be the Higgs' Boson of jazz. He readily demonstrates the substantial mass he brings to music most recently on his uniformly excellent Live at the Village Vanguard: I Can't Give You Anything But Love (Cam Jazz, 2008). This recording is sub-atomic, elemental jazz ,or, in the literary vernacular, post-modern, deconstructive jazz. Solal dismantled the Great American Songbook, revealing the provocative intellect and seamy interior of this great songwriting. He also demonstrated that free improvisation can ...

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March 31, 2012

Roy Eldridge: In Paris

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By THOMAS CARROLL

Roy EldridgeIn ParisVogue1951Trumpeter Roy Eldridge left the United States for Paris in 1950 fearing that the emergence of bebop, which he had strongly influenced, would make his more traditional style of playing obsolete and lose him his formerly adoring audiences. Eldridge did not stay in Paris for as long as some of his colleagues, but he managed to produce some fine, swinging recordings during his time abroad. In Paris documents two vibrant, gem-filled, European recording sessions and still sounds hip over 60 years after it was made.The album, which also ...

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