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This release hawks the virtues of the Blue Port label's first eight releases by whetting the appetite with samples from each of the albums. Featuring a stable of fine jazz musicians, mostly from the West Coast, all of whom offer absorbing and fresh renditions of mostly standard material, this CD allows the jazz fan to become acquainted with their talents before deciding which album to purchase.
There is not an unsatisfactory track on this CD. But some stand out more than others. Tenor saxophonist Noel Jewkes, with his quartet, manages to create a modern sound without losing the essence of the song he's playing. Listen to his haunting Film Noire soulful sax take the first chorus on Laura before moving into a John Coltrane ballad treatment of this lovely tune. His exploration of the tenor saxophonist's anthem, "Body and Soul", is intriguing, imaginative and introspective. Both of these cuts are from his BluePort album, If & When the Stars. Another album highlight is Nancy Marano's vocalizing on the medley of "Never Let Me Go"/"Goodbye". She does a lovely segue from the former to the latter as her dark, deep voice connects these two tunes writing a story which goes from pleading to resigned disappointment. She takes your breath away on this one. The album from which this medley is culled is Sure Thing. The melodic possibilities of the bass are thoroughly probed by Chris Colangelo on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and "Time Remembered". On the former he is joined by the minimalist piano of Jane Getz (no relation to Stan) who caused a stir in the 1960's when she recorded with both Charles Mingus and Pharoah Sanders before taking a long break from jazz.
In addition to the admirable musicality of this CD, the sound is outstanding due to the efforts of producer/engineer Jim Merod working with sound technology of Robert Lee. Thus, this sampler has achieved its purpose, tempting listeners to purchase the albums from which these cuts come. Whether or not one gives in the temptation, this sampler by itself is worth having.
Track Listing: Estat
Personnel: Allen Smith - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; Omar Clay - Percussion; Nancy Marano, Jackie Ryan, Steve Situm - Vocals; Mike Melvoin, Mike Wofford, Jane Getz - Piano; John Mosca - Trombone; Noel Jewkes - Tenor Sax; John Opferkuch - Piano; Jaime Valle - Guitar; Bob Magnusson, Rob Thorsen, Chris Conner, Trevor Ware, Chris Colangelo - Bass; Allan Phillips - Percussion; Dave Fielder - Alto Sax; Dave Hocker, Duncan Moore - Drums
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.