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Buddy Collette: Four Classic Albums

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Like many of his fellow West Coast musicians, Buddy Collette was proficient on multiple instruments. He could play alto and tenor sax, but tended toward the clarinet and the flute for most of his recording career. His solo records were as light and effortless as most jam form the West Coast tended to be at the time, and they are very pleasant, if a bit toothless at times. There's no doubt that Collette was a main figure of the West ...

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Bob Cooper: Four Classic Albums

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Bob Cooper was one of the greats of the fifties West Coast scene. He was a formidable improviser whose proficiency on multiple instruments made him highly sought after for studio work, and was also a talented arranger whose had plenty of work in the studio on both big band and small group recordings. However, he seldom recorded as a leader, and most of the sessions he did record have been out of print for a long time or never released ...

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Teddy Edwards: Four Classic Albums

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Teddy Edwards was a formidable tenor player on the '50s and '60s West Coast scene with a warm and congenial tone reflected the laid-back thoughtfulness of the West Coast scene with enough soul to indicate he was listening some Coleman Hawkins in the midst of the Lester Young platters. His own recordings were a typical mix of originals and standards, many of which were brief enough to fit comfortably on a 78. After being sidelined for a few years with ...

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Red Norvo: Four Classic Albums

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Red Norvo played the vibes while leading his own band during the swing era and grew into smaller groups in the forties and fifites once the practicality of leading a large ensemble became too much. He was one of the first to specialize of what has always been somewhat of an unusual instrument for jazz, but his nimble soloing and chords provided a template for others like Milt Jackson to follow. The four sessions collected here are from his fifties ...

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Roland Kirk: Four Classic Albums

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Roland Kirk was arguably the most exciting soloist the jazz world has ever seen. Blind since childhood, Kirk developed a unique sensitivity to sound that he parlayed into all sorts of interesting ideas, most notably the ability to play two or three instruments simultaneously. For a while the vaudeville nature of this trick overshadowed his prodigious talents as a soloist. He was capable of great tenderness as well as bursts of aggressive lines and knew how to construct a solo ...

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Dave Pell: Four Classic Albums

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If you were to wander up and down the West Coast in the fifties you were more likely to find Dave Pell playing dances on college campuses than in clubs. Despite filling his octet with seasoned musicians who could really cut loose when given the chance, Pell's studio recordings always have a hint of crepe and balloons about them. They represent the extremely well-mannered style of West Coast jazz,and are pleasant almost to a fault.The first ...

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Lee Konitz: Four Classic Albums

Read "Lee Konitz: Four Classic Albums" reviewed by David Rickert

Besides being one of the few altoists that emerged in the 1950s that doesn't sound like Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz was a true musical adventurer whose explorations in free jazz, electronic instruments, and just all around anything goes sessions resulted in some of the most exciting music that came out of the fifties and beyond. His playing, which is marked by a detachment and intellectualism that can sound rehearsed, isn't for everyone, but there's no doubt that Konitz has, and ...

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Bud Shank: Four Classic Albums

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Bud ShankFour Classic AlbumsAvid Records UK2012Bud Shank is typical of the jazz musicians that roamed the West Coast in the fifties in that he was able to work comfortably in a variety of settings: big bands, the studio, and clubs. Like many of the other players, Shank also played more than one instrument, which made him a valuable member of the bandstand and afforded his solo recordings a bit more variety than ...

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Mel Powell: Four Classic Albums Plus

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Mel PowellFour Classic Albums PlusAvid Records2012 Mel Powell replaced Teddy Wilson in the piano chair in the Benny Goodman band, took over the Glenn Miller Orchestra after the leader's demise, and followed both gigs with a career in the studios as a pianist and arranger. Then in the 1950s, he made the bold move to give up his career to study composition with Paul Hindemith and emerged five years later with a ...

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Andre Previn: Four Classic Albums

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Andre PrevinFour Classic AlbumsAvid Group 2011 Andre Previn may not be as well known as fellow West Coast pianists Vince Guaraldi and Dave Brubeck, but he nevertheless created a respectable body of work, mostly as a trio with drummer Shelly Manne, with whom he created a series of recordings where they swapped the leader role back and forth. This compilation collects four of Previn's sessions from the West Coast heyday of ...

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Johnny Hodges: Second Set

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Johnny Hodges Second Set Avid Records 2011 Alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges left Duke Ellington's band in 1951 feeling underappreciated and underpaid and convinced that he would have better luck on his own. Unfortunately he was never able to turn his considerable artistry into a lucrative career, and was back with Ellington in a few years for good. Working with Ellington was definitely where he belonged; his fluttering, gusty sound was one of the benchmarks ...

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Django Reinhardt: Four Classic Albums Plus

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The legend of Django Reinhardt is the stuff of jazz folklore; the nomadic gypsy had limited use of the fingers on his left hand, yet still managed to create blistering solos, all while creating some of the best jazz to come out of Europe. In fact, Reinhardt spawned his own style, and like many a folk hero, there are those who aspired to his level of musicianship yet come up lacking. Reinhardt's music still sounds fresh and ...