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Erskine Hawkins: And His Tuxedo Junction Orchestra

Read "And His Tuxedo Junction Orchestra" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

People rarely recognize the state of Alabama as the birthplace of some of the most important American celebrities of all time such as Truman Capote, Willie Mays and Joe Louis. Since it remains unclear as to whether the great Lionel Hampton was born in Alabama or Kentucky, the title of reigning Alabama jazz champion belongs to trumpeter/composer Erskine Hawkins, who died 15 years ago in November, 1993. Hawkins began his career in Montgomery as a member (and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Benny Goodman: 40th Anniversary Concert (Live at Carnegie Hall)

Read "40th Anniversary Concert (Live at Carnegie Hall)" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

One autumn day in 1978, a sprightly 69-year-old Benny Goodman decided on a whim that he wanted to 'book' Carnegie Hall for a gig commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the landmark performance held and so famously-recorded there for the Columbia label in 1938. That show registered as the first official full-length jazz program ever held at the hallowed venue. Tickets for the anniversary gig sold out in a matter of hours, with no advertising or even a formal announcement. Goodman's ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ray Russell Quartet: Turn Circle

Read "Turn Circle" reviewed by Roger Farbey

Vocalion has done it again, with a long overdue reissue of Ray Russell's first album Turn Circle (originally released in on the CBS Realm series), and superbly remastered by Michael J. Dutton. Russell is probably the most heinously undervalued jazz guitarist in the world, which is ironic because he is undoubtedly one of the best. His style is his own, sounding like no other guitarist.This album, recorded in 1968, is quite beautiful and the rather quaint cover art ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Harry Beckett: Warm Smiles / Themes For Fega.

Read "Warm Smiles / Themes For Fega." reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Although Europe has produced many an accomplished and innovative jazz musician, a great number of ultra-talented ones remain in obscurity. Vocalion puts the spotlight on one such forgotten genius, British trumpeter Harry Beckett. The double CD combines the latter two of his three sessions for RCA; which were not only his debut recordings as a leader but also remain the most critically acclaimed of all his work. Each CD is, in fact, a straight reissue of each album: 1971's Warm ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

John Surman: How Many Clouds Can You See?

Read "How Many Clouds Can You See?" reviewed by John Kelman

While woodwind multi-instrumentalist John Surman's eponymous debut was a strange mixture of everything from free improvisation to calypso, his second date, 1970's How Many Clouds Can You See?, is a much more focused affair. Surman clearly references one of his roots, John Coltrane, albeit on an instrument that the legendary saxophonist never played.

Surman plays bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, but the baritone has always been his main axe. Here he uses it to put a personal spin on music ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Maynard Ferguson: MF Horn 2 / The Ballad Style

Read "MF Horn 2 / The Ballad Style" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The two albums on this CD reissue from Vocalion were recorded during trumpeter Maynard Ferguson's “English period (1968-72). It was a time when Ferguson was trying a number of new things, some of which worked, and some of which didn't. The first eight tracks are from MF Horn 2, the others from The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson.

As one can readily hear on MF Horn, Ferguson had turned away from more traditional jazz and popular standards and toward such ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Pete Cater Big Band: The Right Time

Read "The Right Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Pete Cater is arguably Great Britain's foremost big-band drummer, and The Right Time is yet another album--this would be the third, and second on Vocalion--of swinging, straight-ahead jazz by Cater and his ebullient ensemble from across the pond. As for the title, it should go without saying that any time is the right time to kick back and enjoy a pleasurable hour of top-of-the-line music by one of the UK's most proficient bands.

Cater's unequivocal approach, modeled after the standard ...


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