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Reassessing

REASSESSING

Full House

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Wes Montgomery's recording of his June 25, 1962 live performance at the Tsubo Jazz Club in Berkeley, California intersects significantly with two recent Resonance releases. One intersection involves the Wynton Kelly trio, comprised of pianist Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. It was with this same trio that Montgomery would record his essential Wynton Kelly Trio with Wes Montgomery: Smokin' at the Half Note (Verve, 1965) and then, later, be captured with on Smokin' in Seattle: Live At ...

REASSESSING

Of Things Not Seen

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How Jeff Baker avoided full coverage at All About Jazz is beyond me, but now is a fine time to write this wrong. In 2009, Baker took a professional and stylistic chance in producing a jazz treatment of songs from the American Christian Songbook, Of Things Not Seen. He had worked up to this bold statement with his preceding recordings: Baker Sings Chet (OA2, 2004); Monologue (OA2, 2005); and Shopping for Your Heart (OA2, 2007). Proving deft and smart with ...

REASSESSING

Shorty Rogers: Short Stops

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In the 1980s, trumpeter and Kenton alum Mike Vax put together a Supersax-type group called TRPTS. It released an album of harmonized trumpet classics, one of which was “Short Stop." There are lots of great tunes including “Night in Tunisia," “Trumpet Blues and Cantabile," and “Heckler's Hop." Oh yeah, one I never heard, Shorty Rogers' Short Stop. Really? How do you get to 35 years of age, listen to jazz almost daily, and not know about Shorty Rogers? I vaguely ...

REASSESSING

Oscar Peterson & Stephane Grappelli: Skol

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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 ...

REASSESSING

Dizzy Gillespie: Dizzy’s Big 4

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Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy's Big 4 OJC 1975/2013 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 ...

REASSESSING

Art Tatum: Solo Masterpieces, Volume One

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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 ...

REASSESSING

Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers

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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. ...

REASSESSING

Sarah Vaughan: Sophisticated Lady - The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection

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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 ...

REASSESSING

John Coltrane: Afro Blue Impressions

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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 ...