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Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Read "A Charlie Brown Christmas" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

Only a handful of jazz albums find their way into the collections of music lovers who would never call themselves jazz fans. Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is one, Getz/Gilberto is another, and Coltrane's A Love Supreme also comes to mind. For Christmas time, though, the album is Vince Guaraldi's soundtrack to the 1965 special A ...


Donald Byrd: Byrd in Hand (RVG Edition)

Read "Byrd in Hand (RVG Edition)" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

Of the jazz trumpeters who blazed a trail during the 1950s and '60s, Donald Byrd has never really gotten his due. He came into his own at the same time as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, etc. were on the scene, unjustly diverting some attention away from Byrd. Yet a listen to a ...


Freddie Hubbard: Hub Cap (RVG Edition)

Read "Hub Cap (RVG Edition)" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

As was customary with Blue Note releases during the 1950s and '60s, the names of the musicians performing on Hub Cap are listed on the album’s front cover. The name of Freddie Hubbard, the leader, is--not surprisingly--most prominent. However, the factor that elevates Hub Cap a notch above similarly styled LPs released at the time is ...


Gene Ammons: Angel Eyes

Read "Angel Eyes" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

Gene Ammons’ Angel Eyes leaves a nagging feeling that it was thrown together and dumped onto the marketplace with little or no thought. After all, when Angel Eyes was released in 1965, Ammons was in the middle of serving a long jail term for narcotics possession. These tunes are culled from two separate sessions, done in ...


Miles Davis: Porgy and Bess

Read "Porgy and Bess" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

In jazz, only a handful of albums never lose their lustre. Each listening is a magical experience, no matter how familiar the material has become. The second collaboration between Miles Davis and Gil Evans, Porgy and Bess, is one such distinctive recording.

Davis and Evans’ recasting of the George Gershwin opera was their followup ...


Chick Corea: The Complete "Is" Sessions

Read "The Complete "Is" Sessions" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

Where is the dividing line between freedom and chaos in music? A jazz band can largely ignore chords, harmony and a consistent time signature and yet still produce something that’s a coherent and thrilling listen. Another jazz band, by comparison, can take the same approach and play something that’s incoherent and torture to experience.



Wayne Shorter: The Soothsayer

Read "The Soothsayer" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

The mid-1960's were a heady time for Wayne Shorter. Newly enshrined as the permanent heir to Coltrane in Miles Davis's working group, he was the final puzzle piece to the band that would spur Davis to some of the most fruitful years of his career. At the same time, Shorter was in the midst of recording ...


Oscar Peterson: An Oscar Peterson Christmas

Read "An Oscar Peterson Christmas" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

Like a delicious holiday turkey, An Oscar Peterson Christmas is nothing fancy, but easy to digest and something to look forward to every year. The legendary Canadian pianist works his way through fourteen Christmas standards with a quartet featuring Lorne Lofsky on guitar, Dave Young on bass and Jerry Fuller on drums. Guesting on a couple ...


Jimmy Smith: Christmas Cookin'

Read "Christmas Cookin'" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

On the cover of Jimmy Smith's 1964 Christmas album, the organist is decked out in a Santa suit behind the wheel of a red sports car with a tree and presents in tow. The irreverent and fun photograph is a good primer to the contents inside, for this is no hackneyed rundown of a group of ...


Cannonball Adderley: Cannonball Takes Charge

Read "Cannonball Takes Charge" reviewed by Robert Gilbert

The recording of Cannonball Takes Charge was sandwiched in between two events that would help earn Cannonball Adderley a permanent place in jazz lore. Just the day before the album’s first session, he participated in the completion of Miles Davis’s seminal Kind of Blue. Five months after Cannonball Takes Charge was finished, he had Riverside producer ...