Like many of the independent jazz labels, the major-label Telarc is beginning to produce compilation discs culled from their considerable inventory of music. The immense popularity of the Now that's What I Call Music series in the pop music arena is hope to translate into the jazz arena. Compilations offer a number of pluses. Properly assembled, they provide the listener, novice or pro, a cross section of a catalog. The listener can then choose favorite genres and then explore them in greater detail. Of course, this is exactly what the record companies want the public to do. And that is not bad because it promotes jazz.
Telarc has release Signature Songs, a collection from their archives of songs that are firmly associated with some of jazz's brightest luminaries. George Shearing presents his "Lullaby of Birdland" from his Telarc release, That Shearing Sound (Telarc 83347). Dave Brubeck offers a live nine-minute "Take Five" from Double Live, Dave Brubeck from the USA and UK (Telarc 83400). Erroll Garner's "Misty is included from the Dreamstreet & One World Concert (Telarc 83340 ). Signature Songs also sports two previously unreleased songs, Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" with Eric Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops and Ahmad Jamal's "Poinciana."
As far as compilations like this go, Signature Songs is effective. None of the pieces are the definitive performances. They all, however, give the listener a glimpse at the depth and breadth of jazz and for that reason are valuable.
Track Listing: Lullaby of Birdland: George Shearing - Piano; Louis Stewart - Guitar; Neil Swainson - Bass; Steve Nelson - Vibraphone; Dennis Mackrell - Drums; Minnie the Moocher: Cab Calloway - Vocals; Erich Kunzel & the Cincinnati Pops Orch.; Take Five: Dave Brubeck - Piano; Bobby Militello - Alto Sax; Jack Six - Bass; Randy Jones - Drums; Con Alma: Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet; Danilo Perez - Piano; George Mraz - Bass; Antonio Hart - Alto Sax; Lewis Nash - Drums; Poinciana: Ahmad Jamal - Piano; John Heard - Bass; Yoron Israel - Drums; Mumbles: Clark Terry - Vocal/Fluegelhorn; Oscar Peterson - Piano; Herb Ellis - Guitar; Niels Hennings-Orsted Pedersen - Bass; Lewis Nash - Drums; Misty: Erroll Garner - Piano; Eddie Calhoun - Bass; Kelly Martin - Drums; Flyin' Home: Lionel Hampton - Vibes; Clark Terry - Trumpet/ Flugelhorn; Harry "Sweets" Edison -Trumpet; James Moody, Buddy Tate - Tenor Sax; Al Grey - Trombone; Hank Jones - Piano; Milt Hinton - Bass; Grady Tate - Drums; New York, New York: Liza Minelli - Vocal
Personnel: George Shearing, Cab Calloway; Dave Brubeck; Dizzy Gillespie; Ahmad Jamal; Clark Terry; Erroll Garner; Lionel Hampton; Liza Minnelli.