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The most interesting of the initial three Savoy Jazz reissues is the Modern Red Norvo release. This long overdue collection features Norvo’s virtuostic vibraphone playing, but while he comes from the big band school (having played with Paul Whitehead orchestra), the personel that surround Norvo provide a fascinating glimpse into an artist and a music in transition.
Not concerned with whether a particular artist fit his style, it is apparent that Norvo on these two sessions was looking for musicians that could play and play brilliantly.
The collection begins with a very compelling collection for his Sextet. While Norvo enlisted musicians from his era such as Teddy Wilson and Slam Stewart, he augmented them with none other than Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. On paper, this pairing shouldn’t work, but upon hitting the play button, it is more than evident that the musicians were there to serve the music not their particular styles and the result is nothing short of wonderful.
Next series of recordings stem from three trio sessions in which Norvo played with Tal Farlow on guitar and a bassist he hunted down and found working at a Los Angeles post office named Charles Mingus. Again, the same prejudice exists looking at the line-up, but again, the sessions turn up some tasty recording and even interesting alternate takes.
What makes the release one of the best in the series is not only the gems that it includes, but the detailed liner notes from the producers. You follow them as they painstakingly recount their journey collecting and annotating this collection.
A joyous surprise lies in-store for all who listen!!
Track Listing: Disc One
1. Congo Blues - Take C (master)
2. Congo Blues - Take B (alt)
3. Hallelujah - Take F (master)
4. Hallelujah - Take E (alt)
5. Slam Slam Blues - Take B (master)
6. Slam Slam Blues (alt)
7. Get Happy - Take D (master)
8. Get Happy - Take B (alt)
9. Swedish Pastry
10. Swedish Pastry - alt
11. Cheek to Cheek
12. Cheek to Cheek - alt.
13. Cheek to Cheek - Take 5 - alt., unissued
14. Night and Day
15. Night and Day - alt.
16. Time and Tide
17. Prelude to a Kiss
18. 'Deed I Do
19. Mood Indigo
20. Mood Indigo - alt, unissued
1. September Song
3. I've Got You Under My Skin
4. I'll Remember April
5. I'll Remember April - LP master
6. I Get a Kick Out of You
7. I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me
8. Little White Lies
9. Have You Met Miss Jones?
10. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
11. If I Had You - Take 4
12. If I had You - Take 2
13. This Can't Be Love - Take 3
14. This Can't Be Love - Take 1
15. This Can't Be Love - Take 2
16-19. God Child
20-21. I'm Yours
Personnel: Red Norvo - vibes
Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet
Charlie Parker - alto sax
Flip Phillips - tenor sax
Teddy Wilson - piano
Slam Stewart - bass
J.C. Heard - drums
Tal Farow - guitar
Charles Mingus - bass
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.