Introducing Concord’s Jazz Heritage Series of 29 individual compilations, is a sampler that contains 29 tracks to match the collection’s volumes. At almost two and a half hours, with a suggested retail price of $10.98, the introductory sampler serves as a smart shopper’s bargain – that is, if one doesn’t already own the material from which it is drawn. An inexpensive sampler provides a listener with something to acquaint himself/herself with music of a broad scope while permitting opinions to form. The danger lies, of course, in that act of forming an opinion by listening to only one track. From the sampler, however, one would step to a compilation album for more exposure. Beyond that, further adventures include poring through online catalogues with credit card in hand for hours on end, and enjoying the fruits of your labor incessantly. Life just doesn’t get any better.
Saxophonist Scott Hamilton performs "Some of These Days" with small ensemble. The Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, and Charlie Byrd) present "Lover." Barney Kessel performs "I’m On My Way" as a gentle bossa with support from pianist Jimmy Rowles, drummer Jake Hanna, and with a vibraphone feature by Victor Feldman. Herb Ellis and Joe Pass perform "Look for the Silver Lining" from Concord’s inaugural release (1973) with Jake Hanna, and bassist Ray Brown. Kenny Burrell and Charlie Byrd perform acoustic guitar favorites "Lotus Blossom" and "Mama, I’ll Be Home Someday" respectively, while Jim Hall’s electric guitar spreads sunshine "All Across the City." Mel Torme’s "Born to be Blue" is performed before a live audience with piano and bass. Rosemary Clooney sings "I’ll Be Seeing You" with strings, and featuring the cornet of Warren Vache. Singer Ernie Andrews appears with the Frank Capp Juggernaut on "Take the ‘A’ Train." Ray Brown’s "The Real Blues," Ernestine Anderson’s "Someone Else Is Steppin’ In," Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham’s "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On," and the "Old Funky Gene’s" of Gene Harris instill a lot of spirit to the sampler. Pianist’s Marian McPartland, George Shearing, Tania Maria, and Dave McKenna are represented with instrumental favorites. Poncho Sanchez’s octet offers "La Familia" from his 1988 Concord Picante album of the same name. Woody Herman’s big band features Stan Getz on a lovely arrangement of "The Dolphin." Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers is represented with "Second Thoughts," which features the early ‘90s trumpet sound of Terence Blanchard and pianist Mulgrew Miller. For a lighter "west coast cool" approach, The L.A.Four (guitarist Laurindo Almeida, flutist Bud Shank, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelly Manne) perform "Rondo Expressivo." Ruby Braff presents "Here’s Carl," a tribute to the late Carl Jefferson, who founded Concord Jazz in 1972 and produced the sessions from which the Jazz Heritage Series is culled.