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Three classic Riverside recordings have been recently reissued: Bill Evans' solo debut New Jazz Conceptions , Cannonball Adderley and Milt Jackson's Things Are Getting Better and Chet Baker's Chet Baker Plays The Best of Lerner and Loewe. While only the Adderley/Jackson and Evans' reissues contain bonus tracks, all three have been remastered using 20-bit K2 super encoding and include excellent and insightful liner notes from the original release by Orrin Keepnews who either produced or co-produced each of these recordings for his Riverside label.
Bill Evans' New Jazz Conceptions marked the pianist and composer first outing as a leader. The recordings are in both trio and solo piano format. The three solo pieces ("I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)," "Waltz for Debby" and "My Romance") highlight Evans' mastery of his instrument and composition (especially with regard to rhythm and harmony) in an honest way. Bassist, Teddy Kotick and drummer Paul Motian add their dynamism to the recording and while not always approachable, this recording marks the beginning of an important and dynamic career and does contain some great moments in recorded jazz history. The reissue includes an extra version of "No Cover, No Minimum."
On Things Are Getting Better Cannonball Adderley and vibraphonist Milt Jackson, are joined by Wynton Kelly on piano, Art Blakey on drums and Percy Heath on bass. This recording highlights this quintets virtuositic grouping into a delightful bop experience. Tracks of note include the title song, "Sidewalks of New York" and the fifth take of "Serves Me Right." In addition to the original seven tracks, this reissue features two additional tracks, "Serves Me Right (Take 4)" and "The Sidewalks of New York (Take 4)."
Chet Baker's exploration of the repertoire of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's works from such movies as "My Fair Lady," "Brigadoon," "Paint Your Wagon" and "Gigi" is both intimate and cool. Baker assembles an excellent cast that includes Herbie Mann on flute, Zoot Sims on saxophones, and Bill Evans on piano. While Plays the Best of Lerner & Loewe didn't have the historical impact as either New Jazz Conceptions or Things Are Getting Better , as a recording, it proved to be a wonderful Baker outing, and serves as a fine example of mainstream jazz from the 1950's.
While all the recordings sound great with the 20-bit remastering and two of the three contain bonus material, these reissues would have been better served with additional notes. Perhaps in addition to the original Keepnews essays, the albums could have contained more in depth and retrospective discussion to better frame the artist and the recording during that particular period of time.
New Jazz Conceptions
1. I Love You 2. Five (Evans) 3. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) 4. Conception 5. Easy Living 6. Displacement 7. Speak Low 8. Waltz for Debby 9. Our Delight 10. My Romance 11. No Cover, No Minimum [Take 2] 12. No Cover, No Minimum [*]
Things Are Getting Better
1. Blues Oriental 2. Things Are Getting Better 3. Serves Me Right [Take 5] 4. Groovin' High 5. The Sidewalks of New York [Take 5] 6. Sounds for Sid 7. Just One of Those Things 8. Serves Me Right 9. The Sidewalks of New York
Plays the Best of Lerner & Loewe
1. I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face 2. I Could Have Danced All Night 3. The Heather on the Hill (From Brigadoon) 4. On the Street Where You Live 5. Almost Like Being in Love 6. Thank Heaven for Little Girls (From Gigi) 7. I Talk to the Trees 8. Show Me (From My Fair Lady)
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.