Concord Music Group will release five new titles in its Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, several bonus tracks on nearly each disc (some previously unreleased) and new liner notes providing historical context to the original material, the series celebrates the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records, the prolific New York-based label that showcased some of the most influential jazz artists and recordings of the 1950s and '60s.
Kid Ory was one of the great New Orleans pioneers, an early trombonist who virtually defined the "tailgate" style (using his horn to play rhythmic bass lines in the front line behind the trumpet and clarinet) and who was fortunate enough to last through the lean years so he could make a major comeback in the mid-'40s. Originally a banjoist, Ory soon switched to trombone and by 1911 was leading a popular band in New Orleans. Among his trumpeters during the next eight years were Mutt Carey, King Oliver and a young Louis Armstrong and his clarinetists included Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet, and Jimmie Noone. In 1919, Ory moved to California and in 1922 (possibly 1921) recorded the first two titles by a Black New Orleans jazz band ("Ory's Creole Trombone" and "Society Blues") under the band title of Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra. In 1925 he moved to Chicago, played regularly with King Oliver, and recorded many classic sides with Oliver, Louis Armstrong (in his Hot Five and Seven), and Jelly Roll Morton, among others.
Hopefully, the reappearance of this revelatory 1956 record will force many critics and musicians to reconsider Brubeck's stature in the world of jazz piano. Recorded late at night in his Oakland, California, home, it was Brubeck's first full solo-piano recording and also his first all-original record, and it illustrates his marvelously elegant fusion of classical and cocktail conceptions. Brubeck understands blues and swing, but he uses these elements as tools for effect, not as default settings. Brubeck instead offers a fuller palette of emotions and ideas--playful, sober, stern, happy, pensive, cerebral. While "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke" have become standards, the album includes obscure gems such as the minisuite "Two-Part Contention," with its many tempo, mood, and stylistic turns, and the discreetly swinging "Walkin' Line," although he lapses into melodrama with "Weep No More." Still, on "The Duke" (originally titled "The Duke Meets Darius Milhaud"), it's fascinating to hear how easily and smoothly he fits all 12 scale notes into his opening bass figure. As he himself points out in the brilliant original notes , the marriage of European music and American music dates back to New Orleans jazzmen such as King Oliver. And to dismiss any notions of intellectualism in jazz would be a great insult to everyone from Oliver to Charlie Parker to John Lewis to Bill Evans to Sun Ra. This is the jazz of Brubeck's own experience, and while it may sound too poised and polished for some tastes, it is honestly his and must be viewed as such.Marc Greilsamer, Amazon.com
A decent but short (nine songs) late '60s set, with somewhat sparser production than he'd employ with the beefier arrangements of the "Thrill Is Gone" era…
By the time Oliver Nelson and his big band had recorded Fantabulous in March of 1964 for Argo, the great composer, saxophonist, conductor, and arranger was a man about town in New York. He had released some truly classic dates of his own as a leader in smaller group forms – Blues and the Abstract Truth and Full Nelson among them – and had done arrangement work for everyone from Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Hodges, Nancy Wilson, Frank Wess, King Curtis, Etta Jones, Jimmy Smith, Jack Teagarden, Betty Carter, Billy Taylor, and Gene Ammons, to name more than a few. For Fantabulous, he took his working big band to Chicago for a gig sponsored by Daddy-O-Daylie, a famous local disc jockey.