Although an earlier CD added five previously unissued tracks to the original LP Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, this Verve Master Edition two-CD set adds just about everything else recorded during the two sessions that produced the original record, and also features 20-bit sound. Even though Gerry Mulligan was outspoken against issuing material omitted from his original recordings, it is a treat to hear how the songs evolved in the studio. Webster and Mulligan seem mutually inspired throughout the sessions, and strong performances by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis are of considerable help.
Personally I feel that this CD, which does not contain *all* of the famous tracks recorded by Mulligan and Webster together, is nevertheless quite adequate for anyone who wants a good, representative sample of what they achieved.
Starting in the late '50s, Gerry Mulligan recorded a series of encounters with fellow saxophonists that included such immortals as Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster. In 1986 he resumed the practice for this one date on which his baritone is matched with the tenor of the young great Scott Hamilton. The music, which includes warm ballads and fairly hot romps (five of the seven songs are Mulligan originals), consistently swing and are quite enjoyable.
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.
This aptly named set was recorded on November 28, 1972, in Barcelona, Spain. Although many of Ben Webster's European sessions suffered when compared to his American ones, this outing is one of the exceptions, due in no small part to the fluid piano work of Tete Montoliu. Supported by a rhythm section of Eric Peter on bass and Peer Wyboris on drums, both Webster and Montoliu have plenty of room to breathe, and the result is a wonderful and pleasant set highlighted by the opening track, "Ben's Blues," and an easy, elegant version of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Webster's trademark breathy tenor sax tone is in full supply here, but the real revelation is Montoliu, who proves to be a marvelous jazz pianist, making Gentle Ben somewhat of an overlooked gem.
Verve 60th Anniversary Rare Albums SHM-CD Reissue Series. Reissue with SHM-CD format. Two different sides of Verve Records in the 50s – one modern, one a bit more traditional – and both represented in live material from the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957! Side one features a stunning live performance from pianist Teddy Wilson – working in a tight trio with Milt Hinton on bass and Spec Powell on drums – and really blowing away any conceptions we might have had about Wilson being aging or flowery at the time. Instead, he's got a sharp edge and command of the keys that's amazing – and which almost seems to have a bit more bite than usual in this concert setting.