The Complete Jazz Guitar Method - Vol.1/4: Beginning Jazz Guitar (Book & CD) …
This single CD contains 12 performances by pianist Russ Freeman (with either Joe Mondragon or Monty Budwig on bass and drummer Shelly Manne) plus the one regular studio session (eight songs) that illfated pianist Richard Twardzik led (in a trio with bassist Carson Smith and drummer Peter Littman). Due to its rarity, the Twardzik date is more important historically but actually Freeman generally takes solo honors. Fine, straight-ahead music from two of the mid-'50s' more promising pianists.
Other than a Bethlehem album in 1955 and a few obscure titles, all of vibraphonist Joe Roland's recordings as a leader are on this enjoyable CD reissue. Roland, best-known for an early '50s stint with George Shearing's Quintet, was a excellent vibist whose style fell somewhere between Terry Gibbs and Milt Jackson. He is paired in two 1954 quintets with either Freddie Redd (who plays conventional bop) and Wade Legge (sounding at his most eccentric) on piano. However the most memorable set is from 1950 for Roland is joined by guitar (Joe Puma), bass, drums and a string quartet. The writing for the strings (which is uncredited) is quite inventive and, although the strings do not solo, they sound very much like a jazz ensemble. It is particularly interesting to hear this instrumentation playing "Half Nelson," "Dee Dee's Dance" and Roland's original "Sally Is Gone"; guest singer Paula Castle does a fine job on the haunting "Love Is Just a Plaything." Recommended.
The original Chico Hamilton Quintet was one of the last significant West Coast jazz bands of the cool era. Consisting of Buddy Collette on reeds (flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor), guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Carson Smith, and the drummer/leader, the most distinctive element in the group's identity was cellist Fred Katz. The band could play quite softly, blending together elements of bop and classical music into their popular sound and occupying their own niche. This six-CD, limited-edition box set from 1997 starts off with a Hamilton drum solo from a 1954 performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet; it contains three full albums and many previously unreleased numbers) by the original Chico Hamilton band and also has quite a few titles from the second Hamilton group (which has Paul Horn and John Pisano in the places of Collette and Hall).