John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is one of the most compelling, spiritual testimonies in the history of jazz. The four-part suite, originally issued in 1965, can't be divorced from its cultural moment – based on the cadences of Bible psalms and the tenor saxman's own free verse, the album reflects the jazz world's growing embrace of Eastern ideas as well as the tumult of the American black-consciousness movement. ~ Rolling Stone Magazine
This splendid-sounding CD reissues a 1962 set from the Roy Haynes Quartet – which, at the time, consisted of Haynes, Henry Grimes on bass, Tommy Flanagan on piano, and Roland Kirk on saxes, manzello, stritch, and flutes. The album is a delightful mix of techniques in arrangement and performance, with all of the musicians delivering terrific work ~ AllMusic
Despite his advanced age and the chaos surrounding him, Richard Strauss remained highly productive well into the 1940s. As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1944-45, the eighty-year-old composer was working on his Oboe Concerto and Sonatina No. 2 for winds, as well as the Metamorphosen for strings. While the latter work was an explicit response to the destruction Strauss was witnessing, in the Concerto and the Sonatina the composer seemed to be turning his mind away from the events surrounding him. There is a pastoral quality to the oboe concerto, with a highly tuneful solo part and more than occasional touches of nostalgia for the 18th century. Similarly, Strauss headed the score of the sonatina with a dedication ‘to the spirit of the immortal Mozart at the end of a life full of thankfulness’.
Jimmy Scott, was an American jazz vocalist famous for his high countertenor voice and his sensitivity on ballads and love songs. Lionel Hampton gave him the nickname "Little Jimmy Scott" because he looked young and was short and of slight build. His phrasing made him a favorite of artists including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson.
Phil Woods is right at home during these 2002 sessions at Red Rock Recording Studio near his home in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. With his regular group (Bill Charlap, Steve Gilmore, and Bill Goodwin) minus trumpeter Brian Lynch, Woods adds strings conducted by his old friend Eric Doney on this collection of ballads. "And When We're Young" is the alto saxophonist's tribute to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated around the time it was written. The leader's lush alto gives way to a brisk Latin-flavored passage featuring powerful solos by violinist Andy Stein and Charlap on piano, while Woods humorously detours into "Nature Boy" upon his return. The strings introduce a lively arrangement of "It Never Entered My Mind," and another favorite of the alto saxophonist, "If I Should Lose You." Unlike many jazz recordings with strings, they complement rather than overwhelm the musicians. But it is almost impossible for a Phil Woods-led date to turn out less than excellent.
Celebrated as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, Australian artist Nicki Parrott has earned acclaim as one of the most engaging talents to emerge on the jazz scene in the 21st century. Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1970, Parrott had a precocious talent for music, first learning to play the piano when she was four years old.
Since his stunning debut in 1974 with the now world-famous audiophile recordings for the Three Blind Mice label, Japanese pianist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto has built a career that now spans four decades. His brand-new trio album What A Wonderful World follows his previous release Gentle Blues (VHCD-1118), his first recording for Venus Records in 14 years. In fact, the 12 tracks in this CD were recorded on the day after 10 tracks on Gentle Blues were recorded. It is remarkable that Yamamoto and his trio recorded enough materials for two CDs in two consecutive days, but then again, he is a veteran pianist who doesn't like to repeat himself and prefers to record everything in a single take.
Spectacular playing by Higgins accompanied and backed by Jay Leonhart on bass and Mark Taylor on drums. I will confess that my favorite drummer who was frequently a member of Higgins' trios was Joe Ascione, but Taylor is perfect on this album. If you are a Higgins fan, then you are probably familiar with Leonhart who is almost telepathically connected to Higgins.