Long overdue - and totally great! This beautiful 2CD set brings together all the early jazz recordings of Sacha Distel - an artist who went onto become a pop vocalist in 60s France, but who was a great jazz guitarist in his early days! Distel was a key part of the transition in French jazz of the 50s - as he took the guitar, and played in a style that was much more modern than that of older Parisian players - especially Django Reinhardt. His playing had a clean and clear approach that was really great, and which shines anew again in this excellent package. The set features work from the following sessions: an orchestral date with backing by Billy Byers; a quintet session with Bobby Jaspar; another quintet date with Hubert Fol on piano; the soundtrack to the Roger Vadim film Les 7 Peches Capitaux; and a stunning album recorded in 1968 with Slide Hampton. This last session is especially great, as it was a "back to jazz" date for Distel, and featured some great orchestrations that mixed together light orchestrations from Hampton, breezy guitar, and even a bit of bossa. The set's got a total of 26 tracks on 2CDs, and titles include "Saki", "Marina", "Blue Waltz De L'Orgueil", "Half Nelson", "Stop & Go", "No Sad Song For Sacha", "Competition", "Scotch Bop", and "A Piece Of Pizza". (From the Jazz CD (A-D) page.)
An early Blakey line-up in the years before Mobley/Timmons came on the scene – late 1957. Lets get real here, there is no world shortage of Art Blakey records. The interest is in Hardman and Griffin, a punchy and vigorous front line.
The names of Johann Sebastian Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff do not necessarily conjure images and sounds of jazz in one's mind, that is until one has listened to recordings by the Classical Jazz Quartet. Although these musicians utilize the same instruments as the Modern Jazz Quartet, they are in no way clones or copycats of that groundbreaking group. They have very much their own sound and style. This is not surprising given the huge talent of the musicians involved; all four are virtuosos on their respective instruments. The themes, although composed in a different time and place, become excellent vehicles for complex, sometimes, bluesy, often swinging and always fresh improvisations in the hands of these musicians. And although one might think of any recording billed as "classical meets jazz" as background music, this music definitely is not. The double CD consists of the group's three previously released recordings, plus one bonus track featuring their interpretation of Handel's Hallelujah.
The Uptown Jazz Tentet is one of the most dynamic large jazz ensembles to emerge in 2016. Founded and led collaboratively by trumpeter Brandon Lee and trombonists Willie Applewhite & James Burton III, the band is comprised of ten of the most venerable and ubiquitous young sidemen in all of jazz. The compositional styles of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Quincy Jones, Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis inform the ethos of this powerhouse group, shaping the band's unique and unmistakable sound.
Previously available only on a limited Japanese edition. These two sessions were produced by Lee Kraft in 1957 featuring the inimitable tenor saxophonist John Coltrane in two different formats; a quintet with Donald Byrd, Walter Bishop, Jr., Wendell Marshall and Art Blakey, and a 15-piece big band organized by Blakey. Coltrane was featured prominently in both settings and played exceptionally throughout. While the other soloists were all top-notch musicians, Coltranes compositions and performance clearly stole the show. His solos were powerful and confident, ripping out sequences of 16th note lines that soared over the full range of the horn with complete command.
For those who like a little mysticism and classical influence in their smooth jazz, Japanese-born composer and keyboardist Keiko Matsui has long been the ticket. She was Billboard's number one Independent Contemporary Jazz Artist in 1997 and is the top New Adult Contemporary female instrumentalist of her time. In the early days (she's up to 14 albums now), Matsui did it with a mix of thunderous film score-like sweeps, elegant and jazzy piano command, and a guest sax solo here and there to score some radio hits. On The Ring, she continues her recent trend of all those same elements and gorgeous melodies without concern for pop airplay considerations.
Duke Ellington recorded for Brunswick from 1926 to 1931, the period in which his great talent and great orchestra first flowered, whether the band was recording under his own name or such pseudonyms as the Washingtonians or the Jungle Band. The earliest recordings are highlighted by the presence of trumpeter Bubber Miley and trombonist "Tricky Sam" Nanton, whose brilliant work with plunger mutes for vocal effects did much to define the early sound–which, in turn, rapidly evolved and expanded with the additions of Harry Carney, Johnny Hodges, and Cootie Williams. While the band's repertoire included many blues and popular songs, its distinctive identity emerges from early renditions of such trademark pieces as "East St. Louis Toodle-O," "Black and Tan Fantasy," "The Mooche," and "Mood Indigo." By the end of the period covered in this set, Ellington's ambitious later suites–some of them CD-length–are portended in the elegant extended composition "Creole Rhapsody," his clearly superior contribution to the symphonic jazz movement.