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Ammons, Gene - Bad Bossa Nova
(Victor VICJ-60447 Jap-99 225:-)

"Bad Bossa Nova" is right – as Gene Ammons really hits a great groove here – one that's not exactly bossa, but which has lots of Latin and tropical touches! The session makes great use of 2 guitars at the same time – using that of Kenny Burrell for soulful rhythm, but also adding in Bucky Pizzarelli for some nice acoustic embellishments – in a mode that's similar to the soul jazz-com-bossa style used on records like Ike Quebec's Soul Samba or Charlie Rouse's Bossa Nova Bacchanal. The overall rhythms are a bit more complicated, and a bit more soul jazz based than those sets – with Hank Jones on piano, Oliver Jackson on percussion, and Al Hayes adding in some sweet extra bongo! Titles include the classic "Ca'Purange" – plus "Anna", "Yellow Bird", "Cae Cae", and "Moito Mato Grosso". Also issued under the title Jungle Soul! (Ca' Purange).

24bit Remastering; Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Clooney, Rosemary - Many a Wonderful Moment
(Bear Family BCD-15.927-HK Ger-00 900:-)

Bear Family's Many a Wonderful Moment gathers eight discs of Rosemary Clooney's music. Beginning with her switch to Columbia in 1958 and including her complete recordings for MGM, Coral, RCA, Reprise, and Capitol, the set covers ten years' worth of work with Bing Crosby, Nelson Riddle, and other stars of the time. Excursions into country, Latin, and inspirational music round out this impressive, substantial set, which also includes a hardcover book with a biography and discography.

At 210 tracks long, this 8-CD Box Set is primarily for hardcore Rosemary Clooney fans, but it offers them many of her best moments.
Dolphy, Eric - Out There
(Victor VICJ-60449 Jap-99 225:-)

Eric Dolphy's second album as a leader – and already a bold step forward from the first! The format here changes from the more standard lineup of before – as Dolphy drops out other horn players, loses the piano, and brings the cello of Ron Carter into the frontline! Backing is by the bass of George Duvivier and the drums of Roy Haynes – and the mix of cello and bass creates the freely spirited sound that allows Dolphy to take off on even freer solo flights. The session has a very moody, very dark feel – especially on the tracks where Dolphy is playing B flat and bass clarinet – and titles include "The Baron", "Eclipse", "Sketch Of Melba", "Feathers", and "17 West".

24bit Remastering; Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Gray, Wardell - Memorial
(Victor VICJ-60426 Jap-99 225:-)

Wardell Gray was one of the top tenors to emerge during the bop era (along with Dexter Gordon and Teddy Edwards). His Lester Young-influenced tone made his playing attractive to swing musicians as well as younger modernists. Ironically, Gray, who in the late '40s was an inspiration to some younger musicians due to his opposition to drug use, himself became involved in drugs and died mysteriously in Las Vegas on May 25, 1955, when he was just 34.

20bit Digital K2 Remastering - Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Green, Grant - Sunday Mornin'
(EMI Toshiba TOCJ-9146 Jap-99 250:-)

Grant Green's fourth album, Sunday Mornin', was the first time Green recorded (as a leader) with a piano instead of an organ. Joined by pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Ben Dixon, Green makes Sunday Mornin' less of a soul-jazz session than his previous work, instead turning in a solid — if not quite exceptional — set of modal hard bop and laid-back grooves.

24bit Remastering; Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Grusin, Dave - Discovered Again / Plus
(Sheffield Lab LIM-XR-001 US-03 200:-)

This remarkable direct-to-disc recording has remained for over a quarter of a century, the subject of discussion and analysis by audiophiles around the world, a true `reference recording' in terms of music and engineering alike. This is Dave Grusin, still not yet at the mid-point of his career, but already at the highest echelon of his chosen fields. Having served as sideman, conductor, arranger and/or producer on so many albums for other artists (not to mention composer/performer on soundtracks), at last fans again had the chance to hear him at the center point of a recording, with three original compositions as an added bonus. The result is probably one of his most unique recorded performances, as the direct-to-disc procedure offers a spontaneous experience of the artist going from one mood to another without a break.
Hancock, Herbie - VSOP: Five Stars
(Sony SICP-10079 Jap-08 225:-)

Recorded in Tokyo, Japan in 1979, "Five Stars" is a studio album featuring the Miles Davis alumnus quintet V.S.O.P. playing a handful of original compositions.

Featured here are former Davis bandmates pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Tony Williams, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, joined by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. Released around the same time as the concert album "Live Under the Sky", "Five Stars" showcases the group's frenetic, modal post-bop, played in the spirit of Davis' classic '60s quintet.

Japan-only SACD hybrid; Standard Jewel Case.
McLean, Jackie - Swing Swang Swingin'
(EMI Toshiba TOCJ-9013 Jap-98 225:-)

One of Jackie McLean's earliest Blue Notes, Swing, Swang, Swingin' parts company with the vast majority of his output for the label by concentrating chiefly on standards (only one of the seven tunes is a McLean original). Perhaps as a result of Blue Note's more prepared, professional approach to recording sessions, McLean sounds invigorated here, catapulting each melody forward before launching into a series of impassioned improvisations.

24bit Remastering - Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Moncur III, Grachan - Some other Stuff
(Blue Note CDP-32092 US-96 175:-)

Grachan Moncur III was one of the top trombonists of the jazz avant-garde in the 1960s although he had only a few chances to lead his own record sessions. This 1964 set was one of his finest, a quintet outing with bassist Cecil McBee, two of the members of the Miles Davis Quintet (pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Tony Williams), and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter just a brief time before he joined Miles. The group performs four of Moncur's challenging originals, including "Nomadic" (which is largely a drum solo) and "The Twins," which is built off of one chord.
Powell, Bud - Amazing Bud Powell, vol 1
(EMI Toshiba TOCJ-9026 Jap-98 225:-)

This CD gives one a strong sampling of pianist Bud Powell at his best. Powell is heard in a classic session with trumpeter Fats Navarro and tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins (which is highlighted by exciting versions of "Dance of the Infidels," "52nd Street Theme," and "Bouncing With Bud") and in a trio performing "Over the Rainbow" and three versions of his intense "Un Poco Loco."

24bit Remastering - Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
Tyner, McCoy - Live at Newport
(MCA MVCZ-77 Jap-97

Live at Newport was the first live recording McCoy Tyner led, and it happened to be among his most memorable dates for Impulse, but like many memorable sessions, it was the end result of equal parts planning, spontaneity, and talent. According to Willis Conover's original liner notes, Tyner was worn out from playing Montreal the night before, and he was paired with three musicians he'd never played with before (trumpeter Clark Terry, alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, and bassist Bob Cranshaw), two of who were using borrowed instruments.

Given such chaotic circumstances, it's not surprising that the quintet (also featuring drummer Mickey Roker) chose to play two standards, plus Tyner's "Monk's Blues," Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'n' You," and the improvised opening jam, "Newport Romp." What is a surprise is that not only does the group hold together, but they excel. They sound empathetic, as if they've played many times before, yet there are enough sparks to signal that they're still unsure of what the other will play. The results are thoroughly compelling and unpredictable.

US-only Ryko limited edition 9-track Super Bit Mapping 24k gold CD album, picture sleeve with gold 'Au20' die-cut wrap-around outer.
v/a - Jazz at the Boston Arts Festival
(Tokuma TKCB-72383 Jap-03 225:-)

Jazz Night came about though the lobbying efforts of Father Norman O’Connor, the Jazz Priest from Boston University, George Wein of Storyville, and John McLellan of WHDH radio. There were two groups presenting. One was a modern group led by Charlie Mariano, which included Serge Chaloff and others unknown. Was Jaki Byard there? Herb Pomeroy? Bernie Griggs? Jimmy Zitano? They’re all gone now, so we’ll probably never know. Nor do we know what they played.

The second group played the history of jazz, with the usual chestnuts featured: “High Society,” “At the Jazz Band Ball,” “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South.” Things livened up a bit with “Swinging the Blues” from the Basie era and “After You’ve Gone” in the Goodman style. We know the personnel in this band and what they played, because Storyville Records had a crew on hand to tape this portion of the show. The result was Jazz at the Boston Arts Festival (Storyville LP 311).

24bit Remastered Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve.
various artists - Blue Note Years 1939/1999
(Blue Note/Capitol 2434-96427 US-98 1250:-)

Packaged in a deep-blue LP-size box, this 14-CD megaset is a wide-angle retrospective on Blue Note Records, from its 1939 birth to the label's most recent artists. The bonuses are myriad but begin inarguably with the accompanying booklet, filled by label cofounder Francis Wolff's in-studio photographs, all taken during the 1950s and 1960s and conveying a palpable musicality.