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Hawkins, Coleman - Complete Recordings 29-41
(Affinity CDAFS-1026 UK-92 250:-)

Coleman Hawkins was the first important tenor saxophonist and he remains one of the greatest of all time. A consistently modern improviser whose knowledge of chords and harmonies was encyclopedic, Hawkins had a 40-year prime (1925-1965) during which he could hold his own with any competitor.

6CD Box Set with Booklet in Slipcase
Holiday, Billie - Complete Verve 1945-1959
(Verve 517658-2 EU-05 500:-)

A 10CD Box Set with everything Billie Holiday recorded on Verve Records between 1945 and her death in 1959 - not only the songs, but concert introductions, some of the rehearsals, and between-take studio chatter, too. All of which makes for a definitive portrait of Lady Day in her final years.

For a long time these recordings were disparaged because it was said her voice was no longer fine and mellow, "ravaged" by hard living, jail time, booze, and drugs. And there's no question that her later tone is darker, more brittle and unstable than it had been in the '30s - but like Frank Sinatra, who so often paid tribute to her influence, Holiday's artistry was never based on virtuosity; it was about interpretation, bringing out the emotions in a song and giving a personal reading. She never stopped doing that, and for all the "strange fruit" you'll find in this collection, it's a gold mine.
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
Tyner, McCoy - Live at Newport
(MCA MVCZ-77 Jap-97
225:-)

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.
830506