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Fitzgerald, Ella - 75th Birthday Celebration
(GRP GRD-2-619 US-93 150:-)

The recording career of Ella Fitzgerald remains one of the greatest in all popular and jazz music. Her recordings remain definitive among those of her contemporaries. While her Verve recordings (1956-1966) hold pride of place in her vast catalogue, it should not be forgotten than her recordings for other labels have equal merit. These include those she made for the Decca label (1936-1955).

This fine compilation of the best of her Decca recordings provides some fine examples of her work for label while displaying the development of the greatest female singer in popular and jazz music of the 20th Century.
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
Morton, Jelly Roll - Centennial
(RCA/BMG 236128 EU-90 175:-)

Jelly Roll Morton recorded voluminously for RCA, and this five-CD set includes many of the masterpieces of New Orleans jazz, the bulk of them recorded between 1926 and 1930, when Morton's art was at its peak.

First recording in Chicago and later in New York, the great composer evolved his style within its own terms, gradually moving from fairly tight arrangements of his compositions to a more expansive approach that increasingly exploited the special talents of his players. Whether playing with musicians whose names are obscure today, or with some of the most famous names from the early history of jazz, like Red Allen, Bubber Miley, Zutty Singleton, and Baby Dodds, Morton created music of relaxed verve, often favoring medium tempos that highlighted his keen sense of detail. In addition to all the great band tracks, there are superb trios featuring the clarinets of Omer Simeon and Johnny Dodds, as well as fine solo piano pieces. Among early jazz recordings, these rank in importance with those of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong.
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.