1 . Byas, Don. Jazz . . . Free and Easy. Don Byas, tenor saxophone. Bennie Harris, trumpet. Teddy Brendon or Jimmy Jones, piano. John Levy or Franklin Street, bass. Fred Radcliffe, drums. Savoy MG-12203 (c1969). Codes: MG 12203 A 1-73 PC / MG 12203B 1-73 PC. 1st Savoy Label of Regent MG-6044 (c1957). Mono Only. New Disq Playing Grade 93/93. New DisqVisual Grade 96/94. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 96. Please write for the price of this disq. (1a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4n)(5i). Scott Yanow writes of Don Byas: "One of the greatest of all tenor players. Don Byas' decision to move permanently to Europe in 1946 has resulted in him being vastly underrated in the jazz history books. His knowledge of chords rivalled Coleman Hawkins and, due to their similarity in tones, Byas can be considered an extension of the elder tenor. . . . Byas recorded often in the 1950s but was largely forgotten in the U.S. by the time of his death." A beautiful document of an earlier time, this is a very mellow record. For the most mellow, this record should be played back with tube equipment. *****

2 . Cherry, Don. Complete Communion. Don Cherry, cornet. "Gato" Barbieri, tenor saxophone. Henry Grimes, bass. Edward Blackwell, drums. Dr. Rudy van Gelder, recording engineer. Pathé Marconi Blue Note BN 84226 (c1983). Codes: M6 341065 2 84226 A 21 / M6 321066 2 84226 B 21. Reissue of Blue Note 84226 (c1966). Disq Playing Grade 94/93. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Cover 96. $25.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4c)(4e)(4n)(5k). Of the piece "Complete Communion" Martin Williams wrote in 1970: ". . . it seems to me one of the most interesting efforts at extended composition in jazz history. Cherry has used counterpoint, both written and improvised; he has used both his bass and drums as melodic voices. Cherry's themes and improvised sections change tempo and flow one to the next; little ideas and riffs from each section echo through the rest of it. The solos are frequent, usually brief, and . . . both the written passages and improvisation are related parts of a commendable compositional plan." "Complete Communion" takes up the entire first side of the record and is best described as a suite in four movements for jazz quartet. As the suite has been recorded for an album the work of recording engineer Dr. Rudy van Gelder becomes part of the composition. His physical placement of the musicians in the recording studio is basic to an understanding of the piece. Since the drums and bass are often used melodically in the composition, they take on an importance equal to that of the cornet and tenor saxophone. Van Gelder's arrangement of instruments reflects this. Cherry's cornet is placed on the left, and Barbieri's tenor is on the right. Ed Blackwell, the drummer, is in the center and forward. Bassist Henry Grimes is also in the center. Each instrument is recorded at roughly the same volume. A strong sense of ensemble results from treating all four instruments equally. This equal treatment also reveals the subtle counterpoint of the piece. Yet differences in instrumental timbre are rendered exactly. This is particularly important as the tenor's and cornet's sound is similar in their high registers, and the subtle colors of the composition depend on clearly hearing even these slight differences in tone. ****

 

 

 

3. Coleman, Ornette. The Empty Foxhole. Ornette Coleman, alto saxophone or trumpet or violin. Charles Haden, bass. Ornette D. Coleman, drums. Blue Note BST 84246 (c1966). Codes: BNST 8246 A VAN GELDER / BNST 84246 B VAN GELDER. 2nd Label (2a). Disq Playing Grade 95/95. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 95. Ornette Coleman Cover 96. $75.00. ***

 

 

 

4. Dorham, Kenny. Whistle Stop. Kenny Dorham, trumpet. Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone. Kenny Drew, piano. Paul Chambers, bass. "Philly" Joe Jones, drums. Pathé Marconi Blue Note BLP 4063 (c1984). Codes: M6 346795 BLP 4063 A Z1 / M6 346796 BLP 4063 B 21 . Reissue of Blue Note BST 84063 (c1961). New Disq Playing Grade 94/94. New Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Cover 98. $25.00. (2a)(3a)(4c)(4e)(4n)(5i)(5j). Of this recording Scott Yarnow observes, "Kenny Dorham was always underrated throughout his career, not only as a trumpeter but as a composer . . . . This is a generally over looked near-classic set." ****

5. Edwards, Teddy. Teddys Ready. Teddy Edwards, tenor saxophone. Joe Castro, piano. Leroy Vinegar, bass. Billy Higgins, drums. Contemporary S 7583 (c1960). Codes: STEREO LKS 159 D1 / STEREO LKS 160 D3. 1st Label. New Disq PlayingGrade 93/93. New Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 98. Please write for the price of this disq. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4e)(4n). This is a straight-ahead blowing session. West-Coast tenor player Teddy Edwards has a liquid, bright, slightly edgy tone and although the group plays well enough together, the record, happily, has a loose session feel. (This is a fine recorded effort.) *****(*)

6. Ellington, Duke. Piano in the Background. Duke Ellington, piano and leader. Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, and Russell Procope, saxophones. Willie Cook, Andres Meringuito, Eddie Mullins, Ray Nance, and Gerald Wilson, trumpets. Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol, "Booty" Wood, and Britt Woodman, trombones. Aaron Bell, bass. Sam Woodyard, drums. Columbia CS 8364 (c1961). Codes: XSM50957-1B 111 H / XSM50958-1B 11 H. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 96/96. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 95. Cover 95/94. Please write for the price of this disq. (1a)(2a)(3a) (4e)(4n)(5i)(5j)(5k). In this, one of the Ellington band's most growling stereo romps, the piano is really in the foreground. (This one of my favorite Ellington records.) *****(*)

 

 

 

7. Handy, John. Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival. John Handy, saxophone. Mike White, electric violin. Jerry Hahn, electric guitar. Don Thompson, bass. Terry Clarke, drums. John Hammond, record producer. Jim Marshall, album cover photographs. Columbia CS 9262 (c1965). Codes: XSM112218-1B A3 / XSM112219-1E A3. 1st Label. New Disq Grade Playing 96/93. New Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 98. $50.00. (2a)(3a)(4a)(4d)(4n)(5i). This record sold well when it was released and yet was distrusted by dedicated jazz fans, perhaps because of the group's makeup of Californian and Canadian artists or because of the album's rock-and-roll influences. Yet I always found it to swing. Side one consists entirely of John Handy's twenty-minute piece "Spanish Lady" which is a work filled with Andalusian flavor and simple, long, energetic solos. Often the soloist is tastefully accompanied with melodies improvised by other members of the quintet-a creative touch. The drummer, Terry Clarke, provides a driving beat, and Jerry Hahn's electric guitar solos often have a rock 'n' roll taste. Yet John Handy, the group's leader, is always the jazz player, and his influence is dominant. Produced by John Hammond, the live recording captures the Monterey Jazz Festival's feeling. (Jim Marshall's photo-montage cover is a musical one.) *****(*)

 

 

 

8. Handy, John. New Orleans and the Blues. "Cap'n" John Handy, alto saxophone. Noel Kalet, clarinet. Kid Colar, trumpet. Clive Wilson, trumpet. Louis Nelson, trombone. Bill Sinclair, piano. Chester Zardis, bass. Sammy Penn, drums. Ed Begley, recording engineer. Brad McCuen, record producer. RCA Victor LSP 3929 (c1968). Codes: WPRS-0955-1S H / WPRS-0956-1S H. 1st Label. Disq Playing Grade 98/96. Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 98. $100.00. Recorded in RCA Studio B, New York City. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4c)(4e)(4n)(5i)(5j). This superb recording of rambucntious New Orleans jazz will make you feel good. (This is an extraordinary but not well known stereo record). *****(*)

 

 

 

9. Henderson, Joe. In'n Out. Joe Henderson, tenor saxophone. Kenny Dorham, trumpet. McCoy Tyner, piano. Richard Davis, bass. Elvin Jones, drums. Dr. Rudy van Gelder, recording engineer. Blue Note BST 84166 (c1964). Codes: BNST - 4166-A / STEREO VAN GELDER / BNST-84166-B STEREO VAN GELDER. 2nd Label (2a). Disq Playing Grade 94/94. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 96. Cover 96. $100.00. Of this record Scott Yanow observes " Henderson, who has always had the ability to make the routine bop piece sound complex and the most complicated free improvisation seem logical, and Dorham provide all the material and the music sounds fresh . . . decades later." (McCoy Tyner's piano solos are particularly inventive. ) ****(*)

 

 

 

 

10. Herman, Woody. Woody Herman: 1964. Woody Herman, clarinet or alto saxophone. Bill Chase, Billy Hunt, Paul Fontaine, Gerald Lamy, or Danny Nolan, trumpets. Phil Wilson, Henry Southall, or Kenny Wenzel, trombone. Sal Nistico, Carmen Leggio, or John Stevens, tenor saxophones. Nick Brignola, baritone saxophone. Nat Pierce, piano. Chuck Andrus, bass. Jake Hanna, drums. Phil Ramone, recording engineer. Jack Tracy, record producer. Philips PHS 600-118 (c1964). Codes: PHS600118A-M1 1 RR / PHS600118B-M1 RR 1. 1st Label.
Disq Playing Grade 93/94. Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 96. Promotional Cover 95. $75.00. Recorded November 20, 22 and 23, 1963, in A&R Studios, New York City. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4c)(4d)(4e)(4n)(5i)(5j)(5k). Here Woody Herman, his Herd, and the Philips production staff fill your listening room to overflowing with a swinging, romping big band. *****

11. Hodges, Johnny and Stewart, Rex. Things Ain't What They Used To Be. Rex Stewart and Ray Nance, trumpets. Lawrence Brown, trombone. Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone. Harry Carney, baritone saxophone. Duke Ellington, piano. Jimmy Blanton, bass. Sonny Greer, drums. RCA Victor LPV 533 (c1966). Mono Only. Codes: TPRM-3388-1S A1 I / TPRM-3389-2S I. 1st LP Label. Disq Playing Grade 98/93. Disq Visual Grade96/96. Inner Sleeve 95. Cover 98 $75.00. (2b)(4n). This LP is made up of 78 material recorded in 1940 and 1941 by members of the Duke Ellington Band and they are, for the most part, small group recordings. The transfers are extremely musical ones and preserve the warmth and detail of the originals-they have great integrity. And, they fill the LP with sauntering, swinging music. ***** Ex Harold Lawrence.

12. Holiday, Billie. Lady in Satin. Billie Holiday, vocals. Ray Ellis and His Orchestra. Columbia CS 8048 (c1958). Codes: XSM-44223-1AA A / XSM-44224-1AF A. 2nd Label (c1962). Disq Playing Grade 94/95. Disq Visual Grade 95/94. Inner Sleeve 95. Cover 98. $75.00. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4a)(5m). Despite the almost "easy listening" sound of the Ray Ellis Orchestra, Billie Holiday swings. Much the way Charlie Parker plays against the strings in some of his recordings, Billie Holiday sings above her "straight" accompaniment. It may have been that the Columbia production staff thought the sweet string tone gave the performances a "touch of class." No matter-time has shown the real class to be Billie's. ****

13. Hubbard, Freddie. Ready for Freddie. Freddie Hubbard, trumpet. Bernard McKinney, euphonium. Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone. McCoy Tyner, piano. Art Davis, bass. Elvin Jones, drums. Dr. Rudy van Gelder, recording engineer. Blue Note BST 84085 (c1961). Codes: BNST-84085-A1 RVG STEREO / BNST-84085B RVG STEREO. 2nd Label. New Unplayed Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 98. Cover 98. Please write for the price of this disq. (1a)(2a)(3a)(4e)(4n)(5i)(5j)(5k). This is very much a recording and music of a "blowing session." The structure of the recording and that of the music is simple. Both provide a basic framework for improvised solos. In the music, the tune'or theme is first introduced by the lead soloist. The piece from then on is made up of the players improvising on this theme. Excitement comes largely from the musicians' creative imagination; that is, from the way they improvise their solos. Van Gelder's recording is constructed to best present this. The performance setting is a smallish one which convincingly portrays musicians playing after hours. As in the music, the recording features the soloists. Van Gelder places Freddie Hubbard, trumpet, and Bernard McKinney, euphonium, well forward on the left. Wayne Shorter, tenor saxophone, is on the right and forward. The members of the rhythm section are placed back and toward the center. Elvin Jones, drums, is to the right, McCoy Tyner, piano, toward the left, and bassist Art Davis is between them. This arrangement of musicians serves the music well. Also, this type of arrangement is very much the signature of Rudy van Gelder, as most of his Blue Note recordings are planned in this way. This beautifully captures "the session." (Jazz, especially the creating of jazz, is intimately linked with the LP. As an improvisational form jazz has little written literature. Naturally there are written arrangements and much jazz follows written or implied progressions, but jazz' essence, improvisation, is fleeting. Recording, particularly with the LP, has captured this essence and preserved it. Through records we can follow, for instance, John Coltrane's musical development or we can hear Miles Davis invent a new way to play the trumpet. Indeed jazz artists themselves listened to each others' recordings m order to hear what was "happening." They learned from each others' records as did followers and students of jazz. The students listened and, if their ear allowed, wrote down the jazz players' solos. They even played along with records in order to develop their own style and technique. Thus the recording-jazz player, through his records, became a teacher of jazz. Jazz fans, students and musicians alike awaited new releases in order to hear how the recording artists were playing and to find out in what direction jazz was going. Fortunately, many of the most creative forces in jazz recorded regularly, making their work available not only to those who could see and hear them in clubs, but to all who could hear a record. Jazz' movements and changes could be heard through the recording sessions: the LP preserved great solos, compositions and ensembles for all to hear. History, then, has chosen the LP as the instrument that has captured most of jazz' fleeting moments, it essence, improvisation.) *****(*)

 

 

 

14. Jackson, Willis "Gator." Swivelhips. Willis Jackson, tenor saxophone or gator horn. Jackie Ivory, electric organ. Bill Jennings, guitar. Ben Tucker, bass or electric bass. Jerry Potter, drums. Ralph Dorsey, conga drum. Dr. Rudy van Gelder, recording engineer. Prestige PRST 7602 (c1969). Codes: PRST-7602 A VAN GELDER / PRST7602-B A VAN GELDER. 1st Label. New Disq Playing Grade 94/94. New Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 96. Cover 98. $50.00. (3a)(4a)(4d)(4e) (4n)(5i)(5l). In the 1960s, Black working-folks from west-Berkeley came all the way uptown to Campus Records to buy this record. Although in the '60s I was too "sophisticated" to admit I liked this record, in the 2000s I'll readily admit to my love for it. This is an honest record of straight ahead funk. *****

15. Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross. Sing a Song of Basie. Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, singers. Irv Greenbaum, recording engineer. Creed Taylor, record producer. Rudy van Gelder and Bob Thiele, re-recording engineers. Impulse A 83 (c1965). Codes: A-83-A VAN GELDER / A-83-B VAN GELDER. Reissue Label of ABC 223 (c1957). Mono Only. Disq Playing Grade 95/95. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 96. Album 95. $100.00. Recorded on August 26, September 16 and 27, October 11, and November 26, 1957. (1a). Made just as the first stereo records were being released, this album was recorded only in monaural. But in its own way it is an innovative production that "plays with sound." The record is made up of vocal renditions of Basie charts. This is a highly produced recording, with soloists over-dubbing themselves in order to approach the volume and power of the Count Basie Band. Especially notable is Annie Ross' dubbing in "Everyday." All the vocals were probably recorded independently, then mixed and 'laid down' over the rhythm. This is a great example of recorded music as "Grand Illusion." (Though mono, this record fills a listening room with the satisfaction of great stereo. ) *****(*)

 

 

 

16. Miller, Glenn. American Patrol. Bugle Call Rag. Chattanooga Choo-Choo. I Know Why. I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo. In the Mood. It Happened in Sun Valley. Moonlight Serenade. Serenade in Blue. Glenn Miller Orchestra. Glenn Miller, conductor. Twentieth Century Fox FOX 1001. Codes: MO8P 0468 1A A2 I / M08P 0469 1A A2 I. 1st Label. Mono Only. Disq Playing Grade 94/94. Disq Visual Grade 96/96. Inner Sleeve 95. Cover 95. $100.00. (1a). Taken from 35mm film soundtracks of the Glenn Miller band, these recordings present the orchestra with a 'realism' not found on any of the 78s. (I'd never really heard this band until I listened to this 35mm record.) *****(*)

17. Mitchell, Billy. A Little Juicy. Billy Mitchell, tenor saxophone. Thad Jones, trumpet. Kenny Burrell, guitar. Richard Wyand, piano. Herman Wright, bass. Oliver Jackson Jr., drums. Smash SRS 67042 (c1963). Codes: SR 67042-A-M1 RR / SR 67042-B-M1 RR 1. 1st Label. New Unplayed Disq Visual Grade 95/95. Inner Sleeve 94. Cover 94. Please write for the price of this disq. (1a)(2a)(4a)(4n). This production gives the listener a sense of a real bop blowin' session-and it's a treat. *****

18. Raeburn, Boyd. Boyd MeetsStravinsky volume 2. Stu Anderson, Johnny Bothwell, Al Cohn, Serge Chaloff, Lennie Green, Julie Jacobs, Harry Klee, Ralph Lee, Hal McKusik, Gus McReynolds. Joe Magro, Hy Mandel, Boyd Raeburn, Wilbur Schwartz and Frank Socolow, reeds in various combination. Tommy Allison, Frank Beach, Carl Berg, Stan Fishelson, Dizzy Gillespie, Cari Groen, Benny Harris, Allan Jeffreys, Ray Lynn, Dale Pierce and Nelson Shelladay, trumpets in various combination. Jack Carmen, Johnny Mandel, Walt Robertson, Hal Smith, Ollie Wilson, Britt Woodman, Trummy Young and Fred Zito, trombones in various combination. Otto Loyd and Evan Vail, French horns. Ike Carpenter or Dodo Marmarosa or Hal Schaefer, piano. Dave Barbour or Steve Jordon or Tony Rizzi, guitar. Harry Babasin or Steve Beris or Oscar Pettiford, bass. Jackie Mills or Irv Kruger or Shelley Manne, drums. David Allyn, Ginney Powell, and Margie Wood, singers. Savoy MG-12040 (c1955). Codes: MG-12040A RVG 2 / MG 12040B RVG 1. 1st Label and 1st Matirx. New Unplayed Disq Visual Grade 98/98. Inner Sleeve 96. 1st Cover 96/94. Please write for the price of this unique disq. Scott Yanow writes "Boyd Raeburn was never much of a soloist, but his short-lived big bands . . . featured some of the most advanced arrangements of the time, particularly those of George Handy. [Handy's charts were sometimes influenced by classical music.] . . . By 1945 Raeburn's music became much more radical with Handy's charts dominating the repertoire. Vocalists David Allyn and Ginnie Powell cheerfully sang while all types of dissonant events occurred behind them!" *****

 

 

 

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