Monday, March 6, 2023

Music Week

March archive (in progress).

Music: Current count 39730 [39680] rated (+50), 50 [40] unrated (+10: 22 new, 28 old).

Fairly substantial Speaking of Which yesterday. Here's a shortcut to the Jimmy Kimmel monologue on Trump as President Karen (whole monologue, but the relevant parts go from from 0:28 to 5:46). Also, again, I want to urge you to read the Spencer Ackerman piece. Much of what I link to is there because I want to say something different about it, but this is actually a tip.

I feel like I should write something more substantial on China, but it's a big question to try to wrap my head around. For now, the big thing to understand is that Americans are almost always talking out of their ass about China. They don't understand China, least of all how they think, including how they feel when they hear Americans lecturing them on democracy and human rights -- knowing as they do what imperialist depredation does to a country. Americans also don't have any sense of the scale and depth of China, even if they know that it's about the same land area as the US, with four times as many people. They're used to being able to push around smaller, weaker countries, and that's no longer an accurate description of China.

On the other hand, China doesn't understand Americans very well, but it would be a mistake simply to dismiss that as their problem. When dealing with others, it's important to make extra effort to hear what they're saying, and to respect the context it comes from. Nobody does that very well, but when you're as powerful and as arrogant as the US is, that turns into a huge risk. If anything should have become clear from the last 20+ years of war (including Ukraine), it's that nearly every belief we have in how military and international policy works is wrong. And that's something we need to realize and correct before we make even more catastrophic blunders with China. But a true reckoning there is a long ways off. It needs to start with looking in the mirror, something we never dare do.

Continuing to work through my list of unheard 4-star Penguin Guide albums. Most of the records only get one spin, so my grades tend to be reserved, but Milt Jackson seemed to demand further study, and the whole J-section kept coming up aces. I often found extra albums of interest where I looked -- some were Penguin Guide 3.5 albums, others just caught my eye. For example, I was looking for a different Illinois Jacquet, but noticed a Black & Blue Sessions album, and I generally like that series. Billy Jenkins has long been one of my interests, so it's tempting to fill in there. After the first Jazz Tribe album, I didn't need much persuasion to try the other two.

I had a problem with Jan Johansson: Penguin Guide reviewed later twofer compilations, but I found the albums broken out separately, so reviewed them as such, then added the twofers so I could check them off the list. A second Quincy Jones album struck my eye, and it turned out I liked it even more than they one they recommended.

Then when I got to Louis Jordan's Swingsation entry, I decided to see what else that particular series of CD compilations had to offer (the only one I had previously picked up was Red Prysock, which I had down as a B): the Hampton and Lunceford discs were subsets of records I already rated highly (I couldn't find the Count Basie Swingsation, but that would have been an easy A- or higher -- I have the 3-CD The Complete Decca Recordings, as well as the 1-CD The Best of Early Basie, as solid A).

After a couple lax weeks, I got quite a bit of mail (with a couple more packages arriving today, not yet logged), so I'm falling behind on new work. I'm also paying very little attention to new releases elsewhere. I'll catch up eventually, but I'm in no hurry. The way things are going, formerly simple things like replacing windshield wipers seem like accomplishments.

My wife has been on a kick to see 2022 Oscar nominated films, We hadn't gone out for one in 3-4 years. We stopped a year or two before the pandemic, when the local Warren chain sold out to Regal (not that we were big Warren fans). Perhaps a bigger reason is that I've been in a long funk over movies, finding them too long and hacnkeyed, but I've tried to be a good sport as long as we can stream the things. These are ones I remember seeing (Oscar-nominated):

  • All Quiet on the Western Front -- German WWI. B+
  • The Banshees of Inisherin -- Irish rural. B
  • Elvis -- Baz Luhrman on Presley. B+
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once -- kaleidoscopic quantum mechanics, or something like that. B-
  • The Fablemans -- teen filmmaking sage. B+
  • Tár -- classical music. B
  • Top Gun: Maverick -- USAF promo. C
  • Triangle of Sadness -- "a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again." B
  • Women Talking -- pacifist "me too." B+

That's all but Avatar: The Way of Water. Laura went out to the theater to see it (in 3-D), while (not wanting to be a wet blanket) I stayed home. She thought it was better than Top Gun, but didn't rank it above anything else on the list above. I haven't been keeping track, but scanning through the lists reminds me of a few more 2022 movies I've seen:

  • The Bob's Burgers Movie -- animated. B
  • Causeway -- PTSD. B+
  • Death on the Nile -- Kenneth Branagh remake. B+
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery -- B+
  • The Sea Beast -- animated. B
  • The Woman King -- Dahomey. B-

On the other hand, scanning through the list, I did see some films that looked possibly interesting and/or enjoyable (not necessarily): Aftersun; Argentina, 1985; Babylon; Downton Abbey: A New Era; Empire of Light; Enola Holmes 2; Living; Till; To Leslie; Where the Crawdads Sing. On the other hand, I've seen quite a bit of TV in the past year, and much prefer the pacing and character development. A rundown of that will have to wait another time.

New records reviewed this week:

Brad Goode: The Unknown (2022 [2023], Origin): Trumpet player, from Chicago. Aside from a 1988 album, his catalog kicks up in 2000, including four early volumes with Von Freeman. This is a fusion quartet, with Jeff Jenkins (keyboards), Seth Lewis (electric bass), and Faa Kow (drums). Has some edge and atmosphere. B+(**) [cd]

Manzanita Quintet: Osmosis (2021 [2023], Origin): Group based in Reno, but recorded this debut in Colorado: Josh D. Reed (trumpet), Peter Epstein (sax), Adam Benjamin (piano/rhodes), Hans Halt (bass), Andrew Heglund (drums), with all but the drummer contributing songs (Halt most at four), plus covers of Monk and Haden. Intricate postbop textures. B+(*) [cd]

Dan Trudell: Fishin' Again: A Tribute to Clyde Stubblefield & Dr. Lonnie Smith (2019-21 [2023], OA2): Keyboard player, mainly Hammond B3 here, hence the tie to Smith. Stubblefield I had to look up, and felt stupid when I did: drummer, James Brown, 1965-70. He led his own bands after that, and recorded a few albums 1997-2006. All Trudell originals, with Mike Standal (guitar), Dana Hall (drums), two saxophonists (Pat Mallinger and John Wojciechowski) and trombone (Joel Adams). B+(***) [cd]

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries:


Old music:

Sil Austin: Swingsation (1957-61 [1999], Verve): Tenor saxophonist (1929-2001), played with Roy Eldridge, Cootie Williams, and Tiny Bradshaw before striking out on his own, recording what at the time was regarded as "overtly commercial rather than jazz," what he described as "exciting horn, honking horn, gutbucket horn, what kids wanted to hear." To me that's the primaeval sound of rock and roll, what drew me to the music in the first place. A- [r]

Charlie Barnet & Jimmy Dorsey: Swingsation (1936-46 [1999], GRP): Popular big band leaders during the 1940s, eight songs from each. Barnet (1913-91) was a saxophonist, began recording in 1933, had a big band hit in 1939 with "Cherokee." As far as I can tell, these tracks date from 1942-46, including a couple of Kay Starr vocals. Dorsey (1904-57) played alto sax and clarinet, working with his younger brother Tommy Dorsey, Paul Whiteman, and Bing Crosby before leading his own big band. His set here starts with "Stompin' at the Savoy," and extends to 1945. MCA has a 20-track CD of Barnet (Drop Me Off in Harlem), but I'm not aware of any comparable compilation of Dorsey. B+(**) [r]

Tommy Dorsey & Artie Shaw: Swingsation (1950-53 [1999], GRP): Another shared set of big bands, split 9-7 for Dorsey. Both were bigger stars than Charlie Barnet and Jimmy Dorsey, but did most of their recording on RCA, only moving to Decca in 1950 (as usual, securing dates on this collection is difficult), so this is something of an afterthought. (Dorsey died at 51 in 1956; Shaw lived until 2004, but he stopped peforming abruptly in 1954.) The highlight, of course, is Shaw's clarinet. Both artists produced substantial bodies of recommended work. Dorsey's career-spanning The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing is big (3-CD) but remarkable. I haven't heard Shaw's 5-CD Self-Portrait, but the 2-CD The Essential Artie Shaw is superb throughout. B+(*) [r]

Ella Fitzgerald With Chick Webb: Swingsation (1937-39 [1998], GRP): She started out as the singer in drummer Webb's Orchestra, then took over in 1939 when he died, and led the band until 1942. Decca has a recommended compilation based on Webb's instrumentals (Spinnin' the Webb), but this is useful to focus on how special the singer is. While she went on to gain command as a singer, she rarely had another band that swung this hard. A-

Benny Goodman: Swingsation (1956 [1999], GRP): Clarinet player, the "king of swing" in the 1930s, recorded for RCA back then, and for Capitol in the 1950s, so the only recordings this label could snatch came from his soundtrack to The Benny Goodman Story. But the idea there was to recreate the old magic: the big band, and some of the small groups, sometimes with old-timers (Teddy Wilson, Harry James, Gene Krupa), plus the occasional ringer (Stan Getz). As with most re-recorded hits, there's an element of disappointment, but it gives a fair taste of what made the band great. B+(**) [r]

Lionel Hampton: Swingsation (1942-47 [1998], GRP): Sixteen tracks from Hampton's Decca years, including two two-part singles ("Rockin' in Rhythm" and "Airmail Special"). Fair sampler with most of his hits, including one vocal ("Blow Top Blues"). A- [r]

Italian Instabile Orchestra: Litania Sibilante (1999 [2000], Enja): Italian avant big band, recorded ten albums 1992-2010, including guest leader projects for Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton. Featured guests here are Enrico Rava (trumpet) and Antonello Salis (accordion), bringing total band size to 20. Most impressive when they figure out how to swing. B+(***) [sp]

Milt Jackson: Ain't but a Few of Us Left (1981 [1982], Pablo): Vibraphonist (1923-99), his early work with Thelonious Monk was especially brilliant. He spent many years in the Modern Jazz Quartet, but recorded extensively on the side. When Norman Granz started Pablo in 1975, Jackson was one of his first calls, along with Oscar Peterson, whose trio, with Ray Brown and Grady Tate, join in here. These guys grew up with bebop, but also knew how to inject an element of swing, thanks to which they left the world a happier place. A- [sp]

Milt Jackson: Wizard of the Vibes (1948-52 [2001], Blue Note): Originally an 8-song, 10-inch LP released in 1952, with John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums), and Lou Donaldson (alto sax). The title was reissued in 1956 with extra tracks from an earlier session with Thelonious Monk. The two sessions were combined for CD as Milt Jackson (or Milt Jackson With the Thelonious Monk Quintet) in 1989, then repackaged here. Still ends with three Kenny Hagood vocals the world would be better off forgetting. A- [r]

Milt Jackson: Early Modern (1949-54 [1999], Savoy Jazz): A compilation in the "Savoy Jazz Originals" series (1998-2002), draws on six sessions: half quartets with John Lewis (piano), the others with different pianists and extra horns (two with Julius Watkins on French horn). I particularly like the early session with Billy Mitchell on tenor sax. A couple years later Jackson recorded two more Savoy albums, perhaps his best ever: Jackson's-ville and The Jazz Skyline. B+(***) [sp]

Milt Jackson/Coleman Hawkins: Bean Bags (1958 [1959], Atlantic): Always a delight to hear the tenor saxophonist, especially with Tommy Flanagan (piano) and Kenny Burrell (guitar) on top of the rhythm: Eddie Jones and Connie Kay, plus the ever-swinging vibraphonist. A- [r]

Milt Jackson & John Coltrane: Bags & Trane (1959 [1988], Atlantic): The vibraphonist easily complemented damn near anyone he played with, so with both stars on the label, this seems inevitable. Jackson wrote two of his more enduring songs for the date, and they added two standards and "Be-Bop" for a fast one. Rhythm section was Hank Jones (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Connie Kay (drums). Everyone's in fine, if less than spectacular, form. CD adds three bonus tracks. B+(***) [r]

Milt Jackson: Memories of Thelonious Sphere Monk (1982, Pablo): Original LP was subtitled Milt Jackson in London, but the 1995 CD reissue dropped that line, offering larger print to the band: Ray Brown (bass), Monty Alexander (piano), and Mickey Roker (drums). Opens with four Monk tunes but, being a live set, they then throw in a 10:23 "Django" and end with two Jackson pieces (one adding Brown to the byline). Jackson was one of the first musicians who got Monk, back in a time others found him impossible. But by this time, everyone got Monk, and this becomes less interesting as a result. B+(**) [r]

Milt Jackson/Ray Brown/Cedar Walton/Mickey Roker Quartet: It Don't Mean a Thing if You Can't Tap Your Foot to It (1984, Pablo): Discogs limits the credit line to Jackson and Brown, possibly because those two are pictured, as the typographic hints are subtle (even more so on the 1990 CD reissue). B+(**) [r]

Milt Jackson Meets the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra: Explosive! (1999, Qwest): Possibly the vibraphonist's last album (dates are uncertain), featured with the big band led by Jeff Hamilton (drums) and brothers John and Jeff Clayton (bass and alto sax). The band has some power, but is mostly restrained. B+(*) [sp]

Illinois Jacquet: Jacquet's Street [The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions] (1976 [2003], Black & Blue): Tenor saxophonist, from Louisiana, his solos in the 1940s influenced rock and roll and made him a star with Jazz at the Philharmonic. This is one of several live sets he recorded for Black & Blue in France -- this particular one in Nice, with a sextet of trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, and drums. B+(**) [sp]

Ahmad Jamal Trio: Cross Country Tour: 1958-1961 (1958-61 [1998], Chess, 2CD): Pianist, trio with Israel Crosby (bass) and Vernell Fournier (drums). Leads off with the 1958 Chicago set previously released as At the Pershing: But Not for Me -- one of his most famous releases, a popular hit to boot -- then picks from other live albums, including sets at the Alhambra (in Chicago) and the Blackhawk (in San Francisco). Constantly delightful. A- [r]

Ahmad Jamal: Ā L'Olympia (2000 [2001], Dreyfus Jazz): A 70th birthday party for the pianist, his trio of James Cammack (bass) and Idris Muhammad (drums) joined by tenor saxophonist George Coleman -- a tower of strength here, but when he lays out, the pianist more than holds his own. A- [sp]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: Best of the 1940s Concerts (1944-49 [1998], Verve): Norman Granz started his series of package shows in Los Angeles in 1944, and continued them around the world for decades. The formula was to collect an all-star band and let them jam some blues, drop in a "Ballad Medley," and sometimes feature a singer. This collects nine songs from seven concerts, doubling up on Hollywood 1946 (with Lester Young, Charlie Parker, and Willie Smith) and New York city 1949 (with Young, Parker, and Flip Phillips) but only because the concerts were varied: 1946 switched to a Gene Krupa trio, while 1949 added a singer: Ella Fitzgerald. (The only other singer here is Billie Holiday). Highlights abound, like when Bill Harris reclaims "Perdido" for the trombone. A- [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: J.A.T.P. in Tokyo: Live at the Nichigeki Theatre 1953 (1953 [1990], Pablo, 2CD): Group billed as J.A.T.P. All-Stars this time: Charlie Shavers and Roy Eldridge (trumpets), Bill Harris (trombone), Benny Carter and Willie Smith (alto sax), Flip Phillips and Ben Webster (tenor sax), Herb Ellis (guitar), Oscar Peterson (piano), Ray Brown (bass), JC Heard (drums). They're followed by smaller groups: trios led by Peterson and Gene Krupa, then Ella Fitzgerald, bringing the band back to close on "Perdido." Everyone has fun, but Fitzgerald is really at the top of her game. B+(***) [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: Stockholm '55: The Exciting Battle (1955 [1974], Pablo): An octet this time, smaller than most JATP groups, but the focus was on the trumpets: Dizzy Gillespie and Roy Eldridge. All-star backup, of course: Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Bill Harris (trombone), Oscar Peterson (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), and Louis Bellson (drums). Long blues jams to open and close, sandwiching their usual "Ballad Medley" and Bellson's "Drum Solo Medley." B+(**) [r]

Jazz at the Philharmonic: J.A.T.P. in London, 1969 (1969 [1989], Pablo, 2CD): Looks like two shows, with the first disc headlined by trumpets (Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry) and tenor saxophones (Zoot Sims, James Moody). The second disc opens with the rhythm section -- Teddy Wilson, Bob Cranshaw, and Louis Bellson -- and T-Bone Walker, then brings in Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. The latter wasn't in prime form: he only had a couple more months to live, making his solo on "September Song" and his famous "Body and Soul" all the more poignant. B+(***) [r]

The Jazz Tribe: The Jazz Tribe (1990 [1992], RED): Label-organized supergroup, seemed like a one-shot but further albums came out in 1999 and 2009. Otherwise I'd be inclined to credit this to the musicians named on the cover: Bobby Watson (alto sax), Steve Grossman (tenor sax), Jack Walrath (trumpet), Walter Bishop Jr. (piano), Charles Fambrough (bass), Joe Chambers (drums), and Ray Mantilla (percussion). Mantilla wrote half of six originals, with "Star Eyes" the only cover. Mainstream with a little extra, and not just Latin tinge. A- [sp]

The Jazz Tribe: The Next Step (1999, RED): Second album, the group retained three essential members -- Jack Walrath (trumpet), Bobby Watson (alto sax), Ray Mantilla (percussion) -- ably filling in the gaps with Ronnie Matthews (piano), Curtis Lundy a(bass), and Victor Lewis (drums). Still more Latin tinge here: Mantilla seems to be the driving force, although Watson wrote two songs; Lewis, Lundy, and Matthews one each, and "Good Bait" tops them all. B+(***) [r]

The Jazz Tribe: Everlasting (2008 [2009], RED): Another decade, another album. Only personnel change is the piano slot going to Xavier Davis. Still a strong group, with a strong Latin tinge. B+(**) [r]

Billy Jenkins: Beyond E Major (1984 [1985], Allmusic): British guitarist, rather eclectic with a blues sideline, not all that well served by his vocals, which are rare but occasionally present even in his most surrealistic jazz sides. Guitar-bass-drums trio, accompanied (sometimes) with horns. Four pieces: "Country & Western," "The Blues," "Heavy Metal," "Rock and Roll." B+(**) [bc]

Billy Jenkins: Motorway at Night (1987 [1988], De Core): One piece in two takes (20:27 + 22:19). Fairly large groups, including Django Bates (keyboards), Steve Argüelles (drums), and string trio on both, adding Any Sheppard and Iain Ballamy (saxophones) on the second. B+(**) [bc]

Billy Jenkins With the Voice of God Collective: First Aural Art Exhibition (1984-91 [1992], VOTP): This was collected over much of a decade, with various lineups in his often used but rarely defined group moniker. The best are when saxophonist Iain Ballamy comes to play (like the opener), but even without horns the slippery guitar is most often marvelous. A- [r]

Billy Jenkins With the Blues Collective: Life (2001, VOCD): One of his Blues Collective albums, so hard on guitar and harsh on vocals, with a little violin in the mix (Dylan Bates). [Bandcamp dropped two covers from the album.] B+(***) [bc]

Leroy Jenkins: Themes & Improvisations on the Blues (1994, CRI): Violinist (1932-2007), pretty much the first to make a mark with the instrument in avant-garde jazz, especially with his group, Revolutionary Ensemble. Four 13-to-18 minute pieces, two with the Soldier String Quartet, the others with groups that add horns, notably Don Byron (clarinet), Marty Ehrlich (bass clarinet), Vincent Chancey (French horn), and Henry Threadgill (flute). B+(*) [r]

Jan Johansson: 8 Bitar (1961, Megafon): Swedish pianist, died at 37 in a car crash, his brief but stellar career starting with this trio of Gunnar Johnson (bass) and Ingvar Callmer (drums). Four originals are impressive, a Swedish folk song and three standards (including "Night in Tunisia") done with complete authority. A [r]

Jan Johansson: Innertrio (1962, Megafon): Piano trio, this one with Georg Riedel (bass) and Egil Johansen (drums). B+(***) [r]

Jan Johansson: 8 Bitar/Innertrio (1961-62 [1989], Heptagon): Two albums on one CD. A- [r]

Jan Johansson: Jazz På Svenska (1962-64 [1964], Megafon): Piano-bass duo with Georg Riedel, playing Swedish folk songs. This is reportedly the best-selling Swedish jazz album ever, and kicked off a series of Folkvisor albums. B+(***) [sp]

Jan Johansson: Jazz På Ryska (1967, Megafon): "Jazz in Russian," which is to say Russian folk songs. Piano trio with Georg Riedel (bass) and Egil Johansen (drums) grows to include clarinet (Arne Domnérus), trumpet (Bosse Broberg), and tenor sax (Lennart Åberg). B+(***) [sp]

Jan Johansson: Folkvisor (1962-67 [1994], Heptagon): Combines two albums, Jazz På Svensk + Jazz På Ryska. B+(***) [sp]

Charlie Johnson's Paradise Band: Harlem in the 1920s (1925-29 [2018], Digital Gramophone): Pianist (1891-1959), born in Philadelphia, led a band in New York that included Benny Carter, Sidney de Paris, Jabbo Smith, and Jimmy Harrison (names on the cover here). Penguin Guide recommends Hot 'N Sweet's The Complete Charlie Johnson Sessions (1990, 24 tracks, 78:13; probably the same as the 1994 EPM Musique edition). The "complete" sets are padded out with multiple takes. This digital set (not in Discogs as far as I can tell, but seems to match the first side of an undated RCA Japan LP), offers one take each of eight key songs (26:42). By the way, this is not the Charlie Johnson who played trumpet for Ellington in the late 1920s, and who died in 1937. B+(***) [r]

Etta Jones: Sings Lady Day (2001, HighNote): Jazz singer (1928-2001), debut 1958 on King, signed to Prestige in 1961, followed her long-time collaborator Houston Person to Muse and finally to HighNote. Of course, no one sings the Holiday songbook quite like the original, but this comes close, and adds its own depth and poignance. Richard Wyands (piano) and Peter Bernstein (guitar) help a lot, but no saxophonist has ever served singers quite as much as Person, and Jones was his favorite -- all the more so on her last record. A- [sp]

Etta Jones: Don't Go to Strangers (1960, Prestige): After an r&b album on King, Jones moved to Prestige, where she recorded at least eight albums through 1963. Ten standards, kicking off with "Yes, Sir That's My Baby," and ending with "All the Way." Band built around a rhythm section led by pianist Richard Wyands, plus guitar and Frank Wess (preferring flute over tenor sax). B+(***) [sp]

Etta Jones: Lonely and Blue (1962, Prestige): Her Prestige albums came fast: this seems to have been the fifth. Standards, but with a few exceptions ("Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You," "Travelin' Light") less common. Fewer names in the band (Patti Bowen? Wally Richardson?), but Budd Johnson is magnificent on four tracks. Singer's pretty good, too. B+(**) [sp]

Etta Jones: My Buddy: Etta Jones Sings the Songs of Buddy Johnson (1997 [1998], HighNote): Johnson (1915-77) was a jump blues pianist (not the tenor sax great Budd Johnson) who led an important band in the 1940s featuring his sister Ella Johnson's vocals. These songs have long deserved a revival, and Jones is up to the task. And tenor saxophonist Houston Person is near-perfect. A- [sp]

Etta Jones: All the Way: Etta Jones Sings Sammy Cahn (1999, HighNote): Good songs, although perhaps a bit on the elegant side. Solid rhythm section of Norman Simmons (piano), John Webber (bass), and Kenny Washington (drums), with guest spots scattered among Houston Person (tenor sax), Steve Turre (trombone), Tom Aalfs (violin), and Russell Malone (guitar). B+(**) [sp]

Etta Jones: Easy Living (2000, HighNote): More standards, no obvious theme this time, backed by long-time pianist Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond (bass), Chip White (drums), with tenor saxophonist Houston Person (on 7/11 tracks). B+(**) [sp]

Quincy Jones: This Is How I Feel About Jazz (1956 [1957], ABC-Paramount): Conductor-arranger here, wrote three (of six) songs, recording this over three sessions, with varying groups. Only the first two tracks (the last session) qualify as a big band (and barely: full brass sections, four saxophones, piano, bass, drums). The other sessions have 9-11 musicians (including Charles Mingus and Lucky Thompson). B+(***) [r]

Quincy Jones: Go West, Man! (1957, ABC-Paramount): West coast jazz, home of most of the famous names on the cover: Buddy Collette, Bill Perkins, Red Mitchell, Leroy Vinnegar, Mel Lewis, Lou Levy, Benny Carter, Herb Geller, Charlie Mariano, Art Pepper, Walter Benton, Pepper Adams, Harry Edison, Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli, Jack Sheldon. Opens with three Jimmy Giuffre pieces, followed by Johnny Mandel (2), Mariano, and Lennie Niehaus (2), plus a standards medley. Very talented musicians, and Jones has a lighter touch than Stan Kenton or Woody Herman, which pays off dividends here. A- [r]

Louis Jordan: Swingsation (1939-53 [1999], GRP): Jump blues genius, sings and plays alto sax, had a huge number of jukebox hits in the 1940s. this offering 16 of them. I won't recommend this over The Best of Louis Jordan or for that matter Five Guys Named Moe: Vol. 2, but there's nothing here you won't want to hear or own. I've barely sampled the series, but half or more of the artists have earlier CD compilations I'd recommend. A- [r]

Theo Jörgensmann & Eckard Koltermann: Pagine Gialle (1995 [2001], Hatology): German clarinetist, debut 1977, duo here with bass clarinet. B+(***) [sp]

Jimmie Lunceford: Swingsation (1934-37 [1998], GRP): Bandleader (1902-47), started as an alto saxophonist, group was especially admired for its precise timing and tight section work. There are several compilations of prime Decca material -- Stomp It Off (1992), and For Dancers Only (1994) are my favorites, especially the latter. This covers the same territory, if anything too briefly. A- [r]

Sam "The Man" Taylor: Swingsation (1954-56 [1999], Verve): Tenor saxophonist (1916-90) from Alabama, played with Scatman Crothers in the late 1930s, many more jump blues bands, and played sax on many early rock and roll records -- notably Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll," the Drifters' "Money Honey," and the Chords' "Sh-Boom." Most of this comes from a 1956 double pack called Rock and Roll Music With "The Big Beat". B+(***) [r]

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Michael Blake: Dance of the Mystic Bliss (P&M) [05-26]
  • Hailey Brinnel: Beautiful Tomorrow (Outside In Music) [03-17]
  • Ludovica Burtone: Sparks (Outside In Music) [03-03]
  • Michael Dease: The Other Side: The Music of Gregg Hill (Origin) [03-17]
  • Rachel Eckroth: One (Blackbird Sessions) [04-21]
  • Kaze & Ikue Mori: Crustal Movement (Libra) [03-17]
  • Brandon Lopez: Vilevilevilevilevilevilevilevile (Tao Forms) [04-14]
  • Alex LoRe & Weirdear: Evening Will Find Itself (Whirlwind) * [05-19]
  • Andrew Moorhead: Interleaved (OA2) [03-17]
  • Aymée Nuviola: Havana Nocturne (Worldwide) [02-24]
  • Scott Petito: Many Worlds (Planet Arts) [02-24]
  • Dan Rosenboom: Polarity (Orenda) [04-28]
  • Rich Thompson: Who Do You Have to Know? (Origin) [03-17]
  • Nadia Washington: Hope Resurgence (New) [02-24]

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