Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blue Note specials

New additions to the PJ library; Blue Note issued all three of these albums in 1958:

Jimmy Smith
"The Sermon!" (1958)


The 20-minute title track is a tribute to the great Horace Silver, and the two other tracks groove along in classic Smith style. The Hammond B3 never sounded so good.

Sonny Clark
Cool Struttin' (1958)


Saxman Jackie McLean serves as a perfect foil to Clark's often understated playing style, with Art Farmer and Philly Joe Jones holding their own. Highlight: the Latin-tinged "Sippin' At Bells," a Miles Davis composition.

Lou Donaldson
Blues Walk (1958)


All Music Guide calls this Donaldson's "undisputed masterpiece," showcasing Donaldson's Bird-like ferocity while remaining accessible, in part through the subtle use of the added percussion provided by the congas of Ray Barretto.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You're a good man, Vince Guaraldi

Vince Guaraldi
"Jazz Impressions" (1965)

A largely mellow set from the San Franciscan best known for his lively scores for the animated "Peanuts" television specials. Vince is backed here by just a piano and bass -- and I'm a sucker for the flowing, drum-less trio sound.

John Coltrane
"Blue Train" (1957)

A legendary record, mixing driving tunes with ballads. Lee Morgan offers up some nice trumpet solos to complement Coltrane's always evocative tenor sax.

Kenny Burrell
"The Best Of Kenny Burrell" (1995)

Fluid guitar lines from the man Duke Ellington called his favorite guitarist. A few tracks from Burrell's best-known album, "Midnight Blue," stand out in this collection.

Got a suggestion for the playlist? Send me an email (the address is over in the left-hand column of this page).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New to the playlist

Tony Bennett/Bill Evans
"The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album" (1975)

That voice, that piano, and nothing else. The lyricized version of Evans' "Waltz For Debby" is new to me. As the father of a little girl, I like it a lot.

Stan Getz/J.J. Johnstone
"Stan Getz and J.J. Johnson at the Opera House" (1957)

The Oscar Peterson Trio is among the backing musicians, but the Getz and Johnstone back-and-forth remains in the spotlight here. Two versions of just about every track are presented -- one from a concert in New York, the other from an L.A. show about a week later.

Miles Davis
"Nefertiti" (1968)

One of the books I read called this the last good album that Davis recorded with his second quintet. Largely mellow, but with the occasional dissonant outburst.

The Quintet
"Jazz at Massey Hall" (1953)

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, together for one night. Legend has it that Parker showed up for the gig without his sax and wound up playing a plastic alto horn for the show. You'd never know
it from how good he sounds.