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THELONIOUS MONK With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall Album Cover With John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
THELONIOUS MONK
4.90 | 11 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Monk's Music Album Cover Monk's Music
THELONIOUS MONK
4.85 | 20 ratings
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CAB CALLOWAY Hi De Hi De Ho Album Cover Hi De Hi De Ho
CAB CALLOWAY
5.00 | 4 ratings
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THELONIOUS MONK Misterioso Album Cover Misterioso
THELONIOUS MONK
4.89 | 7 ratings
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LOUIS ARMSTRONG Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy Album Cover Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
LOUIS ARMSTRONG
4.86 | 7 ratings
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BUDDY RICH Rich in London (aka Very Alive at Ronnie Scott's aka At Ronnie Scotts) Album Cover Rich in London (aka Very Alive at Ronnie Scott's aka At Ronnie Scotts)
BUDDY RICH
5.00 | 3 ratings
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OLIVER NELSON The Blues and the Abstract Truth Album Cover The Blues and the Abstract Truth
OLIVER NELSON
4.83 | 7 ratings
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DUKE ELLINGTON Ellington At Newport Complete Album Cover Ellington At Newport Complete
DUKE ELLINGTON
4.98 | 3 ratings
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DOC CHEATHAM Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton Album Cover Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton
DOC CHEATHAM
4.96 | 3 ratings
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BEN WEBSTER The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster (aka King Of The Tenors) Album Cover The Consummate Artistry of Ben Webster (aka King Of The Tenors)
BEN WEBSTER
4.95 | 3 ratings
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ROBERTA FLACK First Take Album Cover First Take
ROBERTA FLACK
4.93 | 3 ratings
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ARTURO SANDOVAL Swingin' Album Cover Swingin'
ARTURO SANDOVAL
4.92 | 3 ratings
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COLEMAN HAWKINS Supreme

Live album · 1995 · Bop
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Steve Wyzard
DO NOT DISMISS

So identified with the 1930s-50s, many people are stunned to find out that Coleman Hawkins was still both recording and performing well into the 1960s. Even more are surprised to learn that he outlived John Coltrane by two years. Supreme, released in 1995 on Enja Records, is from a concert on September 25, 1966 at the Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore. This was recorded very near the end of his run as one of the most influential tenor saxmen ever. He was just short of 62 and dealing with a number of health issues that would shortly send him to retirement. Backed by Barry Harris, piano, Gene Taylor, bass, and Roy Brooks, drums and producer, his tone is nowhere near what it used to be, but he is still well worth hearing.

You've heard the rumors: so how much does Hawkins actually play on this album? Let's break it down, track by track:

1. "Lover Come Back to Me" (17:09): first 6 minutes, last 2 minutes. 2. "Body and Soul" (10:09): throughout (naturally). 3. "In Walked Bud" (16:42): first 5-1/2 minutes, last 1-1/2 minutes. 4. "Quintessence" (9:05): first 5-1/2 minutes, last 2 minutes. 5. "Fine and Dandy" (10:30): first 3-1/2 minutes, last 1-1/2 minutes. 6. "Ow" (1:27): throughout.

As you can see, Hawkins spends a lot of this concert not playing. While surely some of this can be attributed to his generosity with soloing space (and it should be mentioned that Harris, Taylor, and Brooks are all exceptional players), no doubt it can also be explained by the old, used-and-abused diaphragm not being what it used to be. It's easy to hear that those in attendance that night were in absolute awe of seeing a living legend at this late date. There's an especially overwhelming ovation after Hawk's opening solo on "Quintessence".

It should also be mentioned that there are some faults with the source tape that occasionally produce strange echoes/distortions with the recorded sound. If you can overlook these caveats, you should enjoy listening to this performance. But do not begin listening to Supreme with any idea that it is his "greatest" or even "most representative" concert recording. While he did start out in the early days of recorded sound, there are plenty of opportunities out there to explore Coleman Hawkins in his prime. Listen to this album for what it is: an old master near the end of the line, playing the music he loves in spite of the setbacks of age.

DAVID BLOOM David Bloom and Cliff Colnot : Shadow Of A Soul

Album · 2022 · Big Band
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js
“Shadow of a Soul” is the fourth album by composer David Bloom, and just like on his three previous albums, he has enlisted Cliff Colnot to provide arrangements. These two make quite a team, its hard to put an exact genre on their work, big band arranging is the closest you can get, but this is much more than just that. The ensembles on “Shadow” range from big bands to smaller groups with very unique instrumental groupings. Every single piece on here has its own ensemble and tone colors, and the musical influences range from contemporary jazz to art pop and soundtracks, as well as impressionistic classical music. Most of the pieces are fairly short, never much longer than five minutes, with some being only a minute or two which gives the album an appealing library music type effect. Brevity is a rare thing in the world of jazz.

Latin rhythms play a big part on some of the best tracks. “For Eddie P” features Afro-Cuban rhythms in a tribute to Eddie Palmieri, and pianist Ryan Cohan does a great job of channeling Eddie’s fierce and dissonant piano barrages. Ryan is also featured on other tracks as well. Some other Latin tracks feature the saxophone work of Mike Smith and the bright high end trumpet work of Victor Garcia. Besides the Latin numbers, you also get tone poems that recall the pastoral work of Gil Evans and Marie Schneider. Alto flutes are often featured in the melodies, delivering their signature smooth sound.

Bloom lists Wayne Shorter as a major compositional influence, and album opener “Mischievous Mark Colby”, could pass as a Shorter piece, particularly when Dave Liebman delivers an imaginative soprano sax solo. Dave also appears on the album’s title track as well. You could call much of this album ‘big band’ music, but ultimately this is contemporary instrumental music that draws on many influences and sound colors.

ESTER WIESNEROVA Blue Journal

Album · 2022 · Vocal Jazz
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One of the first things that will hit you about Ester Wiesnerova’s debut CD is what an elaborate package it comes in. You get this thick soft covered book full of lyrics, photos and even empty pages in case you want to add to the introspective nature of Ester’s thoughts, and of course a CD folded into the back cover. Such an elaborate production could seem pretentious if the music didn’t carry the same amount of care and careful presentation as the package itself, but Ester comes through with some remarkable songs that obviously carry the same ornate and thoughtful compositions as the package that it comes in. These are very personal and introspective songs played by a well rehearsed band that seems to be very much in tune with Ester’s every thought and emotion. No, this isn’t veteran jazz cats blowing through some chord charts, but more like a modern art pop band with members who have been working and growing together for a while.

One of the first things that will hit you about the music on “Blue Journal” is what a colorful and unique lineup. Along with Ester’s soaring vocals, you also get Charles Overton on harp (stringed harp, like the ones the angels play, not harmonica), Kan Yanabe on hand drums and percussion, Michal Selep on stand up bass and Sam Knight on saxophones and possibly un-credited clarinet. The tone colors they create are carefully constructed so that each tune has its own personal flavor. Sometimes only one or two musicians are playing at a time, which adds more to the variety. Also, occasionally Knight’s woodwinds are double tracked to create a chamber woodwind ensemble.

Wiesnerova’s melodies avoid clichés and present small surprises in a manner that may remind some of Joni Mitchell, or some of Esperanza Spaulding’s latest work. Ester sites Joni, along with Maria Schneider and Lusiana Souza as major influences. Song topics range from a man and woman who find their budding attraction to each other separated by Trump’s Mexican border wall, to the numbing effect of social media, plus plenty of musings by an artist who is not afraid to challenge herself even if it means failure at times. Ester is originally from Slovakia but has since traveled the world and lived in many places, leading her to ask herself, “Who are You Now”.

IKE QUEBEC With A Song In My Heart

Album · 1980 · Swing
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Steve Wyzard
BALLADS'N'BLUES

In this album's effusive sleeve notes by Bob Porter, Ike Quebec is called "one of the very best tenor players who ever lived." That might be stretching it just a bit, but it's nice to have With A Song In My Heart to hear what the fuss was all about. Both Jimmy Smith and Grant Green thought highly enough of Ike to have him sit in on two different albums each.

Part of Blue Note's infamous "LT" series, this album was recorded in two sessions less than a year before Ike's untimely death from cancer (age: 44) in 1963. Often compared to Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster, Ike's late night boudoir tone is on full display throughout these recordings. If the listener should notice a lack of cohesiveness, it's because these songs were not meant to be compiled to make an album, but to be released as 45s for the jukeboxes of bars and restaurants. Lightly backed by organ, guitar, bass, and drums, Ike wails his way through six standard ballads. The tempos pick up for "With a Heart in My Song", "All of Me", and "But Not For Me" before returning to the blues phrases he plays so well.

Due to "personal problems", Ike Quebec's recording career can be considered "spotty" at best. In the interest of full disclosure, all nine of the songs on With A Song In My Heart have been compiled with others into a 2-CD set with all of his "jukebox" work. Consider this album to be an effective sampler, despite the darkly lit theatre curtain that serves as its cover.

DAVID ANGEL Out on the Coast

Album · 2021 · Big Band
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This week’s installment on jazz musicians who deserve more recognition goes to composer and arranger David Angel. As orchestrator Brad Dechter put it, “David Angel is quite possibly the best composer you have never heard of “. You may not know David by name, but you have probably heard his music in countless TV shows and movies including a long running gig on “Bonanza” that started when David was only 21. Along with his work as soundtrack composer and educator, David has also been running a big band rehearsal group out of Los Angeles since 1969. A remarkable number of big name artists have passed through that band including George Bohannon, Bud Shank, Bob Brookmeyer, Art Pepper, Victor Feldman and many more. Given how long Angel has been running this project it comes as a surprise that prior to this year Angel had only one album out as a leader. Long time associate and horn player Jim Self decided it was time to get more of Angel’s music out to the public so he organized this extensive recording project that resulted in the three CD, “Out on the Coast”.

David’s music is very west coast, with a typical track rolling along in a relaxed swing feel, but there is variety too with Latin numbers, waltzes, ballads and blues too. David’s forte is contrapuntal arranging in which intertwining voices twist around each other in kaleidoscope textures. These arrangements will often continue even while the soloists stretch out providing interesting tone colors to counter the solos. David cites French impressionists such as Ravel and Debussy as major influences, as well as early ‘cool’ proponents such as Gerry Mulligan and Gil Evans, and of course the Duke.

Most of these tracks are David Angel originals with a few covers thrown in as well. Of the originals, some standouts include a Quincy Jones sounding bluesy jam session called “Ah Rite” and “Out on the Coast 3” on which the two flutes melody recalls kitsch TV soundtrack music from the 60s. There are also several lengthy suite like numbers on which David displays his ability to bring different moods to one piece of music. Of the covers, Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” features alto saxophonist Gene Cipriano channeling Johnny Hodges to make this one really come alive with the spirit of the Duke’s long running band. Also from the Ellington repertoire we get French horn soloist Stephanie O’Keefe doing an excellent job on Billy Stray horn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing”.

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JONI MITCHELL Shadows And Light

Movie · 1980 · Vocal Jazz
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Slartibartfast
Joni Mitchell meets The Pat Metheny Group.

What can I say? This was my real introduction into the music of Joni and what a place to start! She had really entered a new phase and the tracks offered span from Court And Spark up to Mingus (and of course, the song Shadows And Light, exclusive to the live album).

The concert was an outdoors affair at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. The liner notes say that "this concert catches Joni at the height of her artistic excellence." Having explored her albums after and before this era, I can wholeheartedly agree with that. Jaco Pastorius, who had a reputation at that point of being erratic in live situations, seems to be in a good mode. The camera work is good and the concert is now available on DVD with 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio all of which make for a show worthy of revisiting from time to time.

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
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Blue Train Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
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