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Reviews Written by
Mike Powell (Tregaron, Ceredigion United Kingdom)

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Brilliant Corners
Brilliant Corners
Offered by Japan-Select
Price: £14.22

23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Music to think about, 19 April 2002
This review is from: Brilliant Corners (Audio CD)
This is a very mysterious CD. Thelonious Monk is a revered jazz musician and composer, he is an influence of gigantic proportions, The Rough Guide to Jazz recommends this album but for all that, somehow, I cannot bring myself to like it. Perhaps it is too intellectual for me, I like my music to swing and this does not and yet most of the personnel can and do swing on other recordings.
The strangest thing of all is I have to keep listening to it and perhaps in an odd way I am coming to appreciate it. Is it possible to appreciate music without enjoying it? Could it be that appreciation, understanding and enjoyment follow one another? I hope so because these are top jazz musicians playing music I don't really understand but I feel in re-listening my time will be well spent and rewarded; for that reason alone this CD deserves its place in my collection.

My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great jazz trio, 16 April 2002
This review is from: My Fair Lady (Audio CD)
What a group, Shelly Manne, Andre Previn, Leroy Vinnegar, and My Fair Lady this CD's a real swinger. Andre Previn seems to have made so few jazz records and yet in my book he is among the best jazz pianists some how he can improvise on a tune without loosing sight of the melody. Pity he had to spend so much time on the other side.
Vinnegar and Manne do tend to play supporting roles but are vital to the driving piano. A good CD, in fact, a very good CD, if you like, My Fair Lady, jazz trios or good music buy it. You won't be sorry.

Oscar Peterson, Harry Edison & Eddie 'cleanhead' Vinson
Oscar Peterson, Harry Edison & Eddie 'cleanhead' Vinson
Offered by momox co uk
Price: £18.28

4.0 out of 5 stars A showcase for two giants of jazz, 14 April 2002
Harry Edison is rated as their favorite trumpet player by star... so who am I to argue? Perhaps this CD goes to some way to show why he is so highly regarded. Certainly so often he is buried in a large orchestra but here accompanied only by Oscar Peterson, who contributes mightily, he is free to express himself.
They are two giants of jazz playing along together as a showcase for each other. To get the full benefit from this meeting the listeners have to concentrate but the more effort they make the more will be their reward.


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small group jazz in it finest form, 14 April 2002
This review is from: Fontessa (Audio CD)
If, heaven forbid, I could have only one CD from my collection this would be it. The MJQ are not only intellectually challenging but are thoroughly enjoyable and foot tapping too.
This CD is no exception, recorded in 1956, it is a fine example of the group as a well-developed and integrated outfit. Fontessa the track has a great Connie Kay drum solo or should I say symbol solo in it. The ensemble playing is terrific; how well Lewis and Jackson fit together whether backing or in duet is demonstrated throughout the recording. Percy Heath's contribution is always there in the background but make no mistake background or not it is vital and keeps the group moving.
This CD is a great example of small group jazz in it finest form.

Stuff Smith-Dizzy Gillespie-Oscar Peterson
Stuff Smith-Dizzy Gillespie-Oscar Peterson

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, exciting and enjoyable, 12 April 2002
Stuff Smith is not a highly acknowledged jazz violinist but never the less he provides some great jazz, more of an embellisher than an improviser his music is at the same time simple exciting and enjoyable.
This CD is culled from three previously released LP albums. The second of which, previously "Stuff Smith", contains some very nice solos from a guitarist who sadly is not given a credit. On the third Dizzy Gillespie fluctuates from a Harry Edison sound alike to his usual many noted bop style, fun and great trumpet. Oscar Peterson also featured on these two albums is in top form.
The first album previously "Have Violin will Travel" has Carl Perkins on piano, this like all Stuff's music swings like mad. This two-disc CD set is a fine tribute to a little known but worthy jazzman. Sound well up to Verve's usual standard.

Sings Blues & Folk Songs
Sings Blues & Folk Songs

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine blues singer, 11 April 2002
This is an odd CD in that it is composed with the two opposite ends of Brother John's style. Firstly he is accompanied by Count Basie's rhythm section plus Ruby Braff a very sophisticated offering then he is accompanied by Sonny Terry and Johnny Johns in a fairly raw bluesy instrumentation. These two very different approaches do not come in two different sections but are intermingled.
Whether you feel this is an appropriate way to present such a fine blues singer is a personal choice. Its good listening but the changes certainly continue to throw me.

After Midnight: The Complete Session
After Midnight: The Complete Session
Price: £3.99

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you want from Nat King Cole, 31 Mar. 2002
A CD with everything you want from Nat King Cole, his voice, his piano, his trio, his kind of jazz and some great guests sitting in. This is the ultimate King Cole recording made in 1956, with five tracks partnered by Harry Edison (trumpet), five with Willie Smith (alto sax.) four with Juan Tizol (valve trombone) and four with Stuff Smith (violin).
I found Juan Tizol disappointing probably because I like my valve trombone player to be a bit more aggressive but the other three fitted in with Cole and the trio superbly. It was my introduction to Stuff Smith and how that man can swing. Harry Edison is everybody's favorite from Sinartra onwards and Willie Smith has a very lyrical style that fits so well with the songs in which he plays.
Throughout Nat and his trio produce some really fine jazz, soft, easy to listen to, on a CD that is well mastered and produced.

Lush Life
Lush Life
Offered by thebookcommunity
Price: £20.82

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jazz for the thinking man., 28 Mar. 2002
This review is from: Lush Life (Audio CD)
Odd for a jazz fan not to like a solo saxophone but that's how it was with me, until I got this CD. Not that it is easy listening, it takes some time to fully appreciate; but the accumulative effect is, the more you listen the more you get out of it.
Of the five tracks the first are a trio, sax drums and bass recorded in 1957, on four add trumpet and piano and piano on five these two tracks were recorded in 1958. So follow at a time early in Coltrane's short solo career.
From 1957 to the end of his life in 1967 his music constantly and radically developed and this CD is a good example of his early music. Jazz for the thinking man.

The Best Of The Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker
The Best Of The Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker
Price: £5.00

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This music is like an old friend, 21 Mar. 2002
When I first heard these tracks back in the fifties they were too modern, too West Coast, beyond my understanding and yet now they seem like old friends. Gerry Mulligan was Pacific Jazz's first artist and thank goodness they were there to record this lot. The group only lasted eleven months during which time they recorded all but one of the tracks on this CD. The odd one "Festive Minor" was recorded five years later at a reunion and shows Baker a little more strident than previously.
All the old Mulligan favorites are on the CD and demonstrate the empathy that he and Baker had at the time. It is music of the fifties but worth reinvestigating in the 2000s.

Live at the New School-Complete
Live at the New School-Complete
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.60

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favourites, 20 Mar. 2002
Digby Fairweather called this group "a dazzling quartet, one of the great small groups in jazz." I wouldn't argue with that, in fact if I rated my own collection in order of gratification this CD would be in the top three. Sadly the group lasted only from 1973 to 1975; this recording being made live in 1974.
The group consisted of two gifted virtuosos and two modest rhythm
men, Michael Moore (bass) and Wayne Wright (guitar), who, during the whole of the 20 tracks never take a solo. They simply provide the finest of backgrounds for Ruby Braff (trumpet) and George Barnes (guitar) to create masterful patterns. Musically the empathy of these co-equal accompanists provides jazz in the mainstream form of the highest integrity. The more you hear this music the more you appreciate it.
Without doubt this is a very special recording made by the New School Audio Engineering Class and as stated the music is recorded very satisfactorily however there were no voice mics. so much of the verbal crossfire is lost. But there again one buys these CDs for the music.

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