Profile for Barry McCanna > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Barry McCanna
Top Reviewer Ranking: 133
Helpful Votes: 4814

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Barry McCanna (Normandy, France)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
52 St. Scene & Free Blown Jazz
52 St. Scene & Free Blown Jazz
Price: £13.11

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SCOTT FREE, 24 Mar. 2014
“52nd Street Scene” was issued in the UK on Coral in 1959, the same year that “Free Blown Jazz” came out in the US on the Carlton label, but I suspect that both date from a couple of years earlier. Tony Scott began participating in sessions at Minton’s around 1941. For the next three years he was in the US Army, playing alto, tenor, clarinet and piano, depending on the settings, but his instrument of choice remained the clarinet, and his preferred genre was bop.

“52nd Street Scene” is a varied and exciting album, which features three distinct line-ups; the most traditional being trumpeter Joe Thomas, trombonists J.C. Higginbotham & Wilbur de Paris, clarinettists Tony Scott & Pee Wee Russell, pianist Sonny White, drummer Denzil Best, Oscar Pettiford on bass and Al Casey on guitar. They introduce the album, with a masterful 11-minute slow blues, in which all get to showcase, and “Love is Just Around the Corner”. A smaller group, comprising Coleman Hawkins, Tony Scott, pianist Tommy Flanagan, Gene Ramey on bass and Walter Bolden on drums, follow with “Body and Soul”, and they’re joined by Jimmy Knepper on trombone for “Ornithology”, which concludes the album. The intervening five tracks feature Tony Scott on clarinet & baritone sax, with Al Cohn on tenor, Red Rodney on trumpet, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, pianist George Wallington, Oscar Pettiford on bass, Roy Haynes on drums, and Mundell Lowe on guitar. “Free Blown Jazz” features Sahib Shibab on baritone sax, Clark Terry on trumpet, Jimmy Knepper on trombone, Henry Grimers/Milt Hinton on bass, pianist Bill Evans, and Paul Motian on drums. This was a very similar line-up to Tony Scott’s 1957 album “The Modern Art of Jazz”, which is equally worth seeking out.

It’s perhaps unfortunate that this reissue follows on the heels of Avid’s 2013 double CD, which included “52nd Street Scene”, and the 2013 4-CD set from Real Gone Jazz, which included “Free Blown Jazz”. That said, if you haven’t got one or the other, or both, it’s a very appealing coupling. Both albums are in stereo, and sound quality is excellent.


Four Classic Albums Plus (Night In Manhattan / Lee Wiley Sings Vincent Youmans & Irving Berlin / West Of The Moon / A Touch Of The Blues)
Four Classic Albums Plus (Night In Manhattan / Lee Wiley Sings Vincent Youmans & Irving Berlin / West Of The Moon / A Touch Of The Blues)
Price: £7.78

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SMOKEY OKIE, 12 Mar. 2014
This is a 2-CD set, the first of which includes two Columbia LPs, namely “Night In Manhattan” with Bobby Hackett and Joe Bushkin amongst others, and the Vincent Youmans/Irving Berlin album. The latter was originally issued as two separate 10” LPs, with 8 tracks apiece, but two tracks from each was sacrificed in order to combine the two onto a 12” LP, on which this reissue is based. By way of compensation, the first CD is completed by the two tracks Lee contributed to an obscure RCA Victor LP “Dave Garroway Presents the Wide, Wide World of Jazz” on which she was accompanied by Deane Kincaide’s Dixieland Band. The second CD comprises two RCA LPs, namely “West Of The Moon” with Ralph Burns & his Orchestra, and “A Touch Of The Blues” with Billy Butterfield & his Orchestra, the latter in stereo. It’s a fantastic bargain; grab it while you can.


Inspirations: Borrowed By Bublé
Inspirations: Borrowed By Bublé
Offered by Giant Entertainment
Price: £5.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STANDARD TIME, 2 Mar. 2014
This double CD set presents earlier versions of songs reprised by Michael Bublé, who drew largely upon the Great American Songbook, standards that made their appearance in the theatre or on screen, sung here by some of their greatest interpreters. It’s disappointing that the tracklists show only basic information, without the background that helps to deepen appreciation. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting compilation, which includes some selections from the outfield, including Dick Robertson with Angelo Ferdinando & his Hotel Great Northern Orchestra, and the original recordings of “Fever” and “Kansas City” by Little Willie John and Little Willie Littlefield respectively. It also duplicates two of the numbers included in the companion “Inspirations” compilation “Rocked by Rod”, namely “My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker and Try a Little Tenderness” by Ray Noble (vocal – uncredited – by Val Rosing).


Inspirations: Rocked By Rod
Inspirations: Rocked By Rod
Price: £6.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WORTH A LISTEN FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS, 2 Mar. 2014
The songs in this generous compilation fall into two distinct categories, to the extent that it’s difficult to see at which audience it’s been targeted. On the one hand there are songs that featured in his Great American Songbook series, and secondly those he would have heard contemporaneously. Whilst no great enthusiast for Rod Stewart, I recognise that in applying his granulated tones to the standards, he introduced a lot of his fans to that wonderful galaxy of compositions, many of which were written for, and featured in, plays and films of the thirties (although you will not glean that from the basic tracklist). I hope this concept will attract some of those beguiled by Rod’s efforts to discover the delights of the originals, although a few versions, like “Manhattan” and “I Get a Kick Out of You”, have dated. On the other hand, the inclusion of more modern artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Arthur Crudup, and Howlin’ Wolf seem somewhat incongruous in such company.


Bad Penny Blues
Bad Penny Blues
Price: £6.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BAND THAT HUMPH BUILT, 2 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Bad Penny Blues (Audio CD)
This 2-CD set offers 44 tracks, including Humph’s early recordings issued on 78s by Parlophone, and all but one of the numbers from the 1954 album recorded live at the Conway Hall. Most were drawn from the existing jazz repertoire, including some quite obscure items, such as “Elephant Stomp Blues”. Others had their roots within the band, with allusions to clarinettist Wally Fawkes, trombonist John Picard, and eccentric saxophonist Bruce Turner. Humph’s strong lead dominates the proceedings, and these are classic recordings which merit their place in any collection of jazz, be it British or more general.


Prima Divas
Prima Divas
Offered by zoverstocks
Price: £4.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LADIES SING THE STANDARDS, 2 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Prima Divas (Audio CD)
The dictionary definition of a diva is a great female singer, and virtually all the subjects of this compilation merit the epithet. It offers 74 tracks ranging from jazz to popular song by an eclectic but mostly familiar company of song thrushes. plus some you may have forgotten, like Chris Connor and Jeri Southern. Most of the songs are standards, many of which originated on stage or screen, and that information, together with details of the accompaniments, could with advantage have been included in the tracklist. Disregard that minor quibble, because this is an excellent compilation.


The British Hit Singles Jan 1940 - Oct 1952: The Missing Charts
The British Hit Singles Jan 1940 - Oct 1952: The Missing Charts
by Sydney D. Waters
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN INDISPENSABLE GUIDE TO FORTIES MUSIC, AND MORE, 17 Feb. 2014
This impressive 300-page publication is subtitled “The Week by Week Top 30 Best Selling 78s: The Missing Charts”. It’s based on statistics compiled by the late Colin Brown from weekly sales figures, although sadly he did not live to see the finished project. Each page of the charts proper carries 3 columns, one per week, showing artist, title, catalogue number, and position against the previous week. That’s interspersed with photos and outline histories of some of the personalities involved, some of which look to have been written in haste. Summaries show the biggest number one hits, a list of titles indexed to artists, songs with the most recorded versions, and an index of song titles. It’s a high-quality hardback production, with an attractive cover decked out with labels of some of the featured records. It should be an indispensable purchase for any devotee of this era of popular music.


Al Bowlly Collection 1927-40
Al Bowlly Collection 1927-40
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £17.29

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A COMPREHENSIVE COLLECTION, 17 Feb. 2014
Apart from 2-CD sets, I can think of only one earlier multiple release, namely the 2003 3-CD Avid set, unless you count the 1995 3-CD Claves set (strictly speaking, a tribute to Lew Stone). So this 4-CD budget-priced set is a welcome addition to the catalogue. It’s not really surprising that it’s weighted in favour of Lew Stone (31), Ray Noble (20), Roy Fox (11), and Monia Liter (7), but since it offers 100 songs, in broadly chronological order, that still leaves room for some less well-known recordings. For example, “Goodnight Sweetheart”, “Love is the Sweetest Thing”, and “The Very Thought of You”, the NMDO versions of which are practically de rigueur for reissues, are included here in alternative versions. The vocals are most extensive on the studio orchestra sides, and some with Monia Liter show Al to have been no mean guitarist. On the down side, prospective purchasers may wish to be aware that the volume varies depending on the recording. Also, Elizalde’s “If I Had You” was recorded at less than 78 rpm, so it needs to be slowed down to achieve the correct pitch, but that has not been catered for in the remastering process, with the result that it’s been reproduced too fast. Against that, the compilation has been selected with care, and includes definitive versions of some of the best popular songs ever written on either side of the Atlantic, which have never been surpassed. Allowing for age and rarity, sound quality is bright and generally very good, the US air check being an exception. It includes a booklet with a detailed tracklist, and a 6-page biography. This is a landmark set, which for recent Bowlly fans will afford instant access to many of his best recordings, and will plug gaps in all but the most complete collections.


Three Classic Albums Plus (Plays Porgy And Bess / Swinging Brass / My Fair Lady)
Three Classic Albums Plus (Plays Porgy And Bess / Swinging Brass / My Fair Lady)
Price: £8.04

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HERE COME DE PIANO MAN, 7 Feb. 2014
The oldest recordings in this compilation feature the trio which featured Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. Three tracks, split across the two CDs, were recorded at Carnegie Hall in September 1952, at the beginning of the twelfth national tour by JATP. Next is the B side of the Verve album of the August 1956 Stratford Shakespearean Festival, which is considered by many to be the finest album recorded by that trio. When guitarist Herb Ellis left he was not replaced; instead drummer Gene Gammage, who’s present on the November 1958 recording of “My Fair Lady”, was included.

The two later albums were recorded within a month of one another, both with Ed Thigpen on drums. “Porgy and Bess” was recorded in October 1959, and “Swinging Brass” in November. Arrangements for the latter album were produced by Russell Garcia, who also conducted the 11-piece backing orchestra. Oscar Peterson was a stylish pianist, and this quality shines throughout the compilation. He was shrewd in his choice of accompanists, with the result that the trio recordings were more than the sum of their parts. I hadn’t heard “Swinging Brass” before, and was bowled over by the arrangements, which clearly were designed to complement the pianist, rather than render him subservient, as might have been the case.


Four Classic Albums (Dancing On The Ceiling / Red Norvo In Stereo / Red Plays The Blues / Music To Listen To Red Norvo By)
Four Classic Albums (Dancing On The Ceiling / Red Norvo In Stereo / Red Plays The Blues / Music To Listen To Red Norvo By)
Price: £7.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EASY ON THE EAR?, 5 Feb. 2014
The oldest of the four albums here is "Dancing on the Ceiling" which was recorded for Decca over four sessions between July 1952 and April 1953. To begin with the trio comprised Red Mitchell on bass and Tal Farlow on guitar, but the latter was replaced midway by Jimmy Raney. "Music to Listen to Red Norvo by" was recorded in early 1957, with a sextet that included Buddy Collette on flute, Bill Smith on clarinet, Barney Kessel on guitar, Red Mitchell, and Shelly Manne on drums. "Red Plays the Blues" was the product of two sessions; the first in January 1957, the second twelve months later, and "Red Norvo in Stereo" was recorded in March 1958. with a 13-piece orchestra.

My preference is for the two earlier albums, particularly "Dancing on the Ceiling", where the accompaniment provides the perfect setting for his vibes, which he deploys to good effect in a set of standards. The sextet album is ostensibly under Norvo's leadership, but composer/clarinettist Bill Smith is much to the fore, and the album concludes with his complex four-movement Divertimento. I suspect that for some this will be the main attraction. "Red Plays the Blues" offers four tracks from the earlier session by a sextet including Harry Edison and Ben Webster, and three by a 13-piece orchestra, with vocals on two by singer Helen Humes. Finally "Red Norvo in Stereo" offers 12 standards by a 14-piece orchestra, featuring Helen Humes on 8 tracks. Her vocals have a throaty quality in the middle register, but acquire a harsher tone as she ascends the scale, and it's that stridency which holds me back from a five-star rating.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20