Top positive review
Jazz is Universal.
on 15 May 2015
One of the finest modern big-bands ever, this 1962 album was their first studio recording.
"Jazz is Universal" was recorded on the Atlantic label and this re-issue on CD - although welcome - isn't quite up to the recording standard of the band's later albums for the German MPS label; whether this is the due to the original tapes or re-mastering I can't tell, but the sound (particularly noticeable with the brass section) is restricted, leading to a perceptible distortion in the upper registers.
That issue aside, the performances themselves are first rate; the album is a Japanese import so the inside liner notes are not very helpful; fortunately the original notes are reproduced on the rear of the jewel case, though you will need a good magnifying glass to read them and - alas, they shed little light on the whole business. Oh, well, at least the order of soloing for each track is on there.
The personnel of the band would change over the decades, but notable among the line-up here are English altoist Derek Humble, Scottish trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar and American tenorist Zoot Sims. A feature for the trumpet section on track 4 suffers most from the sound problems; it is tolerable with open speakers and some adjustment to the equaliser settings, but I wouldn't recommend using headphones when listening to this album.
The (current) price is reasonable, the music itself is good and there are no other re-issues of this particular album currently available; running time is just over 37 mins. It probably won't please the audiophiles, but at least its available.
3 ½ stars ideally, but I am inclined to be generous as I love this band.