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Ben Webster – Stormy Weather
This album was recorded at the Montmartre Jazzhus in Copenhagen on a Saturday evening at the end of January, 1065, a few months after Ben had moved to Europe. This is very much Ben's record, the fidelity catching the feathering off of the notes as they die away and become simply a vibrating column of air. Music like this is ageless and we should be grateful that this jazz giant made it for us.
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Duke Ellington – The Feeling of Jazz
This is a nice all-around set by the 1962 Duke Ellington Orchestra. Whether it be the lightweight but fun "Taffy Twist," "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" (the theme from Anatomy of a Murder) or the many songs revived from decades earlier (such as "What Am I Here For?," "Black and Tan Fantasy" and "Jump for Joy"), this vinyl LP is filled with consistently swinging music.
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Miles Davis – Bopping the Blues
One of Miles Davis’ earliest recording sessions. The very first known instance of the famed trumpeter playing in an “open” style, and in a band with legendary tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons and drummer Art Blakey. Need any more be said? Very few jazz albums possess more historical import and wow-inspiring significance than Bopping the Blues, which documents a 1946 session in which Davis supported a group and two singers, Earl Coleman and Ann Baker, in a splendid bop affair. Yes, it’s got that elusive Holy Grail quality.
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Thelonious Monk – Something in Blue
Art Tatum's famous saying, "There's no such thing as a wrong note, it all depends on how you resolve it." With Monk, there's no such thing as a wrong rhythm, provided you can have fun fooling the listeners. It just goes to show that, excellent though Art Blakey is on this album, ultimately Monk is his own Blakey, just as he is probably his own most intelligent critic.