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Bill Evans – At The Montreux Jazz Festival
The audience at this 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival concert was fully aware of the intensity of the interplay between the musicians and leapt from their seats to applaud frenetically, which both surprised and inspired the three. All in all, this is an outstanding production, especially now that the sound has been enhanced to satisfy today’s discerning listener.
Bill Evans Trio – Bill Evans at Town Hall…….Volume One
It’s hard to believe, but the highly acclaimed, classically trained Bill Evans had to wait until February 1966 before he could give a concert in New York. The city’s Town Hall proffered an auspicious venue for the Trio after performing in clubs with their frequently bad conditions.
Billie Holiday – Body And Soul
If ever there was anyone who had the right to sing these songs, then it must be Billie Holiday! For who else has experienced the destruction of body and soul? No matter whether the injuries came from without or within: she could express her emotions and feeling in each and every song. Shortly before the end of her career - her personality had been destroyed through alcohol, drugs and failed relationships - she entered the Verve studio where she recorded the most moving versions ever of these eight songs.
Billie Holiday – Body And Soul -45
Small jazz groups brought out the best in Billie Holiday - especially groups as good as the one heard on this classic 1957 recording. Ben Webster, Harry 'Sweets' Edison and the other members of this stellar ensemble were not just gifted soloists but sensitive accompanists as well. 'Lady Day' was rarely more ably supported than she was on this program of sturdy standards, including three gems by the Gershwin brothers - and she rarely sounded more luminous. Recording: in mono
Charlie Haden : Nocturne
Charlie Haden teams up once more with the young Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba for this melancholy, soothing album. Ignacio Berroa, on drums and percussion, completes the core trio. Special guests include tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Sanchez, violinist Federico Britos Ruiz, and guitarist Pat Metheny (one track only). Rubalcaba contributes orchestrations on two cuts, both of which omit drums and percussion.
Coleman Hawkins – The Genius Of Coleman Hawkins
Just listen to the fabulous flow of improvisation – it was not first with this recording that Coleman Hawkins proved that he was the first tenor saxophonist who knew how turn into music what he heard in his head. And then he has this gloriously warm yet thrilling sound; no matter whether it’s a slow tempo or a racy piece, “Hawk” remains superb, always recognisable and always an individualist. In the way he constructs his improvisations, one has the feeling that it just has to be like that, that there’s no other path to follow. It’s really a waste of time to try to pick out any one number – although they are all short, each and every one is a gem.
Coleman Hawkins and Confreres
Surely there is no better number in which one can enjoy two tenor saxophones “with a big sound” (and by that one means a meaty, fat sound, loud and expressive yet melodious) than Maria. Ben Webster had long passed along the path of imitator, then pupil to himself become a master. His “college attendance”, as one might put it, in the Duke Ellington Orchestra gave him a sureness of expression in his great showpieces and he also learnt to hold his own against such musical giants as Paul Gonsalves and Jimmy Hamilton.
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet – An Electrifying Evening with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet
Dizzy Gillespie, trumpet and leader; Leo Wright, alto sax and flute; Lalo Shifrin, piano; Chuck Lampkin, drums; Bob Cunningham, bass.
Duke Ellington /Johnny Hodges – Back to Back
After an initial hearing of this album, with Royal garden as its contentedly swinging final track, one can only hope that in future LPs Duke may continue to allot himself a measure of solo assignments compatible with his talent. On these sides there is no orchestra in the general sense of the term, yet Duke has found, on a more conventional instrument, a completely engaging means of personal expression. Back to Back, like its compendium Side By Side, has The Duke teamed up with Johnny Hodges.
Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges – Side By Side
In Back to Back there is an extended chance to hear them in almost after-hours small combo context with much the same unhurried warmth as used to characterize the small units from the Ellington orchestra that recorded in the thirties and forties on Vocalion and Bluebird. Ellington, it has been said to the point of cliche, uses his orchestra as his instrument; but he also plays the piano, and he plays it extraordinarily well, both as a soloist and as a superbly helpful accompanist who keeps other soloists afloat without pushing them in any direction but the one in which they want to go.
Ella Fitzgerald – Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie
"Clap Hands includes the most breathtaking vocalizing of 'Round Midnight' and possibly the most intimate sonics of any jazz vocal record in history." - Fred Kaplan, The Absolute Sound, December 2005 (included in Kaplan's "Best-Sounding Jazz LPs")
Ella Fitzgerald – Sings The Cole Porter Song Book
Each and every one is a classic in its own right. Bregman’s arrangements never seek to disguise the fact that all these songs originated on Broadway, and Ella proves her greatness by finding something new in such old favourites as Night and Day, I Love Paris and I Get A Kick Out Of You. And as if that wasn’t enough, Bregman’s orchestra sounds absolutely splendid. What a pity, many will say, that all 50 songs weren’t recorded.