Along with its fellow CD, Groove Blues, this reissue fully documents all of the music recorded by tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons on the busy day of January 3, 1958. Although there were many guest soloists, only one of the four songs on this half of the set (Mal Waldron's "The Real McCoy") has appearances by John Coltrane (on alto) and the tenor of Paul Quinichette.
Gene Ammons recorded frequently for Prestige during the 1950s and early '60s and virtually all of the tenor's dates were quite rewarding. This two-LP set reissues Twistin' the Jug plus part of Angel Eyes and Velvet Soul. Ammons, a bop-based but very versatile soloist, sounds quite comfortable playing a variety of standards and lesser-known material in groups featuring Jack McDuff or Johnny "Hammond" Smith on organ and either trumpeter Joe Newman or Frank Wess on tenor and flute. This version of "Angel Eyes" became a surprise hit.
There are many Gene Ammons recordings currently available on CD in Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics, since the versatile tenorman was a longtime Prestige recording artist. Unlike his earlier jam sessions, this particular outing finds Ammons as the only horn, fronting a talented rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor, and Ray Barretto on congas). Ammons explores standards (including a near-classic version of "Canadian Sunset"), blues, and ballads in his usual warm, soulful, and swinging fashion. This is a fine outing by one of the true "bosses" of the tenor.
The two early-'60s LPs in the Soul Summit series featured some of the many collaborations of tenors Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, who are joined by organist Jack McDuff and drummer Charlie Persip. Their six performances are primarily riff tunes, with "When You Wish Upon a Star" taken at a medium pace and "Out in the Cold Again" the lone ballad. The second half of this CD, which features both volumes, features Ammons on two songs ("Love, I've Found You" and a swinging "Too Marvelous for Words") with a big band arranged by Oliver Nelson, jamming "Ballad for Baby" with a quintet, sitting out "Scram" (which stars McDuff and the tenor of Harold Vick), and backing singer Etta Jones on three numbers, of which "Cool, Cool Daddy" is the most memorable. Overall, this is an interesting and consistently swinging set that adds to the large quantity of recordings that the great Ammons did during the early '60s.
Gene Ammons gets the Cannonball Adderley treatment – as he blows funky solos over an album arranged and conducted by David Axelrod! Brasswind has a larger, fuller funky sound than some of his earlier work for Prestige – and it works very well! The overall sound's a bit smoother, but Axelrod's edge is still quite sharp, and the polished jazzy arrangements still have plenty of funk to around. George Duke is on keyboards and Carol Kaye plays bass – and other players include Snooky Young, Michael Howell, Jim Horn and Kay Migliori. Titles include "Cantaro", "Brasswind", "Cariba", "Rozzie", and "Once I Loved".
This is a most unusual session. With accompaniment by organist Clarence "Sleepy" Anderson along with bassist Sylvester Hickman and drummer Dorel Anderson, the great tenor performs 11 religious hymns that are straight from the church. Ammons mostly sticks very closely to the themes but gives such melodies as "Abide with Me," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "What a Friend," and "Holy Holy" passion, soul, and honest feelings. Reissued on CD, this little-known album is a rather touching and emotional outing, and is quite unique.
This outstanding DVD features many of the most important artists from the heyday of the big band era. Such giants as Billy Eckstine, Gene Ammons, Andy Kirk, Bing Crosby, Tex Beneke, Johnny Long, Ozzie Nelson and Johnny Messner can be seen here leading their orchestras in superlative fashion.
Billy Eckstine - The celebrated vocalist and band leader Billy Eckstine was one of the most important musical figures of the 1940's.