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.
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.
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.
Ironically, Gene "Jug" Ammons tended to be critical of organists; he was quoted as saying that "organ players don't know any changes." However, as critical the Chicago tenor saxman might have been of organists – most of them, anyway – he did some of his best work in their presence. When you united Ammons with Jack McDuff, Johnny "Hammond" Smith and other B-3 masters in the '60s, the sparks would fly. They certainly fly on this excellent album, which finds Ammons and Richard "Groove" Holmes co-leading a soul-jazz/hard bop organ combo that also includes guitarist Gene Edwards and drummer Leroy Henderson.
The focus of this exciting, if imperfect, CD is a 1973 reunion of Gene "Jug" Ammons and Sonny Stitt, who were responsible for some of the most famous tenor saxophone battles of the 1940s and early '50s. When the two locked horns, it was musical sportsmanship at its finest. Jug and Stitt had a mutual respect for one another, and their battles were the essence of friendly competition.