Ray Charles' seminal recordings for Atlantic have been boxed once before, as the triple-disc 1991 set The Birth of Soul. That box contained 53 tracks, the best moments of what is arguably the best period of Charles' career, but Rhino/Atlantic's 2005 seven-disc sequel, Pure Genius, doesn't bother with merely the highlights: as its subtitle makes clear, this is The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959). This is undeniably a major historical release, since it gathers all of the recordings Charles made at his creative peak, not just as a leader, but as a sideman for his saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and sides he recorded with jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson.
The first million-selling jazz album in history. With Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, bassist Eugene Wright, and drummer Joe Morello, "Time Out" is one of the best-loved records in jazz. Upon its release, the LP reached number two in the U.S charts and stayed there for more than three years. "Take Five", with its 5/4 “Take Five rhythm” became an instrumental jazz staple and a surprise radio hit, entering the record books as the first million-selling jazz instrumental single on the Billboard Hot 100. “Blue Rondo à la Turk” also became an instant classic.
Reissue features the latest DSD remastering and HR cutting. Also features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD players). On Johnny "Hammond" Smith's first album as a leader, the organist simply sits himself down in front of a standard guitar-bass-drums trio (featuring guitarist Thornel Schwartz, who had previously worked with Jimmy Smith) and lets rip. The songs are a nice combination of standards, like "Secret Love," "The Masquerade Is Over" and "Pennies From Heaven," along with Smith originals that have a more blues-based, gospel-like air.
Near the beginning of his career, Michel Legrand was primarily known as a jazz pianist, so it shouldn't be surprising to learn that none of his compositions are present on these 1959 studio sessions, which were issued by Phillips. With bassist Guy Pederson and drummer Gus Wallez, Legrand covers songs by French composers of the day along with the ever-popular "Moulin Rouge" and a somewhat upbeat arrangement of Edith Piaf's usually maudlin "La Vie en Rose," as well as standards from the Great American Songbook by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Vernon Duke, and Mack Gordon. Most of the songs have a Parisian theme to them…
Due to his decision to settle in Los Angeles, tenor saxophonist Harold Land has long been underrated. A strong bop stylist who later on would be influenced a great deal by John Coltrane, Land in 1959 had a sound closer to Sonny Rollins. For this excellent straight-ahead quintet set with trumpeter Dupree Bolton and pianist Elmo Hope, Land performs four of Hope's superior but little-known compositions along with two of his own. This is high-quality hard bop, easily recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz.
Features the latest remastering. Includes a Japanese description and lyrics. Frank Minion's one and only recording is a fascinating window into the world of a jazz performer. Quite cynical and sarcastic toward the jaundiced American view of the jazz life, Minion minces no words in stating his case, his reasons why, and his conclusions as to the home country of the music so thoroughly dismissing the music he loves. As this project was done back in the late '50s and early '60s, it reflects a syndrome that unfortunately still exists 50 years later. The CD reissue begins with a five-part suite based on the talking points and songs reflecting the vagaries and perceptions of a fictional big city neighborhood, which just as easily could be the reality of renaissance Harlem, references to Atlanta, or perhaps his native Baltimore.