The soundtrack to Frank Zappa's strange early-'70s film 200 Motels was always doomed to be a peripheral entry in his discography. The movie's story was not easy to follow, and neither is the record (not that plot was ever a big focus of the production). It's typically wacky Zappa of the era, with unpredictable sharp turns between crunchy rock bombast, orchestration, and jazz/classical influences, as well as interjections of wacky spoken dialogue. Those who like his late-'60s/early-'70s work – not as song-oriented as his first albums, in other words, but not as "serious" or as silly as his later records – will probably like this fine, although it's not up to the level of Uncle Meat.
Most musicians when asked to give a list of their favorite composers will usually have at the top, or near the top of the list George Gershwin. They feel that Gershwin wrote in such a fashion that it gives them the most room for improvisation. You will always find that when people are asked to do albums of various composers, invariably Gershwin is on the list. Buddy DeFranco has recorded many albums for me and for two years has been insisting that he be allowed to do a Gershwin album, and this is it…
The first six selections on this CD are from a long-out-of-print LP featuring the brilliant clarinetist Buddy DeFranco with the Oscar Peterson Quartet (Peterson's trio plus drummer Louie Bellson). While the six selections are all standards, DeFranco and Peterson produce plenty of fireworks with the majority of the numbers being taken up-tempo. DeFranco sounds flawless on clarinet, making it sound so easy to play lightning-fast runs; few other clarinetists have ever come close. Recommended.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (fully compatible with standard CD player) and the latest remastering (24bit 192kHz). This long-lost Lee Morgan session was not released for the first time until it was discovered in the Blue Note vaults by Michael Cuscuna in 1984; it has still not been reissued on CD. Originals by Cal Massey, Duke Pearson ("Is That So") and Walter Davis, in addition to a couple of surprising pop tunes ("What Not My Love" and "Once in My Lifetime") and Morgan's title cut, are well-played by the quintet (which includes the trumpeter/leader, Hank Mobley on tenor, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Billy Higgins).
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. A stunning early set as a leader from Elvin Jones – both a tremendous demonstration of the free energy he let loose after the passing of John Coltrane, and a set that's also still got some key Coltrane-esque elements! As with other Jones albums to follow, Elvin's got some key reedmen on hand – George Coleman on tenor, and Frank Foster on tenor, alto, and bass clarinet – both given plenty of room to run around with long solos on the open space of the record – yet without ever blowing off their heads as much as some of the younger players who'd work with Jones. There's no piano at all on the set – just the rock-slid bass of Wilbur Little, and additional congas from Candido next to Elvin's drums. The tracks have a haunting quality that mixes modal grooving with spare moments, and titles include "Simone", "5/4 Thing", "Shinjitu", and a nice version of "Yesterdays".
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. Duke Pearson returned to a big band setting for Now Hear This!, once again proving his agility and inventiveness as an arranger and leader. Working with a larger band than before – the total number of musicians weighs in at 17 – Pearson nevertheless keeps things clean and uncluttered. His compositions, as well as the songs he covers, cover a broad range of emotions, styles, and tonal colors, with lush ballads taking the center stage. Even if much of this music is beautiful, Pearson's arrangements take chances and are unconventional, which means it rewards close listening as well.
Features the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player) and the latest 24bit 192kHz remastering. A real stroke of genius from pianist Andrew Hill – and a surprising one too! After an initial legacy of groundbreaking experimental sides for Blue Note, Hill returns to his "grass roots" on this excellent session of straight ahead, fairly funky, soul jazz piano tunes! In the notes, Hill claims a desire to get back to the people – and in a really unusual turn, he shakes off his previous modernist trappings and goes for territory that's much more in the mode of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, or Hank Mobley on Blue Note!