As an introduction to the music of the Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos, you can't really do better than this little masterwork which is the toccata from his Bachiana Brasileira No. 2. It was inspired by a ride that Villa-Lobos took in 1931 on just such a train that was transporting berry-pickers and farm laborers between villages…(Jean-Yves Duperron)
A Bert Whyte recording of Maestro Stokowski conducting the Houston Symphony at the Houston Civic Center in 1959. Le Poeme d’extase is a big, one movement work in sonata form that combines the elements of a symphony and a tone poem. The work highlights Scriabin’s development and exploitation of new harmonic ideas including chord structures constructed on intervals of a fourth instead of a third. Coupled on this release is another Stokowski/Houston performance of Amirov’s “Azerbaijan Mugan” recorded on March 16th, 1959 at the Houston Civic Center. Amirov’s composition, masterfully performed by Stokowski and the Houston, exhibits the complicated system of mode scales and fixed melodic patterns characteristic of music of the East.
…On this disc, the quartet plays nine compositions by Ellington and Strayhorn. The interpretations are dominated by the full warm tenor sound of Javon Jackson who is a fantastic young sax man, playing in the Ben Webster tradition here. He is accompanied by the great Mr. Hazeltine, who is the musical director of the record and plays some nice solos, too. Bass and drums are played skilfully, relaxed and with deep feeling by the other two perfect sidemen. Very pleasing and relaxed, that`s the mood of the record, that every jazz fan will like.
The 43 tracks that make up the first part of the The Complete Decca Studio Master Takes 1940-1949 of Louis Armstrong are remarkable not only for the outstanding performances they reflect, but for the many settings Armstrong recorded in during the era. While none of this material will come as a surprise to collectors, those who are starting to check out Armstrong's post-New Orleans period would do themselves a favor in scoping this collection because the Decca years, even more so than his long tenure with Verve, showcase Armstrong at the pinnacle of American popular music, and that that music happens to be jazz is even more revelatory.