Astrud Gilberto's entry in the nicely appointed Verve Jazz Masters compilation series shows exactly why the Brazilian singer is deserving of such an accolade. In her '60s heyday, Gilberto was often derided by jazz purists for her vibrato-less "desafinado" (deliberately slightly off-pitch) singing style and deadpan, childlike voice. But the diminutive bossa nova star has since been a huge influence on dozens of jazz and pop singers. VERVE JAZZ MASTERS is less of a greatest hits package than it is a smartly balanced retrospective of many of Gilberto's best performances. Her biggest hits, "Call Me" and "Summer Samba," are not included, and her signature tune, "The Girl From Ipanema," is only represented by a live take from a 1964 Carnegie Hall concert. The collection places equal emphasis on Gilberto's bossa nova-style interpretations of jazz standards and on her signature Portuguese-language sambas.
Album released in 1994 compiling the main hits of the Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto (Bahia, 1940) in her previous recordings. Despite the usual quality of Verve recordings, in this case it misses a real remastering of the original records, on topics such as his famous 'Girl from Ipanema'. But the sweetness, quality and warmth of the voice of Astrud allowed to pass on these inconveniences, highlighting its enormous importance among the other stars of Brazilian music.
Astrud Gilberto, the Brazilian canary with the voice like honey and diction that defied belief, has been compiled many times on Verve, but rarely as well as on her entry in 2003's The Diva Series. A 21-track of her prime decade, the '60s, this one includes all of the classics associated with her: "The Girl From Ipanema," "Agua de Beber," "Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)," "So Nice (Summer Samba)," and "Dindi." Not all of her LPs have been reissued on CD (in the States), so the compilers also added tracks that may surprise a few Gilberto fans, like "Eu e Voce" and "Canto de Ossanha (Let Go)."
Nat Hentoff prefaced his 1956 down beat review of Verve's first Ella Fitzgerald-Louis Armstrong collaboration with a prediction: "Ella and Louis is one of the very, very few albums to have been issued in this era of the LP flood that is sure to endure for decades." Today, those sublime performances, along with two subsequent Norman Granz-produced Fitzgerald-Armstrong albums, are regarded as milestones of American music. A dozen gems from these works are presented here.
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and pianist Oscar Peterson are the stars of this delightful collection of jazz recordings supervised by producer Norman Granz over an almost exactly 12-month period extending from 1953 to 1954. Granz's marvelous knack for bringing together excellent musicians resulted in the combined presence of trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, trombonist Bill Harris, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, tenor saxophonists Ben Webster and Flip Phillips, guitarist Herb Ellis, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Buddy Rich. The combination of musical minds is extraordinary, and Hamp's amazing wavelength is dependably positive and uplifting.
Antonio Carlos Jobim's entry in the exhaustive Verve Jazz Masters set of historical reissues is one of the best single-disc Jobim anthologies available. It's not got much in the way of historical range, since it stops in the mid-'60s, just before Jobim left Verve for Reprise and then A&M. However, since Jobim's Verve years were, in the minds of many, his career highpoint, Verve Jazz Masters 13 distills the best of his most artistically and commercially successful period. Nearly all of Jobim's greatest songs are here in their definitive versions, and the whole is sequenced thoughtfully, so that the disc has a logical and delightful flow. This is magnificent stuff, as well as being the birth of bossa nova.
Not all of the installments in the Verve Jazz Masters series contain material originally issued on Verve. Verve Jazz Masters 3, for example, consists of 14 examples drawn from seven Chick Corea LPs released on the Polydor label during the years 1972-1978. Six of these come from Corea's Return to Forever period. The backbone of this collection (tracks one, seven, ten and fourteen) are selections from the highly acclaimed album Light as a Feather (1972) and there are excerpts from Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973) and No Mystery (1975). The other eight titles are traceable to Corea's theatrically costumed and somewhat heavy-handed production albums The Leprechaun (1975), My Spanish Heart (1976), Friends (1978) and The Mad Hatter (1978)…
Verve Jazz Masters 57 presents an introduction to the recordings of George Shearing. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
"…I just asked the band what they'd like to play, and they said, 'Oh, let's play some "I'll Remember April", or let's play some "September in the Rain".' So we did , and (the latter) sold nine hundred thousand copies." So London-born George Shearing reminisces on his early US fame and fortune in Brian Priestley's liner note. Shearing had an almost uncanny knack for creating music both pleasing to the public and artistically satisfying - as can be heard in this compilation of his early Fifties MGM sessions, which includes many tracks never issued on CD.
Verve Jazz Masters 31 presents an introduction to the recordings of Cannonball Adderley. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
Cannonball Adderley was a happy man in an angry time. His success was largely based on that fact and so were his limitations. Called 'the new Bird" because of his remarkable facility on the alto saxophone, he never plumbed the dark depths of sorrow the way his predecessor did: he was Ella Fitzgerald to Charlie Parker's Billie Holiday. Nor did he ebulllient saxophone is showcased here playing classic songs, in small combos, swinging octets, and backed by string orchestras - from his mid-Fifties output for Mercury and EmArcy. With Paul Chambers, Kenny Clarke, John Coltraine, J.J. Johnson, Wynton Kelly an, of course, Cannonball's brother, Nat.
Verve Jazz Masters 37 presents an introduction to the recordings of Oscar Peterson. The enclosed booklet includes biographical material and commentary on the songs selected.
Ever since the beginning of jazz its practitioners have embraced the songs of musical theater as a source for interpretation. But who can explain why show music has such a hold over jazz artists - especially when there are enough original compositions within their own medium to choose for reinterpretation. Perhaps it's because this music has universal appeal, and a song grows with each new recording by a different performer…