Drummer Art Blakey led many great editions of the Jazz Messengers from the inaugural mid-'50s sessions until his death in the '90s. While arguments rage regarding which was his best, there is no doubt that the 1960-1961 unit figures in the debate. This wonderful six-disc set, notated with care and painstaking detail by Bob Blumenthal, covers studio and live sessions from March 6, 1960, to May 27, 1961, with the same personnel on all but two songs. Producer Michael Cuscuna used only first issue dates, and while he included some alternate takes, he did not litter the discs with second-rate vault material. They smoothly detail the band's evolution, cohesion, and maturation. This set, as with all Mosaic boxes, goes beyond essential. Get it post haste.
Adderly worked with psychedelic cosmonaut David Axelrod among others and the religious themes which borrow from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita and Buddhism make an interesting backdrop to the blues jazz rock fusion showcased on this double album. i've come back to this album more than a few times only to pick up on something new on the way. it's a fun idea to put cool religious/philosophical concepts over swinging seventies soul jazz fusion. not that the sermons are long and dominate the record - they don't . they usually just open a new set and leave you to marvel at some profound idea while the musicians do their thing after that! Somewhat similar or comparable to Miles' "Bitch's Brew" album, though perhaps less dark.
Pianist Oscar Peterson had a reunion with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown at a well-publicized get-together at New York's Blue Note in March 1990. The trio (his regular group of the late '50s) was augmented by Peterson's late-'60s drummer Bobby Durham for spirited performances. Rather than using their complex arrangements of the past, the pianist and his alumni simply jammed through the performances and the results are quite rewarding. On the first of four CDs released by Telarc, the quartet performs "Honeysuckle Rose," a ballad medley, three of the pianist's originals and "Sweet Georgia Brown." As this and the other CDs in the series show, the magic was still there.