When Detroiter David Usher and Dizzy Gillespie founded the Dee Gee record label, they might have had an inkling that their project could, and would, fail financially due to poor distribution, the conversion from 78s to LPs, and the heavy hammer of the taxman. They might have felt, but could not have imagined, that they would create some of the most essential and pivotal jazz recordings for all time, not to mention some of the last great sides of the pioneering bebop era. Gillespie's large ensembles brought to public attention the fledgling young alto and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, such Detroiters as guitarist Kenny Burrell or pianist/vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and vocalists Joe Carroll, Freddy Strong and Melvin Moore. Considering the years – 1951 and 1952 – this was revolutionary breakthrough music from a technical and entertainment aspect, delightful music that has stood the test of time and displays the trumpeter in his prime as a bandleader.
As a label, Blue Note has been changing its focus, drifting closer and closer to mainstream pop material – not that there's anything wrong with this, but it is a bit of a shock that the name label in jazz since 1939 is looking for hits with Elisabeth Withers and a third Norah Jones offering. That said, the Metro Blue imprint of the label is as adventurous as ever, and the self-titled offering from the Bird and the Bee is about as eclectic as it gets. The Bird and the Bee are vocalist and songwriter Inara George (for music historians, she is the daughter of the late Little Feat singer, guitarist, and songwriter Lowell George) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Greg Kurstin.
Functioning as something of a replacement for the 2001 collection Their Greatest Hits: The Record, The Ultimate Bee Gees covers much of the same ground as that double-disc set, albeit in not quite so linear a fashion. The Record marched through its 40 tracks chronologically, opening with the stately baroque Beatlesque pop of the '60s and then winding through the '70s, whereas this opens with the bright, fabulous blast of "You Should Be Dancing" and remains in their late-'70s heyday for a while before fast-forwarding to such latter-day adult contemporary hits as "One."…
"Spirits Having Flown" is the fifteenth album released by the Bee Gees. It was the group's first album after their collaboration on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The album's first three tracks were released as singles and all reached No. 1 in the US, giving the Bee Gees an unbroken run of six US chart-toppers and tying a record set by The Beatles. It was the first Bee Gees album to make the UK top 40 in ten years (not counting the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever), as well as being their first and only UK No. 1 album. It has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
Trombonist Matthew Gee was primarily a section player and a valuable sideman, but as this CD reissue shows, he could have been a significant soloist too. The two sessions (Gee's only two as a leader) feature him in an unusual quintet with altoist Ernie Henry (the trombone-alto blend has a unique sound) and at the head of a septet also including trumpeter Kenny Dorham, tenorman Frank Foster, and baritonist Cecil Payne. The music is quite bop-oriented and mixes together standards with three swinging Gee originals. An underrated and generally overlooked gem by a forgotten trombonist.