This exciting CD has 20 diverse performances that were originally produced by Leonard Feather for the Victor label during 1946-47. The first eight selections feature various versions of Esquire's All-American Award Winners and have some unique combinations of musicians. "Long Long Journey" was the first record to match together Duke Ellington (who verbally introduces the song) and Louis Armstrong, and on "Snafu" Armstrong takes a surprisingly modern solo that hints at bebop. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers creates a remarkable improvisation on "The One That Got Away," ltoist Johnny Hodges plays beautifully on "Gone with the Wind" and other key players include tenor saxophonist Don Byas, trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist J.J. Johnson and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. In addition, there are selections featuring trombonist Jack Teagarden, the 52nd Street All-Stars (with Shavers, Hawkins and tenorman Allan Eager), the tenor of Lucky Thompson, trumpeter Neal Hefti, altoist Benny Carter, singer Mildred Bailey and solo piano records by Art Tatum and Erroll Garner. The mid-to-late '40s were a particularly rich period for jazz and this highly recommended CD is filled with gems.
Soulful singer and guitarist Tab Benoit has never made secret his devout allegiance to the Louisiana music tradition. With The Sea Saint Sessions, Benoit, ably assisted by several Crescent City stalwarts, takes his music back to the source, setting up shop at the famed hit factory to cook up a sonic gumbo that successfully recaptures the spontaneity of the classic Sea Saint sound. Benoit's guests conjure up some of the studio's old musical magic as "Big Chief" Monk Boudreaux infuses Mardi Gras Indian spirit into "Monk's Blues," Meter man George Porter Jr. funkifies "Making the Bend," and Cyrille Neville sings on his own "Plareen Man". But it is Benoit's distinctive guitar lines–somehow both supple and hard-edged–and the impeccable elasticity of his regular rhythm section that makes the music work. Most of the material is Benoit's own, although he pays tribute to Louisiana legend Guitar Slim with a take on the classic "Sufferin' Mind" and dips into the Howlin' Wolf songbook for a rendition of "Howlin' for My Darling".
Rhino are to issue Dock of the Bay Sessions, a new Otis Redding collection, in May this year. The release is part of an ongoing 50th anniversary celebration of the (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay which topped the charts in America on 16 March 1968.