Its evident from hearing the jazz big band works of composer, arranger, conductor and trombonist Henry Wolking’s debut album on Big Round Records, IN SEA, that he effectively mixes complexity with simplicity in his jazz harmonies and colorful orchestrations that make for an exciting and memorable listening experience. The inspired solo work of band members and guest artists add to the sincere and fresh cosmopolitan character of the recording.
Harmonies is the new long player from underground super-producer Lord Echo. The new album solidifies his already distinctive mutations of reggae and rock steady with disco, African soul, techno and spiritual jazz. In other words, the Lord has returned from the wilderness with a bounty for his followers. Eat of the bread of life and enjoy access to his crazy World of Sound.
From a label with no shortage of first-rate jazz material come this very attractive vocal sampler. Staying true to the Compact Jazz ethos, Best of the Jazz Vocalists favors quality over hits and comes with a budget price tag. The majority of songs are from the label's prime '50s and '60s run, including a cloud-bound "Summertime" by Helen Merrill and one of the all-time great versions of "If You Could See Me Now," compliments of Billy Eckstine. Continuing with this balancing act between the sexes, the collection also includes fine work by Bill Henderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Abbey Lincoln, Jon Hendricks, Shirley Horn, and Anita O'Day; latter-day entries include Lincoln's "I've Got Thunder and It Rings" from her 1990 Verve debut and Horn's "I Got Lost in His Arms" from 1988's Close Enough for Love. Nicely wrapped up with Nina Simone's Afro-percussion clarion call "Come Ye," this Verve roundup works as the perfect primer for more adventurous trips through the label's fertile stores of essential jazz.
Released in 1982, Middle Class White Boy was Mose Allison's first recording in six years, and his debut for the fledgling and relatively short-lived Elektra Musician label run by Bruce Lundvall. Allison is featured here in a sextet setting. His fellow front-line players are saxophonist Joe Farrell and guitarist Phil Upchurch. The set is a well-blended collection of originals and covers including Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone," and Duke Ellington's "Just a Lucky So and So." As is his trademark, Allison effortlessly blends jazz, backwoods blues, and Southern hipster jive in a heady brew of fantastic musicianship…
The 1987 edition of the Brubeck Quartet featured pianist Brubeck, his son Chris on electric bass and bass trombone, clarinetist Bill Smith and drummer Randy Jones. In addition to remakes of "Blue Rondo à la Turk," "Strange Meadowlark" and "Swing Bells," the leader contributed six new originals including "I See, Satie" and a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz called "Dizzy's Dream." Bill Smith, who uses electronics with taste on his clarinet during a few songs, has long been a major asset to the later Brubeck Quartets. This is one of their better Concord CDs.