This collection brings together the early OKeh and Epic recordings of innovative jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, recorded between 1951 and 1955. Jamal ushered in a new era of melodic improvisation that stood in sharp contrast to bebop's previous innovations. These recordings were all done in trio settings, where the pianist was accompanied by guitarist Ray Crawford, and either Eddie Calhoun (1951 and 1952) or Israel Crosby on bass. The shimmering solos and light as a feather chord voicings are anything but lightweight. Sharp, harmonic invention, economical yet intuitive phrasing, and a deft sense of time pushed Jamal's star to ascendancy.
When Sony/Columbia began its ambitious Legacy reissue project, those who followed their jazz titles knew it was only a question of time before the massive Billie Holiday catalog under their ownership would see the light in its entirety. The question was how? Years before there was a host of box sets devoted to her material, but the sound on those left something to be desired. Would they remaster the material in two- or three-disc sets with additional notes? Would it be one disc at a time? Would the material be issued as budget or midline material or at full price? The last item could be ruled out based on the label's aggressive and very thorough packages of single discs by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and others.
Moriz Rosenthal was from the earliest generation of pianists to have made a significant number of recordings, and he was also one of the more important Liszt pupils, therefore his legacy is of the utmost importance as representative of 19th century style.
The title of this boxed set is quite misleading, because Hawkins was a member of Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra for ten years from 1924, and recorded extensively with that outfit. At a conservative estimate, there are some 80 recordings which should have qualified for inclusion, yet not one appears (although his recordings with Fletcher's brother Horace do). Ignoring for a moment the disparity between the title of this boxed set and its contents, let me now praise what is included. ~ Amazon