This fabulous five disc set is replete with some of those old Stokowski warhorses all recorded in absolutely mind boggling Phase 4 sound, overblown perhaps but astounding for its time. Decca's remastering is absolutely magnificent and the discs are jam packed with almost six hours of music. This is another fine memorial to a great conductor who remained astonishingly vital until the very end of his life.
Ernest Ansermet enthusiasts will be thrilled by the items chosen for inclusion in this six-disc set dedicated to the Swiss conductor with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the orchestra he founded and led. Many of them are first international CD releases – Haydn's Symphony No. 22, Beethoven's Symphony No. 4, and Sibelius' Symphony No. 4, along with nine others – while some of them are well-known and well-loved recordings from the conductor's huge catalog – Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin, and Honegger's Le roi David, along with 14 others.
The Kansas City swing blues of the Sweet Baby Blues Band is very difficult not to enjoy. Jeannie Cheatham's exuberant vocals (propelled by her forcefully swinging piano) inspire the many soloists on the blues-oriented material, and there is plenty of variety in tempo and feeling to keep this set continually interesting. Among the main soloists are ageless trumpeter Snooky Young, tenorman Rickey Woodard (making his debut on clarinet on two cuts), and guest altoist Hank Crawford, who sits in on four songs.
For many a jazz fan John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is their personal desert island pick, the one recording they would not hesitate to live their days out listening to. Recorded on December 9, 1964, the session has endured as a document of the saxophonist's faith, as it was the proclamation of his rebirth from the jazz life of alcohol and substance abuse.