Joe Williams' debut as the featured vocalist in Count Basie's band was one of those landmark moments that even savvy observers don't fully appreciate when it occurs, then realize years later how momentous an event they witnessed. Williams brought a different presence to the great Basie orchestra than the one Jimmy Rushing provided; he couldn't shout like Rushing, but he was more effective on romantic and sentimental material, while he was almost as spectacular on surging blues, up-tempo wailers, and stomping standards. Basie's band maintained an incredible groove behind Williams, who moved from authoritative statements on "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love" to brisk workouts on "Roll 'Em Pete" and his definitive hit, "All Right, OK, You Win".
The first DVD of Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual TV series combines three separate 30-minute programs previously available individually as videos; obviously this is the better way to acquire them, both financially and from a preservation standpoint. Count Basie's appearance is a bit unusual. Gleason parks himself next to the piano following the opening number and remains there throughout the show, making Basie seem nervous and rather uncomfortable with his host during the interview excerpts and rarely, if ever, looking Gleason in the eye while talking to him.
Dizrhythmia is the collective name adopted in the 1980s by Jakko Jakszyk (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Gavin Harrison (drums and percussion), Danny Thompson, (double bass) and Pandit Dinesh (percussion, vocals). The quartet released their first album in 1988. An eclectic mixture effortlessly blending jazz, rock, pop and elements drawn from Indian music, Dizrhythmia Too highlights the first-class playing expected from musicians of this calibre and showcases the unique chemistry that happens when they work together. Ex-Bruford keyboard legend, Dave Stewart also plays piano throughout the album.
This double CD collects all of the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band sides from 1946-1949 for the Bluebird and Musicraft labels, including seven previously unissued cuts. These bands were renowned for their hard-swinging styles that accented the toughness of bebop wailing R&B and Latin/Cuban grooves. Some of Diz's sidemen included Milt Jackson, Cecil Payne, Ray Brown, Willie Bobo, Yusef Lateef, Johnny Hartman, Leo Parker, John Lewis, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, James Moody, Ernie Henry, Al McKibbon, and dozens of others. Here are formidable versions of "Two Bass Hit," "Cubana Bop," "Jump Did-Le-Ba," "Oop-Pop-A-Da," and many others. In addition to the studio sides there is an entire Paris concert included from a radio transcription, making these sides indispensable. The only downside is the lack of liner notes – though full session notation is included.
Reece's style was so striking that it even impressed Miles Davis, who started to recommend him to anyone who would listen. Sonny Rollins was also a fan, and with these two titans propping Reece it was only a matter of time before Blue Note came calling. A month after his label debut, Blues in Trinity, came out in 1959 (it was recorded the previous year), Melody Maker announced triumphantly, "Trumpeter Dizzy Reece is the first British jazz star to be signed exclusively by an American record company."
For a short time in the late '50s trumpeter Dizzy Reece was an up-and-coming jazz artist. However, success eluded him and he quietly faded into obscurity, only occasionally releasing material after the early '60s. As a matter of fact, the sessions that became Comin' On! languished in the Blue Note vaults for almost four decades. Rediscovered in 1999, these dates feature six well-rounded hard bop compositions by Reece along with three standards. The tracks from April 3, 1960, not only document the Blue Note debut of tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine but also employ the talents of the Jazz Messengers' rhythm section of the time, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Jymie Merritt, and drummer Art Blakey. By July 17, 1960, the only musician remaining from the previous date was Turrentine, sharing tenor duties with Musa Kaleem, who is also heard on flute. (The later session's rhythm section had changed to pianist Duke Jordan, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Al Harewood.) Neglected, although spirited, sessions from an underrated trumpeter and composer.
Producer Norman Granz occasionally got carried away with the quantity of his recording projects. In 1974 he recorded a full album teaming fellow pianists Count Basie and Oscar Peterson in a rhythm quintet; little did anyone realize that this then-unique matchup would eventually result in five albums. This first one, which finds Basie doubling on organ, is among the best. Peterson's virtuosic style somehow worked very well with Basie's sparse playing and these ten numbers really swing.
After Count Basie's death, his orchestra went through an expected period of turmoil, almost declaring bankruptcy and having a new short-term leader (the late trumpeter Thad Jones). By 1986 its fortunes had improved and under the leadership of tenor-saxophonist Frank Foster it has become the only "ghost" orchestra to still play viable music after the death of its leader. Long Live the Chief was recorded only weeks after Foster assumed command, but already his arrangements and leadership were giving fresh life to this great jazz institution. In addition to remakes of "April in Paris, " "Lil' Darlin', " "Corner Pocket" and "Shiny Stockings, " there was already some new material in the band's books…
This CD reissue dates from Thad Jones' single year of leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra before his health began to fail. Caterina Valente (best known as a pop singer) has a warm voice and sounds comfortable singing in a jazz-influenced middle-of-the-road style. There is little improvisation on the date and Thad Jones' arrangements leave surprisingly little space for solos; his only appearance on cornet is on "Solitude."