The two albums on this CD were the first John Handy recorded as a leader. This young alto saxophonist he also plays tenor on the first album -from Texas had gained exposure and experience working with Charles Mingus and Randy Weston in 1959. They taught me self-confidence, he said, and these recordings are full of it. His flawlessly controlled playing is strong and inventively contemporary without succumbing to the tyranny of Bird. For his well-received leader debut, In the Vernacular, he shared the front line with the brilliant trumpeter Richard Williams supported by a near-perfect rhythm section with pianist Roland Hanna…
Contemporary jazz ensemble Yellowjackets' 2011 Mack Avenue debut, Timeline features the band's longstanding knack for straddling the line between smooth jazz and more cerebral post-bop stuff. Marking the group's 30 years in the business, the album is a perfect mix of low-key, soulful moments and more funky, angular jazz.
Brilliant work from Coltrane – recorded in the 60s, but not issued until the late 70s, and only then, not properly in print until the release of this great package! The material is classic Coltrane Quartet sessions – with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones working with Trane to craft some long tracks that show the expanding genius of the group at the time. The spirit of the work is in the "new thing" mode of the 60s – more adventurous than even Coltrane's work from a few years before – and titles include "Living Space", "Dusk-Dawn", "The Last Blues", and "Untitled 90314".
The St. John Passion was long regarded as an early work by Handel, written in Hamburg in 1704. It had to be early, as there are few really Handelian fingerprints in the music. In the late 1960s though, musicologists started allocating it to Georg Böhm (1661-1733), a Thuringian-born composer who worked in Hamburg and Luneburg. He is remembered chiefly for his fine organ music and his influence on Bach. But the record booklet makes an interesting case for Handel's authorship, particularly as Handel's friend Mattheson was an advocate of the work.