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Reviewers: Don Mather, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke



THE VERVE ALBUM
VERVE 560395-2 2CD
 Amazon UK 

Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. Lester leaps in - Jazz At The Philharmonic
2. Body and soul - Tatum, Art
3. Royal garden blues - Ellington, Duke & Johnny Hodges
4. Gone with the wind - Fitzgerald, Ella
5. Sent for you yesterday - Young, Lester & Count Basie
6. Don't worry about me - Holiday, Billie
7. Brotherhood of man - Terry, Clark & Oscar Peterson
8. All God's children got rhythm - Powell, Bud
9. Just friends - Parker, Charlie
10. I'm late - Getz, Stan
11. What a difference a day makes - Washington, Dinah
12. Big city blues - Mulligan, Gerry
13. Such sweet thunder - Ellington, Duke
14. Odd blues - Dennerlein, Barbara
15. My Favorite Things - Carter, Betty
16. Emergency - Williams, Tony (3)

Disc: 2

1. Lotus Land - Burrell, Kenny
2. Time of the barracudas - Evans, Gil
3. Walk on the wild side - Smith, Jimmy
4. Killer Joe, - Jones, Quincy
5. Alright okay you win - Basie, Count
6. I loves you Porgy - Evans, Bill
7. Side car - Henderson, Joe
8. New york minute - Hancock, Herbie
9. Viento del sur - Acuna, Claudia
10. Summer running - Johnson, Marc
11. Papa was a rollin' stone - Carter, Regina
12. Our roots began in Africa - Sanders, Pharaoh
13. Excuse me Colonel could I borrow your newspaper - Orquestra Was
14. On the milky way express - Shorter, Wayne

The story of the Verve label is indelibly linked with the name of Norman Granz, the creator of 'Jazz at the Philharmonic', a touring show, that brought the great jazz names of the time to a world-wide audience. Granz took many unknown musicians to International stardom and introduced many listeners to the fascinating world of jazz; there is much to thank him for.

The music on these two CD's tells the jazz story from 1944 to 2000, the music diversified greatly over this period. The good, the bad and the ugly might be an appropriate description. Fortunately for the listener nearly all the music here is in the first category! There is so much of interest however, that I have tried to restrict myself to the highlights.

Disc1

Nat Cole's piano playing with JATP on 'Lester leaps in', reminds us of just what a monster player he was before he became an International Vocal Star.

On track 3 the Duke sounds more like Count Basie than Count Basie, this track also has the talent of Johnny Hodges to the fore, a treat never to be missed.

Lester Young guesting with the 1957 Basie Band is a surprise, Mr Five by Five, Jimmy Rushing is in good voice here on 'Sent for you Yesterday'.

'Brotherhood of Man' pairs Clark Terry with Oscar Peterson, two of the most formidable jazzmen ever and both on top form.

Bud Powell demonstrates Peterson like technique on All God's Chillun Got Rhythm and superb improvisational ability as well.

Gerry Mulligan's Band playing a Bob Brookmeyer score has always got a good chance of success and 'Big City Blues' does not disappoint. I have not heard Mulligan on Clarinet before, but the style is still instantly recognisable.

Barbara Dennerlain was a new name for me, but the influence of Jimmy Smith is very strong here!

Betty Carter 'takes no prisoners' in her improvisations and 'My Favourite Things' is a typical performance from her.

Disc2

On 'Time of the Barracudas', Wayne Shorter plays some fine Tenor Sax jazz, but I don't rate this arrangement as one of Gil Evans best.

Jimmy Smith is in great form with the Oliver Nelson orchestra, he changed the way everyone plays the organ in jazz.

Killer Joe, Quincy Jones Orchestra, a jazz classic!

Alright OK, You Win, Joe Williams and the Basie band another! The sleeve notes say Charlie Fowkes played Bassoon. I don't think so!

Porgy and Bess is a solo feature for Bill Evans and he produces just the kind of studied and considered performance you would have expected from him.

SideCar, a Miles Davies composition features Joe Henderson on tenor, always inventive and original Joe is one of the finest around.

New York Minute features Herbie Hancock with Tenorman Michael Brecker, so we expect and get a quality performance.

A line up of two guitars, bass and drums does not seem an obvious choice but it works well for Marc Johnson on 'Summer Running', the two guitars are Bill Frissell and Pat Metheny however!

The last track 'On the Milky Way Express', features Wayne Shorter on Soprano. Alto,

Tenor and Baritone, with a large orchestra. I sometimes find that I need a number of listenings to understand Wayne's work, but it is usually worth the effort.

 

This is an excellent double album, well thought out and ideal for anyone who wishes to dip into the 'jazz treasure chest' to find a few more pearls.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and Bandleader based in Coventry




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