The selection of tracks for this compilation
album from the NAXOS Jazz Legends series has some interesting
and some very curious selections, tracks 8, 10, 11, 12, &
21 of CD1 are not jazz at all and neither are Ben Bernie, Rudy
Vallee, Frankie Carle or Eddie Duchin , ‘Jazz Giants’, Stephane
Grapelli is but not on the track selected! That is however the
bad news, the good news is that the remaining tracks are good
examples of the work of people who were ‘Giants of Jazz’. Is that
Parker at the start of the Sarah Vaughan track? It certainly sounds
like him and I am sure it is him on the Miles Davis track. I didn’t
exclude the Miller track as not being jazz because there are good
trumpet and tenor solos. The Harry James track is a good example
of how he was a much better jazz trumpet player than most people
gave him credit for. CD1 is completed by a good example of the
work of vocalist Billie Holiday, no doubt as to the jazz pedigree
No doubt about the jazz content on the start
of CD2, but a far from typical example of the playing of Dizzy
Gillespie, he does not start his solo until the recording is half
way through, when he does however, there is no doubt it is Diz!
Flying Home is the Hampton classic and similarly with Drummin’
Man from Gene Krupa. There is not a lot of jazz content in the
Charlie Spivak offering, but the next track finds Sidney Bechet
in his usual effervescent form.
I thought we might get right through the second
CD without another faux pas, but the Orrin Tucker track (19) is
guaranteed to send jazz fans up the wall. The Ted Lewis track
is not much better from a jazz content point of view.
With the excellent selection of music available
from the NAXOS Legends series to whoever had the job of putting
this compilation album together, the person responsible is like
the content of many of my school reports ‘should have done better’.