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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




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GIANTS OF JAZZ

NAXOS JAZZ LEGENDS 8.120756.57

 

CD1

  1. Three Blind Mice - Bix Beiderbecke
  2. That old feeling – Peggy Lee
  3. Black and White – Django Reinhardt
  4. On the Sunny Side of the Street – Earl Hines
  5. Alexander’s Ragtime Band – Benny Goodman
  6. You’ll First Have to Swing It – Ella Fitzgerald
  7. Steeplechase – Miles Davis
  8. It’s a Lonesome Old Town – Ben Bernie
  9. Lady Luck Blues – Bessie Smith
  10. My Time is Your Time Rudy Vallee
  11. Bluebirds in the Moonlight – Stephane Grapelli
  12. Sunrise Serenade Frankie Carle
  13. Stardust – Hoagy Carmichael
  14. Bird of Paradise – Charlie Parker
  15. Texas Tea party – Jack Teagarden
  16. Mean to Me – Sarah Vaughan
  17. High Society – Kid Ory
  18. Pennsylvania 6-5000 – Glenn Miller
  19. Sweet Georgia Brown – Harry James
  20. Mysterioso – Thelonius Monk
  21. My Twilight Dream – Eddie Duchin
  22. Can’t Help Loving Dat Man – Billie Holiday

CD2

  1. Cherokee – Dizzy Gillespie
  2. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton
  3. Drummin’ Man – Gene Krupa
  4. Stormy Weather – Duke Ellington
  5. Star dreams – Charlie Spivak
  6. Georgia on My Mind – Sidney Bechet
  7. Taint What You Do – King Cole Trio
  8. Half a Heart – Stan Kenton
  9. Begin the Beguine - Artie Shaw
  10. Dinah – Jo Venuti
  11. Summertime – Bob Crosby
  12. China Boy – Teddy Wilson
  13. Body & Soul – Billy Eckstine
  14. One O’Clock Jump – Count Basie
  15. Casbah Blues – Woody Herman
  16. Somebody Loves Me – Errol Garner
  17. Happy Feet – Fletcher Henderson
  18. Alligator Crawl – Fats Waller
  19. Drifting & Dreaming – Orrin Tucker
  20. When My Baby Smiles at Me – Ted Lewis
  21. Tea for Two – Art Tatum
  22. The Sheik of Araby – Tommy Dorsey
  23. I Got Rhythm – Louis Armstrong.

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 there.

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’.

Don Mather

 



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