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Progressions: One Hundred Years of Jazz Guitar

SONY LEGACY 5176512

 

Progressions: One Hundred Years of Jazz Guitar
Disc 1 [75:53]
St. Louis Tickle [3:07]
Vess Ossman (banjo) with the Ossman-Dudley Trio. New York, 1906.
Chain Gang Blues [2:50]
Sam Moore (octochorda). New York, 1921.
Savoy Blues [3:26]
Lonnie Johnson (acoustic guitar), Johnny St. Cyr (12 –string guitar), Louis Armstrong (cornet), Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Lil Armstrong (piano). Chicago, 1927.
The Only, Only One (For Me) [3:10]
Sol Hoopii (Hawaiian guitar) with Sol Hoopii’s Novelty Trio. Los Angeles, 1927.
Add a Little Wiggle [2:56]
Eddie Lang (acoustic guitar), Frank Signorelli (piano).
Clowin’ the Frets [2:37]
Eddie Bush (steel guitar) with the Los Angeles Biltmore Trio. Los Angeles, 1928.
California Blues [3:02]
Benny "King" Nawahi (steel guitar, ukelele, banjo) with the Georgia Jumpers. New York, 1931.
How'm I Doin’/Dinah [3:01]
Martha Raye (vocal) with Roy Smeck (acoustic guitar). New York, 1932.
Who's Sorry Now [3:06]
Billy Banks & His Rhythmakers: Billy Banks (vocal), Henry "Red" Allan (trumpet), Pee Wee Russell (clarinet, tenor sax), Joe Sullivan (piano), Eddie Condon (4-string acoustic guitar), Jack Bland (acoustic guitar), Al Morgan (bass), Zutty Singleton (drums). New York, 1932.
Danzon [3:08]
Carl Kress (acoustic guitar), Dick McDonough (acoustic guitar). New York, 1934.
China Boy [2:47]
Candy & Coco: Otto "Coco" Heimel (acoustic guitar), Gene Austin (piano), Candy Candido (bass), Monk Hazel (trumpet mouthpiece, drums). Los Angeles, 1934.
Minnehaha [3:02]
Andy Iona & His Islanders with Sam Koki (electric guitar). Los Angeles, 1934.
Swingin’ on the Strings [2:36]
The Ink Spots: Charlie Fuqua (vocal, acoustic guitar, ukelele), Jerry Daniels (vocal, acoustic guitar), Ivory Watson (vocal, acoustic guitar), Orville "Happy" Jones (vocal, bass). New York, 1935.
Honeysuckle Rose [2:54]
Django Reinhardt (acoustic guitar), Stephane Grappelli (violin), Roger Chaput, Eugene Vees (acoustic guitars), Louis Vola (bass). London, 1938.
Guitar Swing [2:57]
Casey Bill Weldon [acoustic guitar, vocal), accompanied by the Brown Bombers of Swing. Chicago, 1937.
Love Me or Leave Me [2:48]
Kansas City Five: Eddie Durham (electric guitar), Freddie Green (acoustic guitar), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums). New York, 1938.
Whispering [2:47]
Oscar Alemán (acoustic guitar). Copenhagen, 1938.
Pickin’ for Patsy [2:44]
Jack Teagarden & His Orchestra with Allan Reuss (acoustic guitar). New York, 1939.
Little Rock Getaway [2:31]
George Barnes (electric guitar), Earl Backus (acoustic guitar), Philip Ward (tenor sax), Taft Moore (bass). Chicago, 1940.
Solo Flight [2:48]
Charlie Christian (electric guitar) with Benny Goodman & His Orchestra. New York, 1941.
Buck Jumpin’ [2:36]
Al Casey (acoustic guitar), with Fats Waller & His Rhythm: Fats Waller (piano, vocal), Cedric Wallace (bass), Slick Jones (drums). New York, 1941.
Twin Guitar Special [2:40]
Leon McAuliffe (electric guitar), Eldon Shamblin (electric guitar) with Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Dallas, 1941.
I'm Walkin’ This Town [2:52]
Teddy Bunn (electric guitar) with The Spirits of Rhythm: Wilbur Daniels, Douglas Daniels (tiples, vocals), Wellman Braud (bass), Leo Watson (drums, vocal). Hollywood, 1941.
Palm Springs Jump [2:40]
Slim Gaillard (electric guitar, vocal), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Jimmy Rowles (piano), Slam Stewart (bass, vocal), Leo Watson (drums). Hollywood, 1942.
Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You [2:55]
Nat King Cole Trio (piano), Oscar Moore (electric guitar), Wesley prince (bass). Hollywood, 1944.
Red Cross [3:10]
Tiny Grimes (electric guitar), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Clyde Hart (piano), Jimmy Butts (bass), Hal West (drums). New York, 1944.
Disc 2 [78:13]
Ol' Man Rebop [2:44]
Bill de Arango (guitar), Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Don Byas (tenor sax), Milt Jackson (vibes), Al Haig (piano), Ray Brown (bass), J.C. Heard (drums). New York, 1946.
On Green Dolphin Street [4:03]
Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), Shelly Manne (drums). Los Angeles, 1957.
What Is This Thing Called Love [2:20]
George Van Eps (guitar), Alvin Stoller (bongos). Los Angeles, 1956.
Body and Soul [3:40]
Jimmy Raney (guitar), Sonny Clark (piano), Red Mitchell (bass), Bobby White (drums). Paris, 1954.
My Baby Just Cares for Me [2:21]
Tony Bennett (vocal), Chuck Wayne (guitar), Charles Panely (trumpet), Dave Schildkraut (alto sax), Carmen Dimauro (tenor sax), Harvey Leonard (piano), Clyde Lombardi (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums). New York, 1954.
Running Wild [1:55]
Les Paul (guitars), Mary Ford (vocal), other personnel unknown. Location unknown, 1956.
Mountain Melody [2:07]
Chet Atkins (guitar), Jack Shock (guitar), Marvin Hughes (piano), Ernie Newton (bass). Location unknown, 1951.
Yardbird Suite [5:17]
Tal Farlow (guitar), Eddie Costa (piano), Vinnie Burke (bass). New York, 1956.
The Boy Next Door [2:38]
Johnny Smith (guitar). New York, March 1957.
Tocata [4:47]
Laurindo Almeida (guitar), Bud Shank (alto sax), Harry Babasin (bass), Roy Harte (drums). Los Angeles, 1953.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin [3:24]
Bill Evans (piano), Jim Hall (guitar). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1966.
Águas de Março (Waters of March) [4:39]
João Giberto (acoustic guitar, vocal), Stan Getz (tenor sax), Al Dailey (piano), Steve Swallow (bass), Billy Hart (drums), Airto Moreira (caxixi, bells), Ray Armando frigideira, conchas), Rubens Bassini (ganza), Heloisa Buarque de Hollanda (Miucha) (vocal). New York, 1975.
Bluesette [2:51]
Toots Thielemans (guitar, whistling), Peter Jacques (organ), Jimmy Woode (bass), Conny Svensson (drums). Stockholm, 1962.
Midnight Blue [4:01]
Kenny Burrell (guitar), Major Holley (bass), Bill English (drums), Ray Barretto (congas). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1967.
Unit 7 [6:46]
Wes Montgomery (guitar), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Jimmy Cobb (drums). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1965.
Naptown Blues [5:19]
Herb Ellis (guitar), Oscar Peterson (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Bobby Durham (drums). Villingen, Germany, 1969.
Move [4:27]
Hank Garland (guitar), Gary Burton (vibes), Joe Benjamin (bass), Joe Morello (drums). Nashville, 1960.
Easy Living [4:09]
Howard Roberts (guitar), Pete Jolly (piano), Red Mitchell (bass), Stan Levey (drums). Los Angeles, 1959.
Jean de Fleur [6:50]
Grant Green (guitar), Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Duke Pearson (piano), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Al Harewood (drums). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1963.
Night and Day [3:44]
Joe Pass (guitar), John Pisano (guitar), Jim Hugart (bass), Colin Bailey (drums). Los Angeles, 1964.
Disc 3 [76:58]
Clockwise [4:24]
George Benson (guitar), Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax), Lonnie Smith (organ), Jimmy Lovelace (drums). New York, 1966.
Just Friends [5:49]
Pat Martino (guitar), Trudy Pitts (organ), Mitch Fine (drums). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1967.
A Taste of Honey [4:20]
Lenny Breau (guitar), Ron Halldorson (bass), Reg Kellin (drums). Shelley’s Mannehole, Los Angeles, 1969.
How Insensitive [2:42]
Charlie Byrd (acoustic guitar), other personnel unknown. New York, 1967.
Gypsy Queen [5:09]
Gabor Szabo (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Chico Hamilton (drums), Victor Pantoja (percussion), Willie Bobo (percussion). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1966.
June the 15, 1967 [4:51]
Larry Coryell (guitar), Gary Burton (vibes), Steve Swallow (bass), Roy Haynes (drums). Hollywood, 1967.
As We Used to Sing [6:22]
Sonny Sharrock (guitar), Pharoah Sanders (soprano sax), Charnett Moffett (bass), Elvin Jones (drums). New York, 1991.
Should Be Reversed [3:50]
Derek Bailey (acoustic guitar). England, 1967.
Manic Depression [3:41]
Jimi Hendrix (guitar), Noel Redding (bass), Mitch Mitchell (drums). London, 1967.
Birds of Fire [5:43]
John McLaughlin (guitar) with The Mahavishnu Orchestra: Jerry Goodman(violin), Jan Hammer (keyboards), Rick Laird (bass), Billy Cobham (drums). London / New York, 1972.
Coral [4:07]
Mick Goodrick (guitar), Gary Burton (vibes), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Harry Blazer (drums). Fayville, MA, 1973.
Ralph’s Piano Waltz [4:52]
John Abercrombie (guitar), Jan Hammer (organ), Jack deJohnette (drums). New York, 1974.
The Prowler [4:58]
Ralph Towner (classical guitar). Oslo, 2000.
Bright Size Life [4:43]
Pat Metheny (guitar), Jaco Pastorius (bass), Bob Moses (drums). Ludwigsburg, Germany, 1975.
Aqui, Oh! (Check This Out) [4:57]
Toninho Horta (electric and acoustic guitars, vocal) and ensemble. Brazil, 1981.
Midnight in San Juan [5:52]
Earl Klugh (acoustic guitar, keyboards), unknown tenor sax, Ronnie Foster, Barney Finch, Mark Nilan (keyboards), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Harvey Mason (drums, percussion), Paulinho da Costa (percussion). New York / Hollywood, March 1989 – April 1990.
Disc 4 [78:33]
Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) [5:04]
Carlos Santana (guitars), Tom Coster (keyboards), David Brown (bass), Ndugu Leon Chancler (drums, percussion), Armando Peraza (congas, bongos). San Francisco, 1976.
Inner City Blues [6:43]
Phil Upchurch (guitar), Arthur Adams (rhythm guitar), Joe Sample (piano), Chuck Rainey (bass), Harvey Mason (drums), Bobbye Hall (percussion). Hollywood, 1971.
Thumper [4:09]
Eric Gale (guitar), Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax), Bob James (keyboards), Richard Tee (keyboards), Willie Weeks (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Ralph McDonald (percussion) and horn section. New York, 1977.
Spiral [6:11]
Larry Carlton (guitar) with The Crusaders: Wayne Henderson (trombone), Wilton Felder (tenor sax), Joe Sample (keyboards), Robert "Pops" Popwell (bass), Stix Hooper (drums, percussion). Hollywood, 1975.
Captain Fingers [7:07]
Lee Ritenour (360 systems polyphonic guitar synthesizer) and ensemble. Hollywood, 1976.
Mr. Spock [6:14]
Allan Holdsworth (guitar) with Tony Williams Lifetime: Tony Williams (drums), Alan Pasqua (keyboards), Tony Newton (bass). New York, 1975.
Race with Devil on Spanish Highway [6:16]
Al DiMeola (guitar, timbales), Barry Miles (electric piano, piano, Mini-Moog), Anthony Jackson (bass), Lenny White (drums), Mingo Lewis (congas). New York, Dec.1976-Jan.1977
Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers

Jeff Beck (guitar), Max Middleton (keyboards), Phil Chenn (bass), Richard Bailey (drums, percussion). London, 1975.
Church

James Blood Ulmer (guitar), Charles Burnham (violin), Warren Benbow (drums). New York, 1983.
Ron Carter

Bill Frisell (guitar, loops), Ron Miles (trumpet), Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Billy Drewes (alto sax), Greg Leisz (lap steel guitar), David Piltch (bass), Kenny Wolleson (drums). Burbank, 2001.
Hottentot
John Scofield (guitar), John Medeski (keyboards), Chris Wood (bass), Billy Martin (drums). New York, 1998.
Postizo

Marc Ribot (guitar), John Medeski (organ), Brad Jones (bass), EJ Rodriguez (drums and percusion), Madeline Hunt-Erhlich, Mattan Ingram, Miles Ingram, EJ Rodriguez (vocals). Hoboken, 1998.
Fat Time

Mike Stern (guitar), Miles Davis (trumpet), Marcus Miller (bass0, Al Foster (drums), Sammy Figueroa (percussion). New York, 1981.

In a certain kind of record store, one sees collections with titles like The Only Classical Album You’ll Ever Need or The Greatest Jazz Collection Ever. Anybody approaching Progressions: 100 Years of Jazz Guitar in the expectation that this is the kind of all-inclusive, definitive collection which such titles optimistically claim to be, will surely be disappointed. On the other hand, those willing to accept it as a sampler of the contribution the guitar has made to jazz – and related musics – will surely find much to enjoy here, some of it likely to be familiar, some rather less so. Definition is one problem – is banjo music of 1906 really jazz? How much jazz is there in the work of Carlos Santana? Or in that of Jimi Hendrix – though the blues are certainly there. But let’s not get too bogged down in terminology and turn to the music itself.

The first two tracks are perhaps best thought of as representing the prehistory of jazz, or perhaps parallel early developments. Ossman is a considerable technician and was a much recorded banjo player, to whom quite a few early jazz musicians had certainly listened. Sam Moore was a vaudeville musician whose recording of his own ‘Chain Gang Blues’ is played on the octa-chorda, an eight-stringed instrument with the invention of which Moore is sometimes credited. His performance fuses Hawaiian traditions, ragtime and a dash of country blues. The result is oddly attractive. With ‘Savoy Blues’ we enter jazz’s undisputed territory. Perhaps this will already be in most jazz collections; but it is instructive to listen to it in this different context. It makes one listen with renewed attention to the work of Johnny St. Cyr and Lonnie Johnson – from which the playing of Louis Armstrong provides all too powerful a distraction. Eddie Lang, who might be regarded as the first guitarist to develop a distinctive jazz solo style, with its single string work, its use of broken chords and solid bass, is represented by a duet with the pianist Frank Signorelli rather than by his more famous partnership with the violinist Joe Venuti, or by one of his recordings with Lonnie Johnson. (This is quite a common pattern in this anthology – whether for contractual reasons or otherwise; though most of the big names are here the tracks on which they appear are sometimes not fully representative or characteristic). Two guitarists much influenced by Lang, Carl Kress and Dick McDonogh, are heard playing their subtle 1934 duet ‘Danzon’. Other highlights of Disc 1 include Django Reinhardt with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France and Charlie Christian with the Benny Goodman Band. Reinhardt’s ravishing solo on ‘Honeyuckle Rose’ is said to have been one which Charlie Christian knew by heart. Christian himself is here in the form of a famous recording of ‘Solo Flight’, virtually a miniature concerto for electric guitar and big band. Some of Christian’s more boppish work would have been nice, but the compilers seem to have exercised a rule of only one track per guitarist. There is some trivia on Disc 1, such as the tracks by Eddie Bush, Roy Smeck and Benny Nahawi, material one might have readily given up for examples of the work of, say, Elmer Snowden, Danny Barker or Everett Barksdale.

Disc 2 begins with the beboppers. Opening with two fine tracks featuring Bill De Arango and Barney Kessell. A lovely version of ‘Body and Soul’ by Jimmy Raney, with the excellent Sonny Clark on piano; Tal Farlow’s version of ‘Yardbird Suite’, with superb piano work by Eddie Costa; one of the exquisite duets between Jim Hall and Bill Evans – there is plenty of excellent jazz here, and it isn’t only the guitarists who attract one’s attention and approval. Sophisticated harmonic playing from Howard Roberts, bluesy work from Kenny Burrell: there’s a great deal here that is central to the jazz tradition. The great Wes Montgomery is represented by part of a session with the Wynton Kelly trio, a context which often elicited (as here) some of his best work. Grant Green and Joe Pass round off the disc – my own preference would have been for hearing Joe Pass unaccompanied, but his playing here is certainly impressive. There is a great deal to enjoy and admire on this second disc. I do, though, miss the work of Billy Bauer, one of the most original guitarists of the 1940s and ’50s, frequent collaborator with Lennie Tristano.

With Discs 3 and 4, we are presented with a sampler of, mainly, the sheer diversity of guitar playing in what might be loosely defined as jazz during the 1960’s and later. Certainly Charlie Byrd playing ‘How Insensitive’ and Derek Bailey ‘Should be Reversed’ have near enough nothing in common. Nor do Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Manic Depression’ and Gabor Szabo tackling ‘Gypsy Queen’. Eclecticism and diversity, the renewed opening up of jazz to other influences – or its dilution into fusion and rock, depending on your point of view – were the name of the game and that game is generously represented in the last two discs of this set. Sometimes the eclecticism is grounded in a firm jazz sensibility – as in the intriguing live recording by Lenny Breau, a guitarist not heard as often as he ought to be. Elsewhere jazz seems a pretty minor contributor to the stylistic from which the music has been made. Hendrix’s ‘Manic Depression’, for example, has no obvious debts to the jazz mainstream; the same might, I suppose, be said of Bailey’s ‘Should be Reversed’, utterly different as the two tracks are. All that they might be said to have in common is a determination to extend the boundaries of the guitar’s sound world and that, in doing so, there were opened up new resources which more obviously ‘jazz’ guitarists like John McLaughlin and Pat Metheny would later put to use. In fact, the generic terms become almost useless in discussing the guitar music of this later period. The distinctive idioms of, say Ralph Towner, Mick Goodrick and John Abercrombie, especially in the recordings made for ECM, belonged in a territory which might only have been mapped using co-ordinates taken from jazz, flamenco, rock, blues and country and western. James ‘Blood’ Ullmer’s ‘Church’ owes debts to Ornette Coleman, to blues and to rock. As Discs 3 and 4 get nearer the present, commercial fusion music becomes more prominent. I can hear nothing jazz-like in Toninho Horta’s percussion heavy Brazilian music and Earl Klugh’s ‘Midnight in San Juan’, though it contains the occasional jazz lick, is so smooth and bland as to become tedious before its six minutes are over. Whitney Balliett famously described jazz as "the sound of surprise". There are far too few surprises on Disc 4. Carlos Santana does precisely what one expects from him; he does it well, of course, but it is almost painfully predictable. Phil Upchurch reduces the blues to background music. Eric Gale’s ‘Thumper’ is machine-made music, in which Gale, who can really play his instrument, has little real scope to express himself. Lee Ritenour and Al Di Meola show off their techniques; the track featuring Larry Carlton is a good example of the formulaic music of the The Crusaders.

For those whose interest is in what one might call the central traditions of jazz, this anthology rather peters out into offshoot and parallel musics; those musics are not, of course, entirely without their interest, but they are surely governed by different aesthetics than jazz. But for at least two and a half discs contains a wealth of fine and interesting jazz. And the whole is certainly though-provoking and (for the most part) engaging.

This is a lavishly produced collection in a DVD size box. It comes with a book of almost 150 pages which contains full recording details, an extensive commentary on the music, quotes by guitarists on other guitarists, lots of photographs, and a fascinating selection of solo transcripts and analyses.

Though I have reservations about much of the music in the later stages of this – insofar as it claims to be representing one hundred years of Jazz guitar, I have no hesitation in recommending it warmly. Its four discs are very generously filled (see the playing times) and anybody with any interest in jazz will find much to enjoy and admire. And most will, like me, learn things from the accompanying book.

Glyn Pursglove



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