BLOWIN’ UP A STORM
A superb selection of 40 tunes by the First and Second Herds which are generally considered the greatest of all the Herman big bands. These seminal performances include the 4 parts of “Summer Sequence”, the entire “Ebony Concerto” and previously unissued takes of “Apple Honey”, “Caldonia”, “Bijou”, “Wild Root”, “Backtalk” and “Keen And Peachy”.
Trumpeter Bill Chase, trombonist Phil Wilson, tenor saxophonist Sal Nistico, pianist/arranger Nat Pierce and drummer Jake Hanna were the key figures in the hardest-swinging edition of Woody Herman’s big band.
WITH BILLY STRAYHORN & ORCHESTRA
What could be better than Billy Strayhorn creating gorgeous settings for the rich, lyrical alto saxophone of Johnny Hodges. This December 1961 session is mostly Ellington in personnel and repertoire. And an inspired Hodges soars on “Star Dust”, “Azure”, “Your Love Had Faded”, “Jeep’s Blues” and 7 more.
THAD JONES/MEL LEWIS
Nobody could write modern jazz for a big band like Thad Jones. And nobody could drive a band with consummate taste like Mel Lewis. “Consummation”, recorded in 1970, is one of their most rewarding and ambitious albums. Soloists Jones, Danny Moore, Billy Harper, Eddie Daniels and Roland Hanna are in superb form, but it is Thad’s amazing compositions and arrangements that are the ultimate star of the show. This is the album that introduced his touching masterpiece “A Child Is Born”.
CENTRAL PARK NORTH
This 1969 album finds the band roaring through six delightful charts that range the funky “Tow Away Zone” to gorgeous tonal colors of “Quietude” to the Basie-ish “The Groove Merchant”. Jimmy Nottingham, Joe Farrell, Jerome Richardson and Roland Hanna are among the soloists.
CITY OF GLASS
All 16 revolutionary, controversial Bob Graettinger works by Stan Kenton, performed by his big band between 1947 and ’53.
NEW CONCEPTS IN ARTIST
The Complete September ’52 Chicago sessions with charts by Bill Russo (five, including “Prologue”), Gerry Mulligan and Bill Holman.
KENTON IN HI FI
The Stan Kenton Orchestra was always a forward-thinking organization ever since its start in 1941. They had a couple of pop hits during the Swing Era but mostly it was Kenton’s instrumentals (arrangements from both Kenton and Pete Rugolo) that found favor with jazz fans and musicians alike during the mid and late 1940s. This 1956 Capitol re-recreation of Kenton’s biggest sellers during the ‘40s has been critically acclaimed and in many cases rival and often surpasses the original 78s. Mel Lewis is absolutely superb on drums and is a main source of having Maynard Ferguson, Vinnie Dean, Carl Fontana and other soloists make this one of the great big band jazz albums of all time.
Featured Track: Intermission Riff
“Intermission Riff” (based on a Gerald Wilson arrangement for Jimmie Lunceford’s band called “Yard Dog Mazurka”) is a prime example of the Kenton band taking one of their best known recordings and slowing it down for the Hi-Fi album for a completely fresh new look. Vido Musso’s tenor is a highlight but the deliciously melodic solo by trombonist Carl Fontana brings down the house. Add to it some high notes in the trumpet section by Maynard Ferguson and Mel Lewis’s drums just before the final chorus and you’ve got a perfect take.
ADVENTURES IN JAZZ
The most popular and adventurous of the albums by Kenton’s big band in the sixties, “Adventures in Jazz” featured Bill Holman’s radical reworking of “Malaguena” which became Kenton’s signature piece for the next two decades and introduced a major composer/arranger in Dee Barton with “Waltz Of The Prophets” and “Turtle Talk.” Tenor saxophonist Sam Donohue is the principal soloist.
The best of Krupa’s 1940-41 big band with Shorty Sherock and Sam Donahue among the soloist and arrangers Jimmy Mundy and Elton Hill. The 16 tracks include the title tune, “Full Dress Hop,” and a great version of “Tuxedo Junction.”
Krupa’s superb 1956 all-star remakes of his greatest big band sides including “Let Me Off Uptown,” “Opus One” and “Wire Brush Stomp.” Anita O’Day, Roy Eldridge, Eddie Shu and Dave McKenna are featured.
STOMP IT OFF
One of the most exciting and harmonically innovative big bands of the ’30’s, the Lunceford orchestra swung with precision. Sidemen Sy Oliver, Willie Smith and Ed Wilcox were among its arrangers.
The exciting Lunceford organization at the peak of its powers with 22 singles from the Columbia, Okeh and Vocalion years (1939-40). With strong soloists like Joe Thomas, Trummy Young and Willie Smith and the kicking arrangements, this was one of the most advanced yet swinging bands of the era. Includes classic performances of “White Heat”, “Swingin’ On C”, “Tain’t What Cha Do” and “Lunceford Special”.
MINGUS,MINGUS,MINGUS, MINGUS, MINGUS
Great Mingus compositions reworked for this exciting, beautifully voiced 1963 big band with Booker Ervin, Eric Dolphy and Charlie Mariano among the soloists. One of Mingus’s best.
BLACK SAINT & SINNER
The volcanic, multi-sectioned work features great solos by Charlie Mariano, Jerome Richardson, Rolf Ericson and Jaki Byard as this small big band moves through a variety of textures, harmonies and rhythms, all powerfully propelled by Dannie Richmond’s drums and Mingus’ bass. One of his masterworks.
BEGIN THE BEGUINE
Twenty key performances from the Shaw orchestra (1938-41), including “Back Bay Shuffle,” “Frenesi” and “Star Dust.”
VERY BEST OF
It’s hard to argue with the title of this collection of Victor and Bluebird gems. Some of the hits might be missing but the selection, made by Shaw himself, is superb. “To A Broadway Rose”, “Chantez-les-Bas”, “Nocturne”, the 2-parted “Concerto For Clarinet” and “Summertime” (featuring Roy Eldridge) and 13 others, including three live from the Cafe Rouge.
COME FLY WITH ME
The definitive collaboration of Sinatra and Billy May with “April In Paris”, “Autumn In New Youk” and 10 more.
SINATRA AT THE SANDS
After 2 great studio albums together, Sinatra and Basie took to the stage with their big bands and Quincy Jones’s arrangements of many Sinatra classics. The results are absolutely electrifying.
FRANCIS A. & EDWARD K.
The first collaboration between these 2 giants of American music.
More than 30 years after its two classic Strata-East albums, the Charles Tolliver Big Band has regrouped and become a fixture on the New York club scene. Fueled by Tolliver’s intricate, original writing and driven by the rhythm team of Cecil McBee and Victor Lewis, the band’s first new recording is the debut of the Mosaic/Blue Note label. Soloists on these 7 extraordinary charts include Billy Harper, Craig Handy, Howard Johnson, Stanley Cowell and Robert Glasper.
This second album by Charles Tolliver’s resurrected big band is thrilling. Recorded live at New York’s Blue Note Club in July 2008, the band tears through 6 amazing Tolliver charts. Soloists include Billy Harper, Marcus Strickland and Stanley Cowell.
WITH THAD JONES/MEL LEWIS ORCHESTRA
A wonderful, swingin’ 1966 collaboration between one of the best bluesy band singers and the leading modern jazz orchestra at the time.
Gerald Wilson is one of the most important big band leaders of the modern jazz era as reflected in his compositions, arrangements and choice of musicians. During the 1960s he led a superb big band in the Los Angeles area that recorded 10 albums for the Pacific Jazz label. For this special CD Gerald selected and sequenced his favorite tracks and talks about the music in the liner notes. The repertoire ranges from Gerald’s brilliant arrangements of jazz classics to his highly personal and very colorful originals. A perfect introduction to Gerald Wilson and his music. Musicians include Harold Land, Teddy Edwards, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Carmell Jones, Joe Pass, Roy Ayers, Jack Wilson, Leroy Vinnegar, Mel Lewis and others.