Atlas Jazz Explosion is a compilation of songs digitally remastered and released by Empire Musicwerks. The CD features tunes by Jackie Korso, Charlie Singleton, Harold Austin and Freddy Washington and his band with June Davis on vocals. The cuts are arranged in groups by artist and is a solid trip through 1950's jazz and R&B. The album is saturated, as you might imagine, with lively, swinging saxophone, with drops of sultry, sweet ballads placed in strategic locations.
Kelso's style is a swinging, bluesy R&B style of tenor saxophone that gives each piece a gritty, passionate feel. Your first thought may be the early days of rock and roll, where saxophone played a hefty part in the early R&B hits of the 50's and early 60's.
That feeling continues with the next set of tunes featuring Harold Austin. "Jesse's Ideas (Part 1)" and "Jesse's Ideas (Part 2)" are a thoughtful romp through a very bluesy jazz set that features seemingly odd vocal utterances.
Freddy Washington is featured in the next set, with two of the three cuts, "I am One of God's Children (Without Wings)" and "8-9-10" featuring June Davis on vocals. The only real glitch I caught in this set was the slightly off-pitch vocalizations of Davis in the first cut. This may have been a vocal effect to add to the relative sadness of the piece, but they were poorly placed and took away from the performance rather than enhancing it.
Charlie Singleton wraps up the album with his nine song set. The swinging shuffle, "Oozing Along," is the highlight of this set. This is straight up jazz with no frills or odd interpretations of a general swinging theme. The disc wraps up with "Jiving with Doctor Jive," a happenin' cut that takes it out with flair. Singleton's saxophone leaves you ready for more!
Atlas Jazz Explosion is a great study of 1950's saxophone-driven, swinging, doo-wop-inspired jazz. A must-have for any jazz sax enthusiast who's looking into that era of music.