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Jazz - Live From New York by Various Artists

I'm not usually a fan of compilations. They seem so easy to produce and the result is often a hodgepodge. On the other hand I won't take a long drive without my set of "The Jazz Giants Play---------" (by another company). Those CDs allow me to match the music to my mood be it Gershwin, Porter, Harry Warren or whomever. So compilations do have a place.

I like "Jazz - Live From New York." It's a 2-CD set (for the price of one) of previously released material representing many of the jazz legends performing live, mainly at the Blue Note. The music is inspired and playing for a live audience probably has something to do with that. The exception is Lionel Hampton's" Golden Men of Jazz" who seem to be going through the motions on that swing chestnut "Flying Home."

With the exception of a big band track by Louie Bellson, the emphasis is on small groups-mainly of all-stars. Among the " sidemen" are Roy Hargrove, Jackie McLean, Art Farmer, "Sweets" and Clark Terry!

Dizzy's presence is felt. Slide Hampton's JazzMasters serve up an intricate arrangement of "Night in Tunisia" with solos by Jimmy Heath and the incredible Jon Faddis. Al Grey contributes an original, "Diz Related", while the master himself solos on "Con Alma." Oscar appears with the "Very Tall Band" (Milt Jackson and Ray Brown) and his original trio. On the latter track we are treated to twelve minutes of powerhouse playing on his own "Kelly's Blues". The exciting young pianist, Geoff Keezer, is part of Jim Hall's lively calypso, "Panorama" and the Jazz Messengers' "Oh, By the Way." When you hear Terence Blanchard's fireworks on that one you'll wonder why the casual title!

From my point of view, there are two highlights. Dave Brubeck opens "Yesterdays" with an introspective solo that suggests the classics , embellishes the melody in a long rubato passage and then the band swings on out! Paul Desmond said he aimed at a dry martini sound. Well the current alto player, Bobby Militello, must be into steak. He just SIZZLES! Another track, "It Might As Well Be Spring" at ballad tempo is the basis for some just beautiful playing by James Moody, Grover Washington, Jr. and Chris Potter.

There's a lot to like here. I'm going to bring "Jazz-Live From New York" along on those long drives.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
  • CD Title: Jazz - Live From New York
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Telarc
  • Musicians: Slide Hampton, Al Grey, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Mel Tormé, James Moody, Lionel Hampton, Dave Brubeck, Jim Hall, Jazz Messengers, Jon Hendricks, Stephane Grappelli," Sweets" Edison, Louie Bellson and many others.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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