I find it hard to believe that music that sounds this good could have been recorded in 1957. There is something extraordinary and enduring about great live jazz music, it does not seem to matter when, where, and sometimes how it was originally recorded, when you hear it for the first time it sounds like it was only yesterday. If you were there when the event took place, it would not sound any different from the way you remembered it, the sweet tones prevail and time does not seem to be a factor. Not all live-recorded music turns out this way. Granted, this event at Newport featuring George Shearing (piano) and Cannonball Adderley ( alto sax) with his brother Nat (trumpet) was exceptional to begin with, and when you have something of quality to work with when you start the remastering process, the result is that musical legends become more real and alive. Because of the closeness you feel to the music those legends grow larger than life.
What makes this CD such a gem is that you get two jazz legends with their quintets on stage not being bashful about showing the audience their wares. In addition, they do it with genuine aplomb. Both band leader’s quintets getting together for some sparkling and innovative improvisation is what this genre lives for, it is the heartbeat of jazz to create live music such as this. This was the golden age of jazz, the 50’s and all its glory came to a peak of musical intelligence that has not been matched since men such as Adderley and Shearing stepped on stage to perform. When each quintet gets their moment in the sun it is something to behold, when they join forces it becomes that much more incredible.
Although it is over 70 minutes it seems to last much longer, and that is a good thing. There is yet another magical element of jazz that I have noticed over the years; its ability to hold your attention and the uncanny way it always seems to last much longer than it really does. I can only attribute that to the utter magic it creates when one lets the doors of the imagination open thereby letting your senses become more acute to the surrounding sounds of pulsating rhythms and beats. Jazz is everything.... culture, history, and the story of the people that created it. That is the very purpose of the music and the message it holds for us all. This special live performance is a necessary acquisition for any jazz collector. I do not want to wear out saying that, but I cannot help myself, it is true. Get this CD and you can make the judgments for yourself.
Note: All Tracks Are Previously Unreleased.