A new section exclusive for our jazz messengers customers. Scott Yanow, top jazz journalist and writer, and one of the most prolific jazz record reviewers in history, reviews exclusively for Jazz Messengers a selection of new releases. A very reliable source for a glimpse of what is worth having in your shelf!

Sarah Vaughan - Wonderful Sarah

Scott Yanow

 Sarah Vaughan had one of the most miraculous voices not only in jazz but in popular music. She had a very wide range, perfect control over her voice, a very attractive tone, and the ability to sing whatever she wanted. She could have been an opera singer if that had been her goal.               Instead, Sarah Vaughan became one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, competin...

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Grant Green & Baby Face Willette Trio/Quartet Complete Recordings

Scott Yanow

While Grant Green was one of the most active and significant guitarists of the 1960s, particularly during the first half of the decade, organist Baby Face Willette has been somewhat forgotten since that era. Willette, who was born in 1933, was originally a pianist. He played in his early days with gospel and rhythm & blues groups including with Guitar Slim, Joe Houston, King Kolax, the Cara...

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Dave Brubeck Time Further Out

Scott Yanow

After 1959’s Time Out became a huge and unexpected success, highlighted by the famous recordings of “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo A La Turk,” Dave Brubeck and his quartet recorded several other albums that, like Time Out, found the group improvising over then-unusual time signatures. Brubeck had experimented with different time meters (such as 7/4 and 11/4) back in the late 1940s with his octet. ...

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Joe Pass & Les McCann Something Special – The 1962 Sessions

Scott Yanow

Guitarist Joe Pass and pianist Les McCann recorded together twice in 1962, and all of that music plus more is included on this two-CD set. At the time, Pass was just starting to get his career going after some time off the scene. While not that well known yet, he was beginning to become quite busy in the Los Angeles area. Meanwhile McCann had gained a strong reputation as one of the top funky j...

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Duke Ellington - In Grona Lund 1963

Scott Yanow

There is never any shortage of great Duke Ellington recordings to acquire. He recorded steadily during 1926-74, and not only are there a countless number of studio recordings but radio transcriptions, live performances and radio broadcasts. But even so, the release of the double-CD In Grona Lund 1963 is a special event.               Other than four songs that came out on casset...

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Curtis Counce - Exploring The Future

Scott Yanow

Bassist Curtis Counce, who passed away in 1963 from a weak heart when he was only 37, is best remembered today for a series of quintet albums that he made for the Contemporary label during 1956-57. During that period his group featured trumpeter Jack Sheldon, tenor-saxophonist Harold Land, pianist Carl Perkins and drummer Frank Butler.               Exploring The Future is much ...

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Ben Webster * Richard “Groove” Holmes * Les McCann Groove - The Complete Legendary 1961 Session

Scott Yanow

Groove came about quite by accident. The original idea was for it to be a Les McCann vocal album with assistance by organist Richard “Groove” Holmes, tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster, trombonist Tricky Lofton, guitarist George Freeman and drummer Ron Jefferson. However because the musicians had such a great time warming up (with McCann on piano), it was spontaneously decided to record a largely in...

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Jimmy Cleveland Septet/Octet

Scott Yanow

 Jimmy Cleveland was very busy during the second half of the 1950s. He had played with Lionel Hampton’s big band during 1950-53 and then settled in New York where as a freelance musician he recorded with such giants as Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, James Moody, Lucky Thompson, Oscar Pettiford and Gil Evans. But after touring Europe with the Quincy Jones big band during 1959-60, he became mor...

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Jessica Williams - With Love

Scott Yanow

One of the top jazz pianists of the past 30 years, Jessica Williams recently had to take some time off of playing to have spinal and back surgery. Fortunately, as can be heard throughout With Love, she has made a full recovery.             While she has gained fame as a pianist with superb technique and one who can play rapid stride, has a witty sense of humor and can emulate Thelonious...

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Opus 5 - Progression

Scott Yanow

Opus 5, which has now recorded three CDs, originally came about as an idea by trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and tenor-saxophonist Seamus Blake. They wanted to form a group that would introduce new music. Sipiagin and Blake were soon joined by the rhythm section of the Mingus Big Band: keyboardist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards. All of the musicians in the group are not...

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ENRICO PIERANUNZI Stories

Scott Yanow

Italian jazz pianist Enrico Pieranunzi has in the past played music that was comparable to that of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and to a lesser extent Paul Bley. However on Stories he not only plays in his own adventurous style but he introduces seven superior originals of his own. The son of a jazz guitarist, Pieranunzi was classically trained and worked as an educator for two years b...

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CHUBBY JACKSON BIG BAND Ooh, What An Outfit – New York 1949

Scott Yanow

Chubby Jackson is best remembered as the bassist, talent scout and head cheerleader with Woody Herman’s First Herd of 1944-46. He was also back with Herman for a brief time in 1948. After leaving Herman for the second time, Jackson formed a boppish big band that was somewhat reminiscent of Herman’s Herd although without the big names. This two-CD set from Uptown has all of the existing music fr...

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DAVE DOUGLAS & URI CAINE Present Joys

Scott Yanow

Throughout his very productive career, trumpeter Dave Douglas can always be relied upon to do the unexpected. Whether playing free improvisations, the music of Jimmy Giuffre, a tribute to Miles Davis or ancient folk songs, Douglas never plays the predictable yet usually sounds relaxed no matter what he performs. He has worked with pianist Uri Caine in a wide variety of settings through the year...

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DEXTER GORDON Candlelight Lady

Scott Yanow

Dexter Gordon was already a living legend by 1962 when he moved to Europe for 14 years. He had been the first tenor-saxophonist to fully understand bebop, had starred at Los Angeles jam sessions in the late 1940s with Wardell Gray and Teddy Edwards, and had recorded influential sessions as a leader for Savoy. He had also survived long periods off the scene in the 1950s and made a major comeback...

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TED ROSENTHAL TRIO Rhapsody In Gershwin

Scott Yanow

It can be a challenge to play songs that have already been performed and recorded a countless number of times over the decades. On Rhapsody In Gershwin, pianist Ted Rosenthal plays such familiar George Gershwin tunes as “Fascinatin’ Rhythm,” “Strike Up The Band” and “Someone To Watch Over Me,” but, by infusing the music with his own personality, and planning some inventive frameworks, Rosenthal...

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SCOTT HAMILTON Dean Street Nights

Scott Yanow

Ever since he burst upon the jazz scene in the mid-1970s, tenor-saxophonist Scott Hamilton has represented the very best in small group swing. While many of his contemporaries played fusion, funk, pop or avant-garde jazz, Hamilton has stuck to his original musical vision throughout his busy career. He may have sounded a little like Zoot Sims and Ben Webster in spots but basically he has had his...

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ELLA FITZGERALD Sings The Rodgers & Hart Song Book

Scott Yanow

During 1956-64 Ella Fitzgerald recorded eight “songbooks” which were extended sets of the music of a particular composer or lyricist. Producer Norman Granz had recently started the Verve label specifically to feature her singing and the songbook project was one of the most extensive and prestigious of his ideas. After she had success with her Cole Porter Song Book, the Rodgers & Hart projec...

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ERIC ALEXANDER QUARTET Recado Bossa Nova

Scott Yanow

When it comes to playing advanced and soulful hard bop, few are on the level today of tenor-saxophonist Eric Alexander. Still just 45 at this writing, he has already led over 35 albums of his own. Alexander was originally a classical musician who studied on the alto sax at Indiana University. However he soon realized that he loved to improvise, and that his true voice was on the ten...

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TETE MONTOLIU TRIO Catalonian Rhapsody

Scott Yanow

One of the greatest jazz musicians ever born in Spain, Tete Montoliu was a superb hard bop pianist who fortunately made many rewarding recordings during his life. Catalonian Rhapsody, recorded for the Japanese Venus label, is one of his rarest sets. For this project from 1992, Montoliu is joined by bassist Hein Van de Geyn and drummer Idris Muhammad. Rather than perform the usual st...

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STAN GETZ ‘Round Midnight In Paris

Scott Yanow

Did anyone on tenor-sax ever have as lovely a tone as Stan Getz? Due to his tone, he was given the nickname of “The Sound” in the 1950s. But rather than just play pretty ballads, Getz was also a hard-swinger who could hold his own with virtually any other musician of his time. He managed to sound comfortable and relaxed even at blazing tempos. ‘Round Midnight In Paris is taken from ...

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LESTER BOWIE - The Great Pretender/Steel & Breath

Scott Yanow

Lester Bowie will always be best remembered for being the trumpeter with the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, playing music that was accurately called “ancient to the future.” His high musicianship, highly expressive playing and wit were major assets to the innovative group. Bowie also did many side projects in his career, displaying his versatility and creativity in different areas. This do...

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GRANT GREEN - Gooden’s Corner

Scott Yanow

Grant Green was one of the greatest guitarists to emerge during the 1960s. He was unofficially the house guitarist at the Blue Note label during 1961-65 and proved able to easily fit in and be creative in settings ranging from hard bop to post bop, Latin, and spirituals to soul jazz organ dates. Unlike nearly every other guitarist, Green very rarely ever played a chord, preferring to concentrat...

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THE GEORGE SHEARING TRIO - Jazz moments

Scott Yanow

George Shearing became world famous as the leader and pianist of his popular quintet with vibes, guitar, bass and drums during 1949-69. While he had recorded a couple of trio sessions during 1947-48, Jazz Moments was his only trio album during 1949-70. When Ahmad Jamal broke up his trio in early 1962, Shearing immediately hired bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Vernel Fournier for his quintet. ...

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STAN GETZ - The Complete Roost Studio Sessions

Scott Yanow

Tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Jimmy Raney always made for a magical combination. They both had similar cool tones, and their solos were full of thoughtful ideas yet they could play as fast as anyone. Their interaction on their recordings of the early 1950s is classic and memorable. This two-CD set has all of their joint studio recordings of the era (including the alterna...

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STAN GETZ - The Complete Roost Studio Sessions

Scott Yanow

Tenor-saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Jimmy Raney always made for a magical combination. They both had similar cool tones, and their solos were full of thoughtful ideas yet they could play as fast as anyone. Their interaction on their recordings of the early 1950s is classic and memorable. This two-CD set has all of their joint studio recordings of the era (including the alterna...

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HOWARD MCGHEE - West Coast 1945-1947

Scott Yanow

During 1945-49, Howard McGhee ranked with Dizzy Gillespie and Fats Navarro as the top bebop-oriented trumpeter. He was often excellent in later years, but this particular period found him playing with a wide range, a fat sound, constant creativity and plenty of energy. McGhee first came to Los Angeles in early 1945 as a member of the Coleman Hawkins sextet. He decided to stay and he ...

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COLEMAN HAWKINS - The Lost 1950 Munich Concert

Scott Yanow

This CD has a major new find, a previously unreleased concert featuring the masterful tenor-saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. A concert performed six weeks before this Jan. 19, 1950 date with the same group has been released but not this particular performance. Hawkins is heard during a European tour with a septet that also includes James Moody on tenor, altoist Hubert Fol, trombonist Nat Peck, pian...

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PHRONESIS - Life To Everything

Scott Yanow

Phronesis is a trio consisting of pianist Ivo Neame, bassist Jasper Hoiby and drummer Anton Eger. While their names may not be well known at this point, Phronesis plays a very vital form of modern jazz. While they are a piano trio, this is very much a co-op group. Bassist Hoiby often takes the lead. Drummer Eger is also free to lead the music in a different direction than the other two musician...

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KAT GANG - Dream Your Troubles Away

Scott Yanow

Kat Gang has had two careers in her life thus far, working as both an actress and as a singer. As a vocalist, she has a simple and direct delivery, doing justice to the lyrics that she interprets while swinging in an attractive voice. On Dream Your Troubles Away, she shows that she is quite comfortable interacting with an impressive group of jazz all-stars. For this set of 13 superio...

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JASON PALMER - places

Scott Yanow

Jason Palmer is a superior modern jazz trumpeter and a skilled composer. Among his many musical associations have been performances with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Smith, Roy Haynes, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ravi Coltrane, Phil Woods, Grace Kelly, Greg Osby, and touring with the Miles Davis Experience 1949-1959. Places is his fourth CD as a leader for the Steeple Chase la...

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STEVE DAVIS - for real

Scott Yanow

Trombonist Steve Davis’ For Real CD is a recording that will strongly appeal to lovers of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and J.J. Johnson. Davis, who has a warm boppish style, put together a top-notch hard bop quintet for the set, a group that also features tenor-saxophonist Abraham Burton, pianist Larry Willis, bassist Nat Reeves and drummer Billy Williams. It is not surprising that ...

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TOM RAINEY - Obbligato

Scott Yanow

This is an utterly fascinating recording. The five musicians on Obbligato (trumpeter Ralph Alessi, tenor-saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Drew Gress and drummer-leader Tom Rainey) have often played in free form settings together. This live set from Brooklyn’s Systems Two is something different for the ten performances feature them exploring nine familiar standards (openi...

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The Lonely Bull - HERB ALPERT & THE TIJUANA BRASS

Scott Yanow

It is always very intriguing hearing a pop artist at the very beginning of his or her career. In 1962 when Herb Alpert recorded the music for The Lonely Bull, which was the very first release by the A&M label, there was not actually a working group called the Tijuana Brass. The music was recorded in Alpert’s garage utilizing a few session players and with him overdubbing the trumpet parts. ...

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SHIRLEY BASSEY - Let’s Face The Music – Complete Edition

SHIRLEY BASSEY

Shirley Bassey, who emerged in the 1950s, in ways could be considered the Barbra Streisand of her time. She was never a jazz singer although one suspects she could have been if she had desired. Blessed with a very powerful voice, she could easily belt out lyrics over a big band or a string orchestra, giving each word a lot of feeling and often making even the most familiar standard sound quite ...

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SHELLY MANNE & HIS MEN - Checkmate

Scott Yanow

During 1961-62, drummer Shelly Manne led a particularly strong quintet, one that also included trumpeter Conte Candoli, tenor-saxophonist Richie Kamuca, pianist Russ Freeman and bassist Chuck Berghofer. That group recorded seven selections from John Williams’ score for the Checkmate television series. The themes performed by Manne and his Men from the suspenseful crime drama are all moody and a...

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JIM HALL - Classic Quartets

Scott Yanow

Jim Hall, who recently passed away at the age of 83, had been a senior statesman in jazz as well as a major inspiration for such younger guitarists as Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Bill Frisell. His quiet playing and harmonically adventurous style first became prominent in 1955 when he was with the Chico Hamilton Quintet. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Hall was an important part of suc...

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SEAMUS BLAKE/CHRIS CHEEK - Reeds Ramble

Scott Yanow

It is always a treat getting to hear jazz improvisers who often play very explorative music returning to playing straight ahead jazz, standards and in earlier styles. They usually bring something special and original to the music because they come to it from a different angle and perspective than those who have spent much of their musical lives steeped in the music of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gill...

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FRANK WESS - Magic 201

Scott Yanow

Frank Wess, who passed away recently at the age of 91, was a major jazz player for over 60 years. One of jazz’s first significant flute players, Wess was also a talented tenor-saxophonist, altoist and arranger. During 1953-64 he was one of the stars of Count Basie’s orchestra and he appeared on a countless number of sessions during and after that period as both a leader and a sideman. His playi...

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SHEILA JORDAN - Portrait Of Sheila

Scott Yanow

This CD could be called “The Complete Sheila Jordan 1960-1974.” Included is all of the music from the singer’s debut album Portrait Of Sheila, one of the very few times that the Blue Note label in its classic years featured a singer. Also on the CD is a rare selection (“Yesterdays”) from a session led by bassist Peter Ind, and her emotional singing on “You Are My Sunshine” from a George Russell...

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ANDREA MOTIS & JOAN CHAMORRO QUINTET Live At Jamboree - Barcelona

Scott Yanow

Although her name is not yet known in the United States, during the past few years singer Andrea Motis has had success in Europe co-leading a quintet with bassist Joan Chamorro. Ms. Motis, who also plays trumpet and alto-sax, has a sweet and very appealing voice (with bits of Billie Holiday and Norah Jones), swings easily, and uplifts each song that she sings.                 Live At Ja...

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HENRY MANCINI Combo + The Blues And The Beat

Scott Yanow

The late Henry Mancini will always be famous as one of the top film and television composers of all time. Whether it is “Days Of Wine And Roses” or the television soundtrack of Peter Gunn, his music has generally been of strong interest to the jazz world even though he himself was not really a jazz musician. Mancini liked swinging jazz and included some of it on many of his soundtracks. <p...

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ART PEPPER Unreleased Art, Vol. VIII.

Scott Yanow

 Art Pepper made one of the most remarkable and unlikely comebacks in jazz history. A superb altoist in the 1950s, Pepper spent the 1960s in and out of prison due to his drug use. By the early 1970s he was not picking up his horn very much. However to a large extent his wife Laurie Pepper saved both his life and his career. Due to her, Pepper dealt with his drug addiction, his life stabilized, ...

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TUBBY HAYES The Complete Tubby’s Groove

Scott Yanow

Prior to 1950, there were only a handful of major jazz musicians who were from Europe (such as George Shearing), and even fewer who spent most of their careers in Europe as opposed to moving to the United States (Django Reinhardt is the obvious example). In the 1950s that situation began to change although it was not until Europeans came up with new ways to play avant-garde jazz in the 1960s an...

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JOHN COLTRANE Ole Coltrane

Scott Yanow

John Coltrane was at one of the many turning points in his career when he recorded the Ole album on May 25, 1961. A year after leaving the Miles Davis Quintet, he had settled on the members of his working quartet: pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman (later succeeded by Jimmy Garrison) and drummer Elvin Jones. He was on the verge of leaving the Atlantic label for Impulse and he had a rec...

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ORNETTE COLEMAN Change Of The Century – The Complete Session

Scott Yanow

 In 1959, altoist Ornette Coleman and his quartet with cornetist Don Cherry made history. After having developed their music during the previous years in Los Angeles, when they appeared for a long stint at the Five Spot, playing tight originals and expressive solos that did not use chord changes, they created a sensation. Some considered their controversial music to be the next major step in th...

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ART BLAKEY Complete Studio Recordings

Scott Yanow

During 1960 and the first half of 1961, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers had one of its strongest lineups. Drummer Blakey and bassist Jymie Merritt were joined by three masterful soloists, all of whom were also strong songwriters; trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor-saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Bobby Timmons. This magnificent five CD set has all of the music that this lineup recorded in the studio...

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3 COHENS Tightrope

Scott Yanow

The talented siblings Anat Cohen (who plays clarinet, tenor and bass clarinet), trumpeter Avishai Cohen and soprano-saxophonist Yuval Cohen form the 3 Cohens. While they have each had important individual careers (particularly Anat), in some ways they sound best when all playing together. There is a magical communication between the Cohens who have been performing together on and off since chil...

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HELEN HUMES Sings Ballads & Blues

Scott Yanow

Helen Humes was always a delight to hear. When she sang, whether it was a swing tune, a ballad or a lowdown blues, there was always happiness in her voice. She could not help it because she simply loved to sing, and she did it so well.                 Humes had a long career that included recording blues in the 1920s when she was just 13 and 14, being featured with the Count Basie Orche...

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THELONIOUS MONK The Complete 1961 Amsterdam Concert

Scott Yanow

 The music on this formerly rare concert is the earliest recorded example (with one slight exception) of tenor-saxophonist Charlie Rouse playing as a member of the Thelonious Monk Quartet without other guests. Rouse joined Monk in 1959, staying for ten years. He appeared at that year’s Town Hall concert as part of Monk’s tentet and there were a few titles in which he was the only horn with the ...

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GENE AMMONS - Blue Groove + Preachin’

Scott Yanow

Gene Ammons was one of the most expressive of all saxophonists. Although he could play bebop with the best, always holding his own in tenor battles with his good friend Sonny Stitt, he had the rare ability to say a great deal with one note. In his career he was equally admired by jazz and r&amp;b listeners because he made virtually everything sound soulful and bluesy. This single CD...

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