Retro Reviews

Phil Woods: “I Remember…” (Gryphon 788)

In 1978, Phil Woods composed and arranged I Remember…, an album-long suite which memorialized eight jazz masters: Cannonball Adderley, Paul Desmond, Oscar Pettiford, Oliver Nelson, Charlie Parker, Willie Rodriguez, Willie Dennis and Gary McFarland. In this Retro Review, Thomas Cunniffe notes that the album is also a memorial for Dr. Herb Wong, whose liner notes graced the original LP.

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Quincy Jones: “This Is How I Feel About Jazz” (ABC-Paramount 149)

In September 1956, 23-year old Quncy Jones assembled a truly all-star band for his first LP as a leader, This Is How I Feel About Jazz. In ensembles ranging from nine to fifteen pieces, Jones provided brilliant showcases for Art Farmer, Jimmy Cleveland, Phil Woods, Lucky Thompson, Milt Jackson, Billy Taylor and Charles Mingus. Thomas Cunniffe reviews this landmark recording in this month’s Retro Review.

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Red Garland: “Swingin’ on the Korner” (Elemental 5990426)

When Red Garland left the Miles Davis Sextet in 1958, his career continued on with recordings for Prestige and a busy schedule of sideman appearances. But in 1962, Garland moved to Dallas to care for his ailing mother, and he didn’t return to active playing for nearly a decade. Elemental’s new 2-CD set. Swingin’ on the Korner finds Garland in exceptional form, leading a trio with Leroy Vinnegar and Philly Joe Jones in live sets recorded in 1977 at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner.

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Sarah Vaughan: “Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection” (Pablo 34608)

In 1979, Sarah Vaughan was a newlywed. Her husband was trumpeter Waymon Reed, a competent but hardly original soloist. Vaughan insisted on featuring Reed on her recordings, including her 2-LP Duke Ellington Songbook. Concord has now reissued the set on CD with a previously unissued session conducted by Benny Carter. In his review of the CD, Thomas Cunniffe speculates that Reed may have been the catalyst for some of Vaughan’s greatest late-career performances.

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