Title - 'The Signature Series'
Artist - Various
Billie Holiday - 'God Bless the Child': I actually first heard this CD while I was walking around Borders and just had to ask my editor if I could review it! These are a collection of early recordings - the music is fresh and joyous - the vocals are superb. I especially love the recordings of "Miss Brown To You," "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" (a treat), "I Wished On The Moon" and my very favorite, "I Cried For You." I have other Holiday recordings. However, this is the one I play again and again. I only wish that it had "Good Morning Heartache" on it. Oh, well, perhaps sometime in the future a box-set of everything the finest jazz singer who ever lived will be made available.
The Brecker Brothers - 'Sneakin' Up Behind You': Randy and Michael Brecker are jazz royalty, two of the most respected and most honored instrumentalists of the last three decades. This new compilation, Sneaking Up Behind You: The Very Best of The Brecker Brothers, kicks off with those two tunes, then winds through a brief history of the band, in the process stirring up fond memories of the latter days of the attempted jazz/rock marriage. It's an exhilarating trip, at times dated (cheesy clavinets and disco high-hat patterns) but always fiery and musically impressive. On that first album, Randy's trumpet and Michael's tenor sax were augmented in the front line by future superstar David Sanborn's distinctive alto saxophonics. Other musicians passing through the band included bassists Will Lee and Marcus Miller, drummers Harvey Mason, Lenny White and Terry Bozzio, and keysmen George Duke and Don Grolnick. The writing is strong, the soloing incredible (Michael in particular showing the facility for which he would be come renown), the funk relentless. These guys followed in the steps of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Weather Report to lead fusion's second wave.
Rosemary Clooney - 'Come On-A My House': My first encounter with the music of Rosemary Clooney was as a 14 year old teenager in 1966 playing one of my aunts scratchy old LP's. That collection of early 1950's pre rock and roll hits included Rosemary Clooney's #1 smash "Come On-A My House". "How silly..." I thought. "and adults think our music is stupid." My first impression of Rosemary Clooney would stay with me for a good many years. It was not until the 1980's that I really began to appreciate just what an incredibly gifted singer she was. This newly-released "The Very Best of Rosemary Clooney" features 14 of her very finest recordings. Sure you will find all of her big hits from the early 50's including "Half As Much", "This Ole House", "Hey There" and of course "Come On-A My House". But you will also be treated to many other great tracks including 'How About You?,' 'Be Myself,' 'Clap Hands! Here Comes Rosie' and 'Mack The Knife.'
Dizzy Gillespie - Night In Tunisia - The Very Best of': The breadth of Dizzy's work is amazing, truly amazing; sometimes even staggering if added up. I am a big fan of Charlie Parker, and I especially loved the music in which Bird and Diz played together. I have to admit though, that while Charlie Parker contributed the phrasing and the genius that launched bebop, it was Dizzy that provided the leadership and the mentoring that kept it moving forward. The recognition of Dizzy's contributions seems to be sorely lacking, then and even now. That said, this brand new collection gives us John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie and his revolutionized trumpet playing at its finest. This highly respected and truly loved musician today is brought forth with such songs as '52nd Street Theme (Take 2),' 'Oop-Pop-A-Da,' 'Stay On It,' 'Manteca' and aside from the title track, both 'Good Bait' and 'Two Bass Hit.'