Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson led his greatest big band during the years that he was signed to Roulette and all of the music from his 13 Roulette LPs (plus 11 previously unissued selections) are included on this deluxe limited-edition ten-CD box set. Although three of the LPs were originally recorded as dance records (and stick close to the melodies), this box as a whole finds Maynard at his peak and with an orchestra that includes such talented soloists as trombonists Slide Hampton and Don Sebesky (both of whom contributed arrangements), altoist Lanny Morgan, the tenors of Carmen Leggio, Willie Maiden, Joe Farrell, and Don Menza, pianists Jaki Byard and Joe Zawinul, and drummer Rufus Jones in addition to the leader. The music is very jazz-oriented and contains more than its share of classic moments, particularly the sessions that resulted in A Message From Newport and Newport Suite. It's highly recommended.
The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions is an attractive six-disc box set featuring all of Dexter Gordon's '60s recordings for the label in chronological order. Such classic albums as Dexter Calling and Go! were recorded during these years, and they are presented in their entirety, as are two complete sessions that have been previously unavailable on CD and several unreleased alternate takes. For serious Gordon fans and musicologists, it's an essential collection, but its very thoroughness makes it less appealing to casual fans, who would be better off acquiring the individual albums.
Garnished with a fistful of alternate takes, the 2007 release of Mosaic's 107-track Complete Lionel Hampton Victor Sessions 1937-1941 is a welcome and long overdue CD realization of The Complete Lionel Hampton 1937-1941, a six-LP box set released during the 1970s by the Bluebird label. Only Teddy Wilson came close to achieving what Hamp did in the late 1930s and early '40s, by bringing together the greatest soloists on the scene for a staggeringly productive and inspired series of recordings that essentially defined the state of jazz during the years immediately preceding the Second World War.
During his comeback years (1959-62) after a decade mostly off the scene, tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec recorded frequently for Blue Note. He started off with a session aimed at the 45 jukebox market and, although he eventually made a few full-length albums for the label, Quebec cut four 45 dates over a two-and-a-half-year period. This double-disc set has all of the jukebox sessions. Most of the 26 selections clock in between four and seven minutes and have long melody statements in addition to concise and soulful solos. Quebec, who was in consistently prime form during his last period, is joined by groups featuring either Skeeter Best or Willie Jones on guitar and Edwin Swanston, Sir Charles Thompson, or Earl Van Dyke on organ. Fun, loose and highly enjoyable music.
Count Basie defined the jazz meaning of swing. His band could get more bounce from a line that any other. And though his soloists were never of highest dazzle, they always fit the program. These live recordings from 1959, 1961 and 1962 capture the Count at his comfort. Mosaic has done its usual fine job with them on eight CDs. Roulette itself has reissued 12 of the cuts on a single CD entitled ``Basie in Sweden,`` for those who just want a taste.