This exciting CD has 20 diverse performances that were originally produced by Leonard Feather for the Victor label during 1946-47. The first eight selections feature various versions of Esquire's All-American Award Winners and have some unique combinations of musicians. "Long Long Journey" was the first record to match together Duke Ellington (who verbally introduces the song) and Louis Armstrong, and on "Snafu" Armstrong takes a surprisingly modern solo that hints at bebop. Trumpeter Charlie Shavers creates a remarkable improvisation on "The One That Got Away," ltoist Johnny Hodges plays beautifully on "Gone with the Wind" and other key players include tenor saxophonist Don Byas, trumpeter Buck Clayton, trombonist J.J. Johnson and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. The mid-to-late '40s were a particularly rich period for jazz and this highly recommended CD is filled with gems.
There is a story behind this concert – from the liner notes:
"In the 1940s Esquire magazine was one of the most popular news magazines of the American East Coast. Every year it organized a poll among its readers, who voted for the top musicians of the last year. Then all the winners were invited for a great concert which was a major event of New York's nightlife. This is the recording of the first Esquire Jazz Concert. You find, joined for one night, the most popular American Jazz musicians in a night-long jam session."