Compared to the gargantuan Live/1975-85, 2001's Live in New York City seems like the very definition of restraint, but consider this – not only does it span two discs, it leaves out a considerable portion of the set list from the show and thereby the set list of Springsteen's celebrated 2000 reunion with the E Street Band. Some critics complained that this record was little more than a tie-in to the HBO special of the same name, but even if that's true, the record would have merit since it illustrates exactly why this group should never have parted ways. In a sense, even if this is the third live album in Springsteen's catalog, it's the first that attempts to replicate the feeling of an evening out with the E Street Band (the Live/1975-85 box tried too hard to be an ultimate experience; MTV Plugged captured a transitional phase).
This album will raise eyebrows. After all, didn't Johnny Hates Jazz have only one hit song? Forget the band's brief popularity on the American charts. Johnny Hates Jazz was a vastly underrated group, a British pop act whose handsome looks blinded many to the talent bubbling underneath the surface. Most of the record consists of tracks from the band's debut LP, Turn Back the Clock, and their lesser-known follow-up, Tall Stories. Tall Stories was recorded after vocalist Clark Datchler left the group, replaced by Phil Thornalley. Since the long-deleted Tall Stories is hard to find, this might be the only opportunity for fans to hear songs from it. Three of them are collected here: "Let Me Change Your Mind," "Last to Know," and "Fool's Gold." Sounding no different than anything on Turn Back the Clock, these tracks prove that Johnny Hates Jazz didn't lose their knack for soulful, danceable hooks after Datchler's departure. Given that Turn Back the Clock has no filler, the songs taken from that album shouldn't been seen as providing the complete picture.
A magnificent follow up to the Undercurrent album from the team of Bill Evans and Jim Hall – and like that one, a set that features amazing interplay between piano and guitar! Hall's guitar has never sounded better – and in the airy company of Evans, it takes on many of the same qualities as on his famous late 50s recordings in the Jimmy Guiffre trio. Bill's work is great too – almost more tonally focused than before, with perfectly chosen notes that resonate beautifully in this very spare space. Titles include "Jazz Samba", "All Across The City", "Angel Face", and "Turn Out The Stars".
Sweet and lovely – but plenty darn soulful too – and one of the excellent early 50s Verve dates that features the piano of Sonny Clark with the clarinet of Buddy DeFranco ! The album's got an even more unusual twist in that it features a bit of organ from Clark too – one of his only recordings on the instrument – as well as guitar from Tal Farlow on a number of tracks – another leading light of the fresh Verve sound of the 50s, really working some great music next to Buddy's horn.
A great one from Buddy DeFranco — exactly the kind of record that will make you understand why jazz collectors have always prized his Verve Records work so much ! Although Buddy's given instrument, the clarinet, was one that was handled by so many others at the time in kind of an outmoded way — DeFranco always managed to keep things fresh and modern, drawing heavily on bop inspiration for a record like this, yet also remaining true to his roots too.
Tracks have a nice rolling feel, and the group is very comfortable with each other. Foster's tone is excellent. “….this is a great, great record; a very swingin', soulful, and I dare say slightly modal side from the great sax man Frank Foster, long time sideman and musical director of the Count Basie organization. …..Foster has assembled a very competent and skillful support crew, mostly former and then current Basie sideman (which accounts for the title of the LP: 'Basie is Our Boss…) but he is also supported by a great favorite of this blog; the unheralded John Young on piano. Unusually for an Argo side, there are only 6 tracks on this LP, as Foster & company are given a rare opportunity to stretch out and tackle the material.
One of the best-ever Nat Adderley albums, and a damn funky set of tracks that has a tight soulful feel! The session's got a similar feel to some of the other rare late 60s Milestone albums (like the 2 killers by Bobby Timmons!) – especially in that it's got a group that plays with the fullness of a larger ensemble, and who race in and out nicely, to support the funky solos of the leader. Of course, some of the other players are pretty darn nice in the solo department too – like Joe Henderson on tenor, Jeremy Steig on fluge, and Joe Zawinu on piano – and they also manage to keep a tight rhythmic groove throughout. Titles include "The Scavenger", "Sweet Emma", "Rise Sally Rise", and "Melnat".