I wanna back to the islands
Where the shrimp boats tie up to the pilin'
Gimme oysters and beer For dinner every day of the year
and I'll feel fine I'll feel fine
Rocksteady is officially Monty Alexander's recording. His deal with Telarc, now being realized, was that he record a straight jazz recording and then one of his own choosing. This is the latter. Mr. Alexander, along with his Jamaican brother Ernest Ranglin, turns his attention to the ska music of their young adulthood. And this music absolutely smacks of the islands. Few musical styles can conjure temporal images the way ska and reggae do for salty sea air, rum, and smoke. Honored here is the ska heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the music of Toots and the Maytals, The Blues Blasters, Theophilous Beckford, and Derrick Harriott.
For those listeners expecting reggae, modify your expectations. This music is a humid mixture of island music, American R&B and Soul, and Afro-Cuban jazz, and pop shined through the distinctly Jamaican cultural prism, producing this rich, sexual music. Little of Monty Alexander?s jazz chops are present, as I am sure was his design. Instead the pianist becomes a groove merchant establishing commerce with his partner in crime, guitarist Ernest Ranglin, whose role is to play funk master to Alexander?s relentless groove.
The disc was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, providing this music with the necessary “live” feel. This is serious music that will make one smile and hope that Mr. Alexander provides us more.
Herb Ellis is heard in performance in two separate German nightclubs during a 1998 tour of Europe, accompanied by harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens, young bassist Chris Berger, and drummer Chuck Redd. The seasoned guitarist is in top form, with Meurkens proving to be a good foil for him, though the latter man also proves himself to be a virtuoso on his instrument (comparable to Toots Thielemans). The selections…
Peterson redefined the jazz trio by bringing musicianship of all three members to the highest level. The definitive trio with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis was, in his own words, "the most stimulating" and productive setting for public performances as well as in studio recordings. In the early 1950s, Peterson began performing with Ray Brown and Charlie Smith as the Oscar Peterson Trio.
Arriving in New York in 1945, on his first day in town Ray Brown met and played with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell. He was hired by Gillespie for his small groups and his big band; "One Bass Hit" and "Two Bass Hit" were early features, and he can be seen with Dizzy Gillespie in the 1947 film Jiving in Bebop. Although not a soloist on the level of an Oscar Pettiford, Brown's quick reflexes and ability to accompany soloists in a swinging fashion put him near the top of his field. After playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic, he married Ella Fitzgerald (their marriage only lasted during 1948-1952), and for a time led his own trio to back the singer.,.
Oscar Peterson's trio with Ray Brown and Herb Ellis lasted from 1953 to 1959 and is well documented on records, but the appearance in 2003 of this previously unreleased 1958 concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver is welcome news to the pianist's fans. Buoyed by a receptive audience and always in the mood to play to the best of their abilities, the musicians outdo themselves throughout the set. ~ AllMusic
This is a not very challenging, but thoroughly charming, summit meeting between a blues guitar master and a jazz guitar legend. Taking four classic swing tunes ("Just Squeeze Me," "Avalon," "Stuffy," and, inevitably, "Flyin' Home"), two Robillard originals, and a jointly composed slow blues, and helped out by bassist Marty Ballou and drummer Marty Richards, Duke Robillard and Herb Ellis deliver a 48-minute swing guitar master class, Conversations in Swing Guitar. Ellis comes from jazz and Robillard from the blues, so their approaches are just distinct enough to keep things interesting; although both play with a clean, fat jazz tone and no one ever really hauls off and shreds, Robillard tends towards bent notes and funky chordal things while Ellis thinks a bit more in terms of long lines and florid ornamentation. Every so often you might find yourself wishing that the edges were just a bit rougher, but both of these guys are clearly having a great old time, and you will too.