In the 1950s, Herbie Mann frequently shared the spotlight on record dates with other flutists. This V.S.O.P. LP, a reissue of a set originally for Mode and also out for awhile on Premier, matches Mann (who here also plays piccolo, clarinet and tenor) with Buddy Collette (switching between flute, clarinet, tenor and alto) in a quintet with pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Buddy Clark and drummer Mel Lewis. The results are generally pleasing, if somewhat lightweight, with such obscure tunes as "Here's Buddy," Rowles' "Pop Melody," "Here's Pete" and Mann's "Theme from 'Theme From'" alternating with three standards and Chico Hamilton's "Morning After."
Herbie Hancock's V.S.O.P. project with his former bandmates from the Miles Davis Quintet – Ron Carter, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams – and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was a band that almost single-handedly tried to re-establish acoustic jazz in the United States. And though they made three recordings, all of which were favorably reviewed and heralded by true jazz fans, none of them sold very well, and the band could find few gigs in the United States. The 1978 tour of major cities was thought to be a triumph at the time, but the unit could find few gigs afterward, and so its various members all went back to their other projects. In 1979, they got the opportunity to tour Japan and jumped at the chance. Sony, Hancock's Japanese label, recorded the two evenings, and the first, which took place during a furious rainstorm, was broadcast live on national television! Live Under the Sky marks the first time that this album has been available in the United States in any form. The original album featured eight cuts, and was minus the set's opener, "Eye of the Hurricane."
Reissue with latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. With the cheers and huzzahs from their 1976 one-off reunion still resounding, the reconstituted Miles Davis Quintet minus Miles went on the road in 1977, spreading their 1965-vintage gospel according to the Prince of Darkness to audiences in Berkeley and San Diego, CA. In doing so, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, plus interloper Freddie Hubbard seem to pick up where they left off, with a repertoire mostly new to the five collectively and developed from there.
V.S.O.P. is a landmark album in the history of jazz, though not at all in the way it was intended. George Wein organized a Herbie Hancock retrospective concert at the 1977 Newport Jazz Festival in New York where three bands from Hancock's past and present – the 1965-1968 Miles Davis Quintet with Freddie Hubbard deputizing for the indisposed Miles, the 1969-1973 sextet, and Hancock's then-current jazz-funk outfit – would share the stage. As things turned out, it was the Miles band reunion that grabbed most of the attention, leading to several tours which in turn inspired a whole generation of young musicians (led by Wynton Marsalis) to turn their backs upon electronics and make bop-grounded acoustic jazz the lingua franca of jazz for the rest of the 20th century.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of Barney Kessel's greatest albums ever – a rare Italian-only session that has a sparkly Brazilian groove! The record was recorded in Rome in 1970, and it's got Kessel's guitar fronting a combo with organ and some very tight percussion – all dancing around in a fast samba mode that's different from virtually anything else he ever recorded – very groovy, very upbeat, and very much what you might expect when the talents of a west coast guitar giant meets the best of the Italian studio scene of the time! There's loads of original tracks on the set – like "Freeway", "Lison", "BJ's Samba", and "On the Riviera" – and the whole thing has a breezy dancing feel that's really wonderful!
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. The excitement on the cover here is very well-placed – and RCA clearly knows they've got something special on their hands – the launch of vibist Gary Burton as a leader – a force in jazz that would continue strongly for decades to come! At the time of the record, Burton had already been making waves as a session player on the Nashville scene – where RCA had some especially strong ears – but he's launched here in a mode that's quite far from those roots, and already filled with those modern, chromatic modes that would have Burton pushing the sound of the vibes forward strongly throughout his career – even on an early record like this! The group is very like-minded, and well-chosen – players who are spacious and modern, but never too much so – a quartet with Jim Hall on guitar, Chuck Israels on bass, and Larry Bunker on drums.