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Hard Bop Jazz | Free Jazz

The Strong Tenor of Mister Quebec: 1943-1946
The Tenor of Ike Quebec was always strong, but on these recordings it is really fierce. For those who know Quebec from his Bossa Nova CD "Soul Samba", from 1962, these early recordings may come as a shock. His sound is big, full, and completely in the "Coleman Hawkins" tradition. The tracks are all strong, from the bluesy opener "Blue Harlem" to the jumping closer "that's the lick".

The recordings here paralleled the bebop revolution, but the style is still mostly un-influenced by Parker's innovations. The musicians - Tiny Grimes, Jonah Jones, Tyree Glenn, Buck Clayton, Shad Collins, Roy Eldridge, Bill Coleman, Sammy Price, Trummy young and such - are the cream of the small band swing style that was still popular and influential in the 40's.

Pres and Sweets ~ Lester Young & Billie Holiday
Lester Young sounds so tired here, still he is the reason most people would buy this CD, and they would be right.
Like Billie Holiday, Young's personality was transparent - everything he felt showed up in his sound. Here he is tired, introspective, disillusioned. When he plays the beautiful solo on "Its the talk of the town" he tells a story as no other musician I know. Technical skill becomes irrelevant, it is just a story being told. It is a sad story, told by a beautiful person.

There are many musicians who could swing, play fast or slow, and do it sounding good. But there is only one Lester Young, and to hear him in a relaxed studio atmosphere with a good sound quality is a rare experience. This CD also offers Harry Edison in top form, Buddy Rich in a setting he thrives at (unlike the session with Parker and Gillespie, where he was clearly unfit), and Oscar Peterson who ALWAYS sounds good.

Kansas City Sessions ~ Lester Young
These are superb recordings by the master musician Lester Young and his Kansas City friends. When Young plays the blues on clarinet he reminds me so much of Billy Holliday - the transition from each note to the next is so full of musical emotion that it gets right inside my soul. The 1938 recordings with the clarinet are a high point in all Jazz - along with the Hot Fives and Sevens, Johnny Hodges small groups from 1939-40 etc.

Young's beautiful sensitivity is displayed, along with the members of the group who afford Young the best support one could ask for. The 1944 sessions with Young on Tenor are great and complement the earlier sessions perfectly.

Passion Flower [Bluebird] ~ Johnny Hodges
A CD so full of beautiful music does not come often. Johnny Hodges was always a magnificent alto player, but this CD displays what to me is Hodges' very best. The original versions of Good Queen Bess, Things Aren't The Way... Day Dream, Passion Flower - all were recorded later numerous times - but these are the best !!! (the Duke's Orchestra provides stunning support for him on this cd). Hodges is the most unique alto I know, and was admired by Parker and any other alto player who came after him. His sound is so great and passionate and his phrasing is filled with blues emotion.

Jazz Reviews - Three eras of jazz reviews: swing, bop and hard bop and avant-garde by Israeli jazz musician Nadav Haber.

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Lester Young: The Lester Young Collection (Saxophone) - sheet music at
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