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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2011 0 comments

This impeccably produced (by Norman Granz, who literall built Verve Records and later Pablo around her), career summing concert takes Ella from her beginnings with the Chick Webb Orchestra to her then current quartet featuring Tommy Flanagan, Keeter Betts, Joe Pass and Freddie Waits, all brilliantly choreographed by master showman/producer/record executive Norman Granz along with Newport producer George Wein. 

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2011 0 comments

Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter's Blue Note debut features the stellar rhythm section of McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Reggie Workman plus Lee Morgan on trumpet. Not a bad way to start a new label debut!

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 01, 2011 1 comments

No one before sang quite like Stevie Wonder  does on this groundbreaking album, but everyone did afterwards. Wonder's tonality and phrasing on Talking Book were breakthroughs in soul/pop vocalizing.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 01, 2011 1 comments

When Frank left Capitol to start his own Reprise label, his old label made a push to reap the old catalogue's financial benefits. Frank fought back by recording in April of 1963 this album of big Capitol hits with arrangements by Nelson Riddle. Sinatra knew the tunes well, laying them all down live with orchestra in two days.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 01, 2011 0 comments

The Cuban born, classically trained jazz pianist Elio Villafranca plays in a lyrical, yet not quite florid style that moves from Latin style fiery and dramatic one moment to deeply introspective and abstract the next.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 01, 2011 0 comments

As the liner notes point out, there’s nothing inauthentic about a Swiss composer conducting a Swiss orchestra performing a ballet written by a Spaniard.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 01, 2011 0 comments

As the liner notes for ISB's self titled debut (Elektra EKS-7322) tell it, in the mid '60s Robin Williamson was singing traditional Scottish ballads, MIke Heron was in an r&b group and Clive Palmer was playing ragtime banjo.

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