This four-disc box from London's JSP Records collects an astounding 100 songs recorded by John Lee Hooker in Detroit from the years 1948 to 1952, including his first two sides ever, the signature tunes "Boogie Chillen" and "Sally Mae." Most of the tracks here are done solo, with Hooker's ever-present foot-stomping, although a few feature other musicians on loose-limbed blues boogies. Since Hooker never significantly altered his style during his long career, these first recordings set the stage for all that came after, and he arguably never sounded fresher or better. Four discs worth of this throwback Mississippi bluesman will be severe overkill for casual listeners, but diehard Hooker fans will find this box set absolutely essential.
An extension of the popular Original Jazz Classics series (est. 1982), the new OJC Remasters releases reveal the sonic benefits of 24-bit remastering-a technology that didn't exist when these titles were originally issued on compact disc. The addition of newly-written liner notes further enhances the illuminating quality of the OJC Remasters reissues. "Each of the recordings in this series is an all-time jazz classic," says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series.
This is the third and final volume in the complete recordings of Lil Green in chronological order as reissued by the Classics Blues & Rhythm Series. By 1947 Lil Green was beginning to sound more than a little like Ida Cox, even when handling songs from Tin Pan Alley rather than straight up out of the tried and true traditional blues repertoire. Comparisons could also be drawn between Lil Green and Nellie Lutcher or Julia Lee. While her "crossover" performances are worthwhile, there's nothing quite like hearing this woman savor the flavor of Bessie Smith hits like "Aggravatin' Papa," "Outside of That," and "You've Been a Good Old Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)." Green's own "Lonely Woman" has a powerful undercurrent running through it – there is even a remote possibility that Ornette Coleman was inspired by this record when conceiving his own composition of the same title in 1959. Even if the link is purely coincidental, these melodies have something wonderful in common. Green's final recordings for the Victor label are strengthened by the presence of tenor saxophonists Budd Johnson, Lem Johnson, and David Young.
Spanish cellist Pablo Casals ceased performing in 1946 to protest the world's indifference to the oppressive Franco regime then in power in his homeland. The silence of the cellist, then in his 70s, was keenly felt by the millions who loved him. When he returned to concertizing in 1950, at first it was only to honor Bach, who had died two hundred years before. Violinist Alexander Schneider (of the Budapest Quartet) was integral in coaxing Casals out of his silence and in planning what became known as the Prades Bach Festival.