Released here for the first time, 2016's Larry Young in Paris: The ORTF Recordings is something of a lost treasure rediscovered. Recorded while the Newark, New Jersey-born pianist/organist Larry Young was living in France from 1964-1965, these recordings were broadcast once on French public radio and then archived for decades. As a listening experience, The ORTF Recordings are a revelation, showcasing the innovative Young (who died tragically in 1978 at age 38) and his group of equally youthful and talented musicians, including 19-year-old Newark trumpeter Woody Shaw.
Recorded the same week as Getz/Gilberto '76, Resonance Records' companion album, 2016's Moments in Time, captures saxophonist Stan Getz performing live at San Francisco's Keystone Korner in May 1976. To celebrate the release of Getz's reunion album with Brazilian singer/guitarist João Gilberto, 1976's The Best of Two Worlds, the saxophonist booked a week of shows at the Keystone backed by his quartet and featuring Gilberto. Whereas Getz/Gilberto '76 showcases the Gilberto performances, Moments in Time finds Getz appearing alone with his band, featuring pianist Joanne Brackeen, drummer Billy Hart, and bassist Clint Houston. Despite the wealth and fame he accumulated from his initial 1960s bossa nova albums, Getz remained a creatively restless, forward-thinking artist over the coming years.
Having reunited for 1976's The Best of Two Worlds, saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian singer/guitarist João Gilberto celebrated the album's release with a week of shows at San Francisco's Keystone Corner. Marking over a decade since the pair had made history with 1964's landmark Getz/Gilberto album, the shows, which took place between May 11-16, 1976, would prove one of the rare times they appeared live together. Resonance Records' 2016 album, Getz/Gilberto '76 (and the separate release Moments in Time), documents these shows via live recordings made by Keystone Korner club owner Todd Barkan.
By any measure, Resonance's 2019 box Hittin' the Ramp: The Early Years (1936-1943) is a monumental achievement in musical preservation. Over the course of seven CDs (or 10 LPs), Hittin' the Ramp chronicles the earliest recordings of Nat King Cole, rounding up every known track from the days prior to his time at Capitol Records. Those records for Capitol – sessions that found him slowly transitioning from a swinging jazz pianist to smooth pop crooner – were what brought Cole lasting fame, but the sides on Hittin' the Ramp lie at the foundation of his music.
Considering the legendary bassist Scott LaFaro released no albums as a leader and was known strictly as a sideman, that this recording exists is nothing less than a miracle, and an event in the annals of jazz. It consists of a brief program featuring five selections with the equally brilliant pianist Don Friedman and drummer Pete La Roca, a long rehearsal tape of "My Foolish Heart" with the Bill Evans Trio circa 1966, a 1966 interview about LaFaro with Evans, and a solo piano piece from Friedman done in 1985. So while only half of the disc faithfully features LaFaro's deep and honest bass playing, it is more than worthwhile to finally hear.
This new 2-CD set of 1967 studio and live recordings of Sonny Rollins is given first class treatment with interviews, detailed histories, and commentaries with photographs in an included 98-page booklet. Discovered poorly labeled in the Dutch Jazz Archives, these performances are fiery and powerful. His Dutch bassist Ruud Jacobs and drummer Han Bennink, who while accomplished, wondered how they would manage, yet they met the challenge brilliantly; Rollins gave them plenty of opportunity to solo and explore. Rollin's himself at age 89 had a hand in the production with Zev Feldman, and his interview is included. Aidan Levy, Rollin's biographer, provided notes and full analysis of each tune. Comments on the choice of saxophone manufacturer and mouthpieces were interesting and unusual.
At 74, American saxophonist Charles Lloyd stands more creatively tall and publically esteemed than at any time since his midlife comeback after a two-decade sabbatical. These two New York shows are from his first celebrity years, in 1965, with Hungarian guitarist Gábor Szabó (Lloyd’s former partner in Chico Hamilton’s band), Miles Davis bassist Ron Carter, and the hard-hitting former Sonny Rollins drummer Pete La Roca. Lloyd’s enduring interest in Hungarian music probably began with Szabó, and the guitarist’s brittle, jangling sound often resembles that of a cimbalom or dulcimer on these six long tracks.
Rare Wes Montgomery material is hard to come by. Not counting Willow Weep for Me, the posthumous LP Verve issued in 1968 not long after the guitarist's passing, there was Resonance's 2012 set Echoes of Indiana Avenue, which contained largely live performances from 1957 and 1958. In the Beginning, released three years after Echoes, draws from a similar well of unreleased recordings, offering a heavy dose of live material along with five sides produced by Quincy Jones at Columbia Studios in 1955, plus three tracks a session at Spire Records in Fresno, California in 1949.
A rare meeting of guitarist Wes Montgomery and the trio of pianist Wynton Kelly – heard here on unissued material that stands strongly next to their classic Smoking At The Half Note album on Verve! About half the tracks here just feature Kelly's trio – but that's A-Ok with us, as the group is wonderful – a luminous unit that features Ron McClure on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums – both players who showcase the maturing style of Wynton's piano work – a great mix of lyricism that stretches out beautifully on the album's longer tracks! Montgomery joins in about a third into the set, and the tunes get even sharper and groovier – as Wes' tones ring out strongly next to the piano, often opening up Kelly with even more chromatic hues. The whole thing is very well-recorded, and beautifully remastered.
Resonance's Slick! Live at Oil Can Harry's presents recordings made on September 5, 1975 at the Vancouver, British Columbia club Oil Can Harry's. Grant Green spent much of his final years on the road, but after he left Blue Note in 1974 he wasn't recorded much: just two other records, both studio sessions. Slick! represents his latest-known live recording, and it undercuts the conventional wisdom that the guitarist frittered away his final years.