NANCY WILSON – THE EARLY YEARS 1956-62
Nancy Wilson is one of the finest vocalists to emerge in the post-war era to take over the mantle of great jazz, cabaret and pop singers such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee, and compete with them on their own terms. Achieving her early recognition in the era when the long-playing stereo album was becoming a universal format, she was always primarily an album artist, especially with her focus being as much on jazz and easy listening as the pure pop market, although she had chart success in the pop, R&B and adult contemporary markets from the '60s through to the '90s. This collection takes a thorough look at the formative years of her career, comprising as it does her complete performances on five LPs - Like In Love, recorded in 1956 when she was just 19, Something Wonderful, The Swinging's Mutual with jazz pianist George Shearing, the equally jazz-oriented Nancy Wilson With Cannonball Adderley, and Hello Young Lovers. In addition, it includes an early single with R&B artist Rusty Bryant, two of her singles from 1960 and a couple of very jazzy 'live' performances from 1961. It showcases the breadth and distinctiveness of her talent, and her sophisticated artistry even in these early days, as she delivers material across the jazz, blues and pop spectrum.
QUINCY JONES AND HIS ORCHESTRA – LIVE IN LUDWIGSHAFEN 1961
The Ludwigshafen Experience allows further insight into the artistic inner life of Jone's superb and uncommonly vital orchestra. The team consisted of a number of young luminaries of the time: trumpeters such as Freddie Hubbard and Benny Bailey, saxophonists such as Sahib Shihab. The program included evergreens like Summertime and compositions like Stolen Moments that were to become such. The mood on stage was relaxed, if only because the orchestra was hailed in Europe as a groundbreaking big band. There are experts who believe that this short phase was for Quincy Jones his best as a jazz musician. The Ludwigshafen Experience only lends support to this judgement.
WEATHER REPORT - LIVE IN OFFENBACH 1978
By September of 1978 Weather Report's headlining status afforded them the opportunity to play a very long set amounting to two hours in length. Given the previous year's success with the poll winning Heavy Weather album one might have expected them to concentrate on this more or less exclusively, but instead, fans were treated to material from right across the bands career and solo spots by everybody. Black Market opens this concert and straight away it's apparent that the energy level is high and the relaxed pace of the studio version has been superseded by a slightly faster tempo. An explosive tenor and drum duet by Shorter and Erskine also forms part of this and must have surely put an end to the feeling in some quarters at the time that the saxophonist was no longer at his best. Also on board were flamboyant electric bassist Jaco Pastorius, a genuine innovator, and newly arrived drummer Peter Erskine a master technician brought into the group to add more of a jazz feel. Joe Zawinul was keen to stress that Weather Reports music was their music, a product of the group's identity, and not simply jazz-rock akin to that of many bands of the time. Although he was known for his strong opinions it's clear that no other group mixed improvisation, formal structures and electronics quite like them. One night in Germany is clear proof of this.