Dobbin's Den

December 2004

Hard to believe but it's that time again. In the "Buy Canadian" department we have new seasonal CDs including "Noel en Jazz" by Bernard Primeau, a 4th "Justin Time For Christmas" featuring Carmen Lundy, Hank Jones, Ranee Lee, Oliver Jones, et al. The same label has "Noel en Harmonie" by a Michel Donato trio. Donato also has "…et Ses Amis Europeens". Another bassist, the late Skip Bey, has a wonderful, "Live at Quartier Latin". In the piano department try Oscar Peterson's "A Night In Vienna" also available as a DVD and "Hush" featuring Mike Murley is a debut for Holly Arsenault. Guitarist Peter Leitch is superb on "Autobiography". More for the saxophone lover, "Mandala", is a not to be missed release by Joel Miller while Kevin Dean's Organ Band, "Live at Upstairs" has sparks from Murley and John Nugent. In what used to be the "odd instruments for jazz" category there's "According To Gordie", a wonderful collection of the work of the late bebop accordionist Gordie Fleming, "Transparency" by violinist Lenny Solomon, "Amerikois" by vibe playing Jean Vanasse and "Road Ragas" on which Harry Manx brings out the Mohan Veena.

From South of the border there's a wonderful seasonal CD "The Secret of Christmas" by Connie Evingson, Eric Reed's "Merry Magic" and a Verve compilation, "Christmas for Lovers" that includes tracks by Ella, Mel Torme, Oscar Peterson and Joe Williams. High on any list should be Maria Schneider's "Concert In The Garden", baritone saxophonist Claire Daly's Heaven Help Us", Keith Jarrett's "The Out-of-Towners", singer Bob Dorough's "Sunday at Iridium" and for blues fans, "Slingshot Professionals" by Kelly Jo Phelps. Box sets are always nice, there's "The Complete Improv Recordings" of Tony Bennett and, from England, the affordable the Proper Box label series. Their newer 4 CD sets include boxes by Bessie Smith, Mel Torme, Charles Mingus, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter, Fats Waller and an anthology called "The Arranger's Touch". Earlier sets include "Bebop Spoken Here", a chronological look at that era, Coleman Hawkins' "The Bebop Years", valuable sets by Lennie Tristano and (for the big band fancier) sets by Basie, Herman and Kenton. There are also sets by Art Tatum, Nat Cole and George Shearing. Then there are saxophone sets by Wardell Gray, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Charlie Ventura and Ben Webster plus a wonderful set by Machito for the Latin lover and a history of jazz guitar can be found on "Hittin' On All Six". In the Proper Pair series you can find doubles by the likes of Ted Heath, Lucky Millinder, Brubeck, Ray Charles, June Christy, Mulligan, Kay Starr, Jay McShann, The Ravens, Art Pepper and Stuff Smith. In their single CD "Introduction" series, Proper has items by Cab Calloway, Miles Davis, Gene Krupa, Sonny Criss and Peggy Lee.

Then there's DVDs including a Gospel Christmas with Ray Charles, a live recording of "A Love Supreme" by Branford Marsalis that also includes a CD and Lennie Tristano's superb solo outing, "The Copenhagen Concert". Then there are books and I would suggest "Living With Jazz" by Dan Morganstern, a reader of items from the head of the Institute of Jazz Studies" at Rutgers, and, closer to home, Nancy Marrelli's "Stepping Out: The Golden Age of Montreal Night Clubs" complete with photos, menus, post cards of pre-Drapeau Montreal nightlife. Try and get an early start

© Len Dobbin 2004
Montreal, Quebec, Canada