For me, there are few things as enjoyable as sitting around with a close friend for a few hours listening intently to superbly mastered jazz recordings. Yesterday, Terry Teachout stopped over with a few gems and I, of course, had a bunch for him.
Terry and I try to get together a few times each year to review our most recent jazz finds—and yesterday was no exception. I suppose the exercise can only be called the musical equivalent of bird watching.
We listen for things in artists and sidemen we didn't notice before (Jo Jones' shimmery brushwork, for example, on Benny Carter's Further Definitions) or discover a fresh appreciation for artists or recordings we haven't heard in some time (Coleman Hawkins' smoky late-50s period for Verve Records).
These days, Terry is busy writing the definitive biography of Louis Armstrong, Hotter Than That, so he always has terrific jazz stories to tell. He also has a superb ear.
Terry brought along two wonderful CDs—a rare, 8-minute recording of Erroll Garner's The Man I Love (for Columbia Records in 1956), and an advance copy of a four-disc box of Billie Holiday's Columbia hot-transfer masters. Both were spectacular.
Here's a list of the other tracks we listened to, in order of play. All are highly recommended:
(Teddy Wilson, "The Impeccable Mr. Wilson," Japanese Verve)
It's the Talk of the Town
(Erroll Garner, "Portrait," TIM Germany)
Everything Happens to Me
(Bud Powell, "Complete 1946-1949 Roost Masters," Definitive Records)
Violets for Your Furs
(Matt Dennis, "Plays and Sings," Victor Japan)
There Will Never Be Another You
(Lester Young, "With the Oscar Peterson Trio," Verve)
Used to Be Basie
(Harry Edison and Ben Webster, "Sweets," Verve)
Like Someone in Love
(Coleman Hawkins, "The Genius of Coleman Hawkins," Verve)
Lullaby in Rhythm
(Lucky Thompson, "Complete Vogue Recordings, Vol 1," BMG France)
I'm Alone With You
(Jimmie Lunceford, "Une Anthology," Nocturne France)
(Benny Carter, "Further Definitions," Impulse)
The Gentle Art of Love
(Oscar Pettiford, "Complete Big Band Studio Recordings," Lone Hill Jazz)
(Bud Freeman, "Chicago/Austin High School Jazz in Hi Fi," Mosaic Singles)
(Benny Goodman, "Big Band in Europe Vol 3," Yale University Music Masters)
(Lennie Tristano, "Intuition," Capitol)
(Sarah Vaughn, "After Hours at the London House," Mercury)
R and R Groove
(Ronnell Bright, "Jazz in Paris," Gitanes)