Swing into SPRING 2001

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    Ella Fitzgerald
    In the late 1930s, buoyant vocalist Ella Fitzgerald finally brought to Chick Webb the widespread success that the drummer and bandleader craved. "Swingsation Series" delivers a nice overview of their partnership, including their biggest hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." 'em here.

    More Ella Fitzgerald 'em here.

    Billie Holiday
    Blending the improvisational sophistication of Louis Armstrong and the gritty blues inflections of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday emerged as one of jazz's most beloved vocalists. "The Quintessential Billie Holiday, Vol.2: 1936" features a 20-year-old Holiday supported by the likes of pianist Teddy Wilson and Ellington altoist Johnny Hodges and interpreting standards like "A Fine Romance." 'em here.

    More Billie Holiday 'em here.

    Bessie's Bed, Bessie's Blues Just as Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings were pivotal in shaping the recorded jazz of the 1920s, so too was Bessie Smith. 'em here.

    "The Collection" is a great one-CD overview of Smith's work, including "Downhearted Blues" and such classics as "Taint Nobody's Bizness If I Do" and the bawdy "Empty Bed Blues." 'em here.

    More Bessie Smith 'em here.


    Benny Goodman
    In the eyes of many, the Benny Goodman Orchestra--and the Swing Era in general--reached its popular apex in January of 1938 with its triumphant appearance at Carnegie Hall. "Live at Carnegie Hall" includes both small-group and full-orchestra numbers, as well as guest shots from Count Basie and friends. 'em here.

    More Benny Goodman 'em here.

    Basie's Dawn
    Among other nuggets of pure gold, "The Best of Early Basie" presents the Count kicking open the session with Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," ending his own rolling solo only when Lester Young steps up. Then there's Jimmy Rushing belting out "Sent for Yesterday," a classic in the big swinging intersection of jazz and blues. Taken from the three-CD "Complete Decca Recordings," this set is tops in every way. 'em here.

    More editor's picks on Verve 'em here.

    Duke Ellington
    As the 1920s became the 1930s, Duke Ellington's compositions became more ambitious and his arrangements became more sophisticated, swinging all the while. "Early Ellington: Complete Brunswick Recordings" offers hits like "Mood Indigo" and "Rockin' in Rhythm," along with the extended piece "Creole Rhapsody." 'em here.

    More Duke Ellington 'em here.


    Ken Burns's Jazz: Charlie Parker
    Alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker was one of bebop's prime movers, a musician who thrived at recasting jazz standards in fast, complex, searing new ways. His tragically short life only fueled the mystique around Bird, creating not only generations of influence, but also a sizable body of important material. Here are some great ways to get to know Charlie Parker. 'em here.

    More Charlie Parker selections 'em here.

    Dizzy Gillespie
    The combination of Charlie Parker's fast, tart alto sax and Dizzy Gillespie's equally fast, fatter trumpet was a one-two punch to contend with. Gillespie's career, caught panoramically on the single-CD Ken Burns collection, has all the bluster, quickness, and cheer that marked so many Dizzy sessions--and drew so many boppers to his side. 'em here.

    More Dizzy Gillespie selections 'em here.

    Thelonious Monk
    Pianist Thelonious Monk helped shape bebop by anchoring the Minton's Playhouse band. But as 1952's "Genius of Modern Music" makes crystal clear, Monk had a unique approach that also set him far apart from bop. Monk's music swings with a tinkered gait, a slight but persistent wobble that entrances. 'em here.

    More Thelonious Monk selections 'em here.


    Swing Jazz Essentials
    It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing! From Kansas City to New York to Hollywood, our Swing Jazz Essentials have blaring big bands, swing measured by the pound, and a mix of recognized classics and underheralded gems. 'em here.

    Bebop Essentials
    To be is to bop: bebop, hard bop, and more from the 1940s forward. Dig the solid moves from cats like Monk, 'Trane, and Bird in our Bebop Essentials. 'em here.

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© 2001, Editor, Andrew Bartlett and ncdn associate.

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reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates