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William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have often said that if someone is interested in getting into jazz one good way would be to buy a copy of Kind of Blue, then start collecting sides by each of the musicians on it as leaders. In fact, just finding sides featuring any of that Quintet's members would also work pretty well, and actually you could do worse than to just start exploring recordings issued by the labels that those cats appeared on: a shelf full of Blue Notes or Verve or..... well, it is a rich field. I listen to a lot of stuff, but when it comes right down to it, post-war jazz, and particularly the jazz from the mid to late 50's is music I can just slip into as comfortably as anything else. Before me is Arthur Taylor's first recording as a leader. Although Taylor recorded prolifically with others, he only made five disks as a leader, in 1956, 1959, 1960, and 1991 and 1992. The '92 side, Wailin' At The Vanguard, has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it, which, come to think of it, was around the time it was issued. The disk I'm listening to now (Prestige 7117), is amazing. It holds one cut from a March 22, 1957 session that I'd love to hear more of-- Jimmy Heath's "C.T.A.", featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland and Paul Chambers. The rest of the set features Donald Byrd, Jackie McLean, pre-Monk Charlie Rouse, Ray Bryant and Wendell Marshall. This is the first band-- as opposed to solo-- recording of Monk's "Off Minor", and there is a nifty version of "Well, You Needn't" as well. The whole thing is a pleasure, one of those recordings that can just send you off on a listening binge.

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