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Bird on 52nd Street
Bird on 52nd Street
Price: $10.99
60 used & new from $1.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sound so bad you'll beg for mercy, September 28, 2006
This review is from: Bird on 52nd Street (Audio CD)
As other reviewers note, the sound quality of these live recordings are pretty poor, and -- as great as Charlier Parker is on many of these solos -- it's really a chore to sit through them. For the beginning Bird fan, I would start with one of the excellent collections of his Savoy and Dial recordings, move onto his Verve recordings, and then sample some of his better "live" recordings, which are:

- The Town Hall concert with Dizzy Gillsepie
- The Massey Hall recordings, again with Dizzy
- The Complete Savoy Live recordings

"Bird on 52nd Street" should be on your shopping list only if you've tapped out all the other sources of both studio and live Charlier Parker.

Of course, it's Bird, so even horribly recorded, it merits a few stars. But don't torture yourself with this.

The Blues Roar
The Blues Roar
11 used & new from $14.77

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic "early Maynard" with a great band, September 16, 2006
This review is from: The Blues Roar (Audio CD)
The LP version of this has long been one of my favorite "early Maynard" records from the early 60's. It's been re-released twice on CD but appears to be out of print as I write this.

Originally this was released in 1964 as "The Blues Roar" on LP and again on LP in the early 70's as "Screamin' Blues" (the cover of this LP has the photo reversed and shows Maynard using his *left* hand to finger the valves on his trumpet). As a CD, it was re-released once on Mainstream in the early 90's and again on an audiophile version for Mobile Fidelity Labs.

There are some stellar sidemen on this recording; based on the names I've always assumed this was recorded in New York since most of these folks played and lived in the New York studios. Sidemen include: Jimmy Nottingham and Bernie Glow on trumpet; Barry Galbraith on guitar; Mel Lewis on drums; Urbie Green on trombone; Willie Maiden, Lanny Morgan and Charlie Mariano on saxophone; Mike Abene on Piano; Richard Davis on bass.

The arrangements here are excellent -- apparently they were written by Mike Abene, Don Sebesky, and Willie Maiden. Many of the tracks feature two french horns (credited to Ray Alonge and Jimmy Buffington); and tubist Don Butterfield has a key part on "Night Train" (the Jimmy Forrest standard).

This is definitely worth tracking down if you are interested in the NY phase of Maynard's career...along with "Birdland Dream Band" it's one of my favorite early Maynard releases.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2011 2:22 PM PDT

M.F.Horn 2 & The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson
M.F.Horn 2 & The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson
14 used & new from $19.98

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The "MF Horn 2" tracks are required listening; the rest is a bit dated, September 12, 2006
Maynard Ferguson's late 60's and 70's LPs have been re-released as CD's in a rather haphazard way but at least his most important LP's of the period are finally making it to CD. If you are Maynard collector, you need to have this CD because it contains some of the key tracks that helped revive Maynard's career in the early 70's.

This CD consists of the music from two different LP's out of the four LP's that Maynard recorded for British Columbia, largely with a British band, during 1968-72, when he was living in the UK.

One of the LP's included here is the first LP Maynard recorded during his 4-year stint in Britain, called "The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson." It was recorded in 1969 and is included on this CD as tracks 9 through 19.

The second LP included on this CD is the real gem here -- the LP was called "MF Horn 2," and it was the 4th LP that Maynard recorded with a British band (recorded in 1972). "MF Horn 2" is represented here as tracks 1 through 8.

The difference between the two is pretty striking (see comments below), and you really can mark the resurgence in Maynard's career by noting the difference between the two.

By now, the schedule of Maynard LP re-releases has gotten totally confusing. To clear up the early 70's chronology (as near as I can tell), the order of his LP's and their CD re-release status is like this:
- Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson (included here)
- MF Horn (now out on CD - get it)
- Maynard Ferguson (now out on CD - get it)
- MF Horn 2 (included here)
- MF Horn 3 (which has been released by the same British label that did this)
- Live at Jimmy's, aka MF Horn 4 & 5 (which has been packaged with the MF Horn 3 CD re-release.).
- Then finally "Chameleon," which has been out for awhile on CD (get it). That takes Maynard up to the mid-70's, and generally most of his work after that has been available for some time.

So, the key tracks on this CD -- the "MF Horn 2" tracks 1 through 8 -- fall right in the middle of Maynard's mid-career revival and are, indeed, required listening to Maynard devotees. They're representative of his early 70's style -- mostly pop/rock standards of the day done in a jazz/rock/pop hybrid style with a lot of horns, a lot of bass, and lots of screamin' soloing by Maynard.

"Give it One," the opener on this CD, is a Maynard classic, and a staple of his live concerts in the 70's, along with "Hey Jude," the final cut of the MF Horn 2 album. "Spinning Wheel" is an interesting arrangement of a pop classic; as is "Shaft".

So, any guesses why these two albums were laid down on this CD in reverse chronological order? I think it's because the 1969 ballad tracks are such snoozers that it would have been too jarring to put them first on the CD. As a result, the way this CD is arranged, you have 8 pretty lively tracks first and then suddenly at track 9 this CD falls into a deep sleep that's a bit jarring.

True, it's great to hear Maynard cut loose on some pop ballads (esp. Maria and Somewhere), and his high-register playing is, as usual, completely amazing. But the arrangements are so sickly-sweet, and the song choice so dated, that it really is hard to listen to most of the ballad tracks more than once. It's for trumpet geeks only, I'm afraid, and even for them it can be hard slog to sit through.

- This is not the best place to start an early 70's Maynard collection (I would start w/"Maynard Ferguson," "Chameleon," or the new "MF Horn 3" & "Live at Jimmy's" two-CD set that is promised soon).
- If you are out to get a complete set of Maynard, of course, you have to own the MF Horn 2 tracks, and they are worth the price of admission here.

Think of this as a required purchase of MF Horn 2 and the other tracks are thrown in for free.

My final rating is a mix: kudos to the record company for prying away the rights from Columbia to get this re-issued; 10 stars for some god-like trumpet playing; 5 stars for "Give it One" alone; and some heavy penalty points for some of the ballad tracks.

Finally: R.I.P. Maynard -- a great musician, a great educator, and a great entertainer.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2013 9:59 AM PDT

Zoot at Ease
Zoot at Ease
Price: $15.00
40 used & new from $7.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great tenor and soprano sax, June 30, 2006
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This review is from: Zoot at Ease (Audio CD)
The opening track, "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" is worth the price of a CD alone. Prior to this I'd only heard Zoot Sims on tenor, but his soprano sax playing here is wonderful. This album also features Hank Jones, piano; Milt Hinton, bass; and Grady Tate and Louie Bellson on drums -- all notable jazz stars in their own right.

Originally this was recorded on the independent Famous Door label in 1973; it's re-released here with bonus alternate takes that are as excellent as the master tracks that were recorded.

This is terrific, straight-ahead small combo jazz performed by masters. Like all of Zoot's best music, it swings quietly but very very hard; he has such an innate sense of phrasing and rhythm that he's always a joy to listen to. Highly recommended.

The Complete Pacific Jazz Sessions
The Complete Pacific Jazz Sessions
Price: $11.99
42 used & new from $5.49

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute jazz classic, June 19, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
What an amazing record -- I first discovered this music on vinyl years ago after hearing the several classic collaborations between the arranger Gil Evans and trumper Miles Davis. If you have admired the Gil Evans arrangements on the Miles recordings, you owe it to yourself to check this out. These recordings help make the case that Gil Evans was one of great jazz arrangers of all time. Big band arrangements can sometimes degenerate into all-out blastfests; Gil Evans always manages to communicate with a lot more sophistication and nuance, but on these sessions he manages to have fun as well.

Originally issued as two albums -- "New Bottle, Old Wine" and "Great Jazz Standards" -- this is a CD of Gil Evans re-arranging classic jazz standards like St. Louis Blues, King Porter Stomp, Lester Leaps In with some post-bop standards like 'Round Midnight, Joy Spring and Straight No Chaser.

The album was recorded in 1958 and 1959 with Julian "Cannonball" Adderley doing much of the alto saxophone work. The big band included classic NY session pros like Johnny Coles and Ernie Royal on trumpet, and Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Cleveland and Curtis Fuller on trombone. Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakely and Elvin Jones make appearances in the rhythm section, and Steve Lacy plays soprano sax on 4 tracks.

It's so interesting to be listening to these records nearly 50 years after they were made -- this was a "modern" take on jazz tunes that even then were considered classics. Hearing them now, it's like listening to one set of Old Masters interpreting an even more distant set of Old Old Masters. It's a CD that you can enjoy as a peek into modern jazz of the late 50's, or as a set of very interesting big band orchestrations.

High recommended if you want to learn more about this extremely talented jazz orchestrator.

No Title Available

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Quality Review of F1, June 6, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This British magazine is a little (well, more than a little)pricey but it's an excellent, high quality review of F1 events, people, and races. It arrives in the US about one race late -- so it's not the best place to get the "news," but the editorial staff does a great job staying on top of current F1 developments, rule changes, driver changes, and other controversies, so it still feels very current.

Overall it has the look, feel and content of a big budget production. Very good editorial content and great photos.

Western Digital My Book Premium 500GB USB/FW 400 Ext Hard Drive
Western Digital My Book Premium 500GB USB/FW 400 Ext Hard Drive
Offered by Sab Computer
Price: $166.39
6 used & new from $32.25

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely simple to set up, June 3, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After a distressing hard drive failure a couple of years ago, I've been hyper about backups (and backups of my backups...) for home data. I recently purchased this to backup my music and photo files and so far it's been great. It is extremely easy to set up; you plug it in, load the software, ask it to update your music and photo files, and off it goes. For me, the first backup of 80GB of music and photos took about 90 minutes.

It's also an extremely rugged piece -- a nice solid metal case that is heavy enough to stay put on your desktop (I have an older, lighter firewire drive that is always getting pushed around...this WD drive is definitely going to stay put where it is).

The only thing I don't like about it is that the documentation is pretty skimpy, and the WD website didn't seem to have a lot about this hard drive on it. I guess if I have no problems with it I won't miss the documentation, but I would feel better if there were a little more information readily available.

Mexico City (Moon Mexico City)
Mexico City (Moon Mexico City)
by Joe Cummings
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $0.01

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with this guide book, April 17, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Although this book is now almost 4 years old, it is still the best Mexico City-only guide I could find. The text information on sites, restaurants, hotels, etc. is generally excellent, and held up well during my recent trip to Mexico City. Some of the maps and graphics could be updated, but generally I found this to be a reliable, entertaining and useful book. I'd recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Mexico City unless and until something better comes along.

Sylvania DOT-it Orange Self-Adhesive Bright White Orange LED Light
Sylvania DOT-it Orange Self-Adhesive Bright White Orange LED Light

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very handy light, April 2, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Our neighborhood suffers short, frequent power outages and we never seem to have a flashlight in the right place at the right time. I bought several of these to stick underneath cabinets in a couple of places so we will *always* know where we have temporary lighting the next time the power goes out (and, yes, I know that I could also do a better job of keeping track of our flashlights but it seems to me that all flashlights that enter our home are pre-destined to disappear within 10 days, along with scissors, scotch tape, postage stamps, one glove from each pair, etc.)

These lights really fit the bill -- they give out just enough light in our kitchen to allow us to root around for flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, etc. I also put one in a dark corner of our garage where I can never see my tools, and I imagine they would work well in closets, storage areas, etc. For the price, they're well made and extremely handy.

One note -- some other reviewers here have noted that their lights didn't work out of the box. There is a little plastic tab (more like a piece of tape) protruding from the bottom of the light that is marked something like 'remove before using.' The tab has to be removed before the light will work; the tab appears to be a mechanism for preventing the lights from getting turned on during shipping and handling, but it's not obvious when you open the case that you have to remove the little tab.

No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very easy to set up, December 17, 2005
This is a great piece and does exactly what it's supposed to. It was extremely easy to set up. I chose to set it up using iTunes as my music server and once I had the Roku plugged into to my (wired) home network configuring it to work with iTunes took about 30 seconds.

I especially like the way it supports Internet radio through iTunes -- once you read 3 or 4 sentences of instructions, you can build a playlist of Internet radio stations via itunes and then you have 20 Internet stations at your fingertips via Roku.

I previously owned a Netgear MP101 music player, which I liked a lot, but the Roku was even easier to set up, easier to use, and is much more flexible.

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