Various Artists

Aurex Jazz Festival '81: All Star Jam Session

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This anthology LP contains excerpts from several concerts recorded during a September 1981 tour of Japan by a rotating cast of all-stars. While some of the musicians had previously worked together, it was clearly a jam session that came out quite well in all instances. Freddie Hubbard is heard leading a quartet with Roland Hanna, Ray Brown, and Art Blakey (who provide the rhythm section on most tracks, while occasionally omitting Hanna), performing "Crisis" and a stimulating take of "A Night in Tunisia." Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer had toured and recorded together on many occasions, so their great playing on "Bernie's Tune" is no surprise. Hanna's piano takes over for Brookmeyer during Mulligan's warm tribute to Billy Strayhorn, "Song for Strayhorn." Milt Jackson's bluesy take of "What Am I Here For?" is a treat, as is his interaction with Stan Getz on "The Girl From Ipanema." Solo features include Brown's lively medley from the Ellington songbook and Hanna's upbeat "Time for the Dancers." The entire cast joins forces for a crowd-pleasing workout of Jackson's "Bag's Groove." Because this Japanese LP seems to have had limited distribution worldwide, it may be rather difficult to locate, but it is well worth the effort.

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