Various Artists

Birmingham Jazz Festival, Vol. 3

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Birmingham Jazz Festival, Vol. 3 is the last of three volumes of music recorded at the 1960 Birmingham Jazz Festival (a festival unheard of since then). The album casts Toots Thielemans as the main star. He performs three standards and a blues tune on harmonica and guitar with occasional whistling, while backed by Junior Mance's trio. This set ends with the 13-and-a-half minute version of "I Got Rhythm," which closed the festival. That jam was a good excuse to bring back all of the musicians who performed that day, including tenor-saxophonist Sandy Mosse, vibraphonist Lem Winchester, violinist Joe Kennedy, Thielemans, three pianists, bassist Nick Fiore, and two drummers. The only slight minus to this set is the relatively brief playing time (38 minutes) but that is all there was and at least the recording quality is excellent. Bebop and straight-ahead jazz collectors will enjoy all 22 performances in this worthy series.

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