Various Artists

The Jazz Giants Play Harold Arlen: Blues in the Night

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Harold Arlen's songs have such a natural, unforced feeling for jazz and the blues that jazz musicians have long found plenty of room to explore them and take off from there. With marching orders in hand, Fantasy has raided its Riverside, Prestige, Pablo, Contemporary, Galaxy and Milestone archives for a most impressive collection of big names interpreting Arlen in bewilderingly diverse ways. From the young Miles Davis' pathbreaking hard bop "It's Only a Paper Moon" of 1951 to the solo extravaganzas from Art Tatum ("I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues") and Joe Pass ("My Shining Hour"), the late-night elegance of Wes Montgomery's "One for My Baby," a lively exchange between Bill Perkins and Bud Shank on "Out of This World," and the emerging ideas of John Coltrane's "Come Rain or Come Shine," the CD accomplishes its mission on a very high musical level. The above-mentioned musicians' distinguished discmates include Red Garland, Count Basie, Milt Jackson, André Previn, Art Pepper, Bill Evans and Dizzy Gillespie. As usual with this series, not a singer is to be heard (unlike, say, Verve's vocalist-heavy songbook packages), and collectors of these artists should know that all of these tracks have been reissued on CD elsewhere.

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