Anyone who listens through the previous six volumes of Red Norvo on Classics will likely experience a visceral sense of excitement from 1943 onward as Norvo switches from xylophone to vibraphone and adopts a noticeably modern attitude toward the music. Norvo underwent a profound artistic transformation in 1944-1945, his many years of experience enabling him to settle into a new role as established recording artist and bandleader with an open-minded respect for young artists bearing new ideas. Norvo's remarkable skills as an improviser coupled with a willingness to participate in what music critics call the bop revolution often placed him squarely within the eye of the rapidly evolving cultural hurricane of modern music. This seventh album in the Norvo chronology delivers an unprecedented dosage of top-notch jazz, documenting the historical swing-to-bop phenomenon in 16 wonderful tracks. With five Keynote sides, two V-Discs, and an epochal meeting with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, topped off by Norvo's Nonet/Quintet set at the fabulous 1945 Town Hall Jazz Concert, this is by far the best volume in the Classics chronology of his recorded works, and might very well be the greatest all-purpose Red Norvo album ever released to the public.
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