A Famous Jazz Party - 1958

Charlie Shavers

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A Famous Jazz Party - 1958 Review

by Thom Jurek

The two CDs in this collection reflect three episodes of Art Ford's Jazz Party from WNTA television in September and October of 1958 starring co-headliners Charlie Shavers and Coleman Hawkins. The last session on Disc Two is an "All-Star Jam session" from either late '58 or early '59. In all cases, the bands revolve around big bands comprised of the two leaders, as well as Henry "Red" Allen, Cootie Williams, Lester Young, Pee Wee Russell, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Lil Greenwood, Billy Taylor, Jimmy Rushing, Jo Jones, Rex Stewart, John Higinbotham, Milt Hinton, Buster Bailey, and many others. The four jam sessions featured here all showcased different bands, but the spirit and quality of the music on these sides is nothing less that top-notch. The music is carefree, competitive, and hot throughout, while the tunes are classics such as "I Just Can't Get Started With You," and "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid," or old New Orleans nuggets like "St. James Infirmary," "Basin Street Blues," or the "Bugle Call Rag." This is classic jazz played by acknowledged and celebrated masters who have nothing to prove to anyone except themselves. It is moving, raucous, and full of wild, joyful abandon, and should be picked up by anyone interested in these players or the music of their era.

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