Various Artists

A Tribute to Carl Jefferson

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Carl Jefferson, who passed away in 1995, made a very strong impact on the jazz world. After a successful career as a used-car dealer, Jefferson founded the Concord Jazz Festival in 1969, was the main person responsible for the Concord Pavilion being built in 1975, and in the mid-'70s founded the Concord label, for whom he produced over 500 records that set the standard for mainstream jazz. On July 8, 1995 a marathon six-hour, five-set concert was performed in Jefferson's memory at the Concord Pavilion. Around 60 different major musicians participated (generally playing one or two songs apiece), and this four-CD set is the result. Although not every Concord artist was able to make it to the unique event (which they all played for free), the lineup is quite outstanding. Some of the highlights of the 40 selections taken from the event include Toskiho Akiyoshi's rendition of "Count Your Blessings," singer Eden Atwood backed by trumpeter Randy Sandke on "Centerpiece," Susannah McCorkle's "They Can't Take That Away From Me," Karrin Allyson romping through "Yardbird Suite," Rob McConnell's strutting version of "On The Sunny Side Of The Street," cornetist Ruby Braff playing beautifully on "The Very Thought Of You" and Rickey Woodard's "Tippin' The Jug." Acoustic guitarist Laurindo Almeida, in what would be his last recording (and next-to-last concert), is heard on four short pieces (including two with Charlie Byrd). Since there were many other Concord artists who wanted to pay tribute to Carl Jefferson, the package concludes with nine performances taped on other occasions, including a Ken Peplowski-Howard Alden duet on "It Had To Be You" and appearances by Rosemary Clooney, Poncho Sanchez and Marian McPartland. The final number was the only previously issued selection, but it is quite fitting -- Mel Torme singing "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Highly recommended.