Germany-based record company, Nagel-Heyer, has pulled together some of the best from their stable of performers for a compilation built around the blues, Summer blues to be specific. These tracks were culled from albums made between February 1990 and June 1999. Nagel-Heyer has an impressive stable of stars, all of them well-steeped in the jazz and blues tradition. There's Warren Vache and Allan Vache, trumpeter/ vocalist Byron Stripling, preeminent guitarists Howard Alden and Oscar Klein among the many jazzmiesters represented here. There are also a variety of instrumental combinations that perform the music including the swing big band of the late Buck Clayton, a fortuitous combination of jazz veterans mixed with younger players. The album from which this track is taken was cut just before Clayton passed on and is one of his many legacies. His "Black Sheep Blues," which combines outstanding ensemble and solo work, is one of the album's highlights. There are also cuts featuring trios, quartets, septets and other small groups. There's excellent solo track by New Orleans swing guitarist Oscar Klein. Only two vocals are included, Pug Norton on "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues" and Warren Vache on an appropriate lament for Summer, "Too Phat Blues." Since the album is tied to Summer, depressing type blues are avoided while happy, bouncy and occasionally sultry, blues are emphasized. The only downer is the cha-cha-cha version of "St. Louis Blues" by Wycliffe Gordon and company.
All in all, this very good compilation should achieve its objective, i.e., to encourage jazz fans to buy complete albums from which these samples have been harvested.