When Carl Jefferson established his Concord record label in the early '70s, he emphasized primarily West Coast swing-to-bop icons, and gave them an outlet to record music as they pleased. It lasted for two full decades, a testament to the continued viability of the music. This fortified the careers of many an aging superstar, and also allowed them to collaborate with each other. As Norman Granz was doing much the same at the time with Pablo Records, it gave the two labels a healthy chance to compete, and the traditional mainstream jazz world was all the better for it. The 14 selections on this collection show off many of those swinging combinations, with emphasis on guitarist Herb Ellis and cornetist Ruby Braff, who lead four tracks apiece. Guitarists Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, and Laurindo Almeida also each get a feature, while bassist Ray Brown and drummer Jake Hanna are leaders, but mostly appear as sidemen. Trumpet master Harry "Sweets" Edison, who worked with both Concord and Pablo (so did Brown, for that matter), is also here and sounds great, even in his golden days. Jefferson must be given credit for buoying a sagging vintage jazz era, and this compilation is a great indicator of how he did it, and with whom.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos