Various Artists

It Happened in...Pescara (1969-1989)

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This two-CD set compiles a wide cross-section of artists who performed during the annual jazz festival held in Pescara, Italy, between 1969 and 1989, though the audio sources sound like a combination of low-grade broadcasts and recorders either on-stage or in the audience. There are some memorable performances in spots, including the Bill Evans Trio's rendition of "So What," a reunion of Red Norvo and Tal Farlow ("All of Me"), a fine duet by trombonist J.J. Johnson and bassist Richard Davis ("Blues for Two"), the duo piano interpretation of "All the Things You Are" by John Lewis and Kenny Barron, and the Phil Woods Quintet with Tom Harrell playing the trumpeter's "Opaline." A jam session from 1972 with a rare meeting between Ben Webster and Charles Mingus is disappointing, as the tenor saxophonist sounds tired, while the excessive amount of Chet Baker is from a muffled audience recording. Evidently none of these tracks appear on other releases, but due to the mediocre audio, this double-disc anthology is more of a historical curiosity than an essential purchase.

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