Various Artists

Jazz Celebration: A Tribute to Carl Jefferson

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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden

The late Carl Jefferson was instrumental in getting the Concord Pavilion built, founding the Concord Jazz Festival, and building Concord Jazz into one of the major independent jazz labels from the time he got it underway in 1972 to his death in 1995. Scores of artists who had recorded for him donated their time to perform at a memorial concert on July 8, 1995, naturally, at the Concord Pavilion. This four-CD set contains all the music from the concert, except for Mel Martin's first chorus of "Like Someone in Love," which he played into the wrong microphone. Highlights include several numbers featuring guitarist Laurindo Almeida, who passed away just weeks later; dazzling piano solos by Adam Makowicz, Denny Zeitlin, and Walter Norris; and a show-stopping finale by the Gene Harris Quartet. Artists such as Marian McPartland, Ken Peplowski & Howard Alden, Rosemary Clooney, and a few others who weren't able to perform due to schedule conflicts or illness also taped special tracks in the studio following the concert for this release. Only Dennis Rowland's labored and overly long rendition of "Wild Women (Don't Have the Blues)" fails to stand up to the rest of the music within this powerful set, and only one track, a song from a 1992 Mel Tormé concert in Japan, has appeared previously. This unique set is a great way to honor Concord's founder and is highly recommended.

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