Herbie Mann

Original Album Series

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Herbie Mann's discography is pretty vast, as he was among the most heavily recorded crossover jazz artists of his generation. It's amazing how long it has taken for so many of his best albums to weasel their way into the digital format. Anyone looking for a substantial yet affordable taste of The Mann's most rewarding work from the '60s and early '70s really ought to consider this installment in Rhino/Warner's Original Album Series. Released in 2011, the five-CD box set is remarkably low on chaff and boasts a lineup of legendary artists that is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows. It just so happens that the producers of this time capsule chose five of Mann's very best recordings from the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon years. The group heard on the live 1961 Village Gate date includes percussionist Ray Mantilla and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, who had begun making records as a leader while working with Randy Weston and Thelonious Monk. Originally released in 1963, Do the Bossa Nova with Herbie Mann was recorded in Brazil with Sergio Mendes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Dom Um Romão, and Baden Powell. The Nirvana album came together in 1964, marking a historic collaboration with the Bill Evans Trio, which at that time included Chuck Israels and Paul Motian. Following close on the heels of the popular Memphis Underground LP, 1970's Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty is as least as soulful and substantial as its predecessor. Mann's modified unit for this date included Roy Ayers and Czech expatriate Miroslav Vitous. Note the inclusion of Sonny Sharrock's "Blind Willy," a tune destined to attain mind-bending free jazz status years later when Sharrock re-emerged as psychotropic soloist and electro-hurricane with the Last Exit band. Although Sharrock was replaced on Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty by the great Eddie Hinton, he does appear on 1972's Hold on, I'm Comin', along with saxophonist David Newman, who doubles on flute. Generally speaking, this compilation rates with the best of the reasonably priced early 21st century box set reissues of landmark jazz recordings. Ideal background music for relaxing with friends over homemade food and whatever else it takes to cut loose with some easy-flowing grooves.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
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3
blue highlight denotes track pick