Taste of Jazz: Shades of Blue

Taste of Jazz: Shades of Blue

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This is a decent budget jazz sampler for the uninitiated -- a mix of standards, jump blues, swing, and bop that's heavy on live performances by the usual legendary suspects (Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, et al.). The title shouldn't upset purists too much; there are a handful of 12-bar numbers ("Harvard Blues," "Every Day I Have the Blues") and titular blues (Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues"), and most of the remaining songs have a genuinely rootsy feel, whether it's Sarah Vaughan breaking the scatting speed limit or Herbie Hancock and Bobby McFerrin going toe to toe on "'Round Midnight." The inclusion of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee was obviously a token gesture (their "Sittin' on Top of the World" is sandwiched between Ella Fitzgerald and George Benson), but otherwise the compilers were sincere.

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