Various Artists

The Sound of Jazz [Columbia/Sony]

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The Sound of Jazz, originally aired Sunday, December 8, 1957, on CBS, has never been duplicated in capturing such a wide array of jazz musicians from various styles -- swing, cool, modern -- sometimes cross pollinating in a lively yet casual atmosphere. Jazz critics Whitney Balliett and Nat Hentoff selected the musicians, set them up in a studio in front of a live audience, and told the cameramen to simply follow them as they jammed, talked, and hung out. Performances include the Henry "Red" Allen All-Stars featuring Pee Wee Russell and Coleman Hawkins; Billie Holiday with the Mal Waldron All-Stars featuring Lester Young, Doc Cheatam, Ben Webster, and Hawkins; Count Basie's All-Stars featuring Jimmy Rushing; and the Jimmy Giuffre Trio. While the entire soundtrack is enjoyable, two pieces stand above the others for their unique and historic pairings: Traditional meets modern with the clarinet pairing of Pee Wee Russell and Jimmy Giuffre on "Blues," and "Fine and Mellow" finds Billie Holiday briefly reunited with friend Lester Young for the last time. This album was reissued on compact disc in 2000 from Columbia Legacy.

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