Wardell Gray

Vol. 3: 1946-1947

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One thing about France's media7 Masters of Jazz label -- when these people set out to chart someone's recording career with meticulous exactitude, they leave no stone unturned. The third volume of Wardell Gray in their Complete Edition series, for example, documents his activity as a sideman from December 1946 through late February 1947, a period that falls between his dates as a leader and therefore doesn't usually make it onto Gray anthologies. The tenor saxophonist is heard jamming with the Jubilee All Stars; rocking out in the reed section of a big band backing Ivory Joe Hunter on a showy boogie-woogie number; blowing superbly as one seventh of the Charlie Parker Septet and providing smooth accompaniments with a small group backing vocalist Billy Eckstine. Some folks might object to the inclusion of eight alternate takes from the Charlie Parker session, but bear in mind this series contains the utter and absolute complete recordings of Gray, and that means every doggone minute of his life that was ever captured on record. If you're dead serious about Gray and don't want to miss a note, why then this is the series for you.

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