That, however, is good news. For one thing, it means that Mosaics latest isnt yet another repackaging of music that every semi-serious jazz fan has anyway. Instead, its 10 CDs of bebop in its ascendant era, featuring more than 20 headliners and demonstrating that even without Bird, Savoy Records was the most innovative label of the day.
Of course much of this music has also been widely packaged and repackaged, and early dates by Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz and J. Johnson are no strangers to the canon.
But Mosaics curations are so much more than content; they are context. Putting Gordon, Getz and Johnson together, along with Fats Navarro, Howard McGhee, Allen Eager, Tadd Dameron and the great but neglected Leo Parker creates a panoramic view of what the first wave of bebop actually sounded like.
And what it sounded like was a sonic rainbow. We understand intellectually that each individual brings his own flavor to the music, but it really takes hearing them. For that idea to sink in.On tenor saxophone, for example, Eagers cocksure but elegant swagger stands in sharp relief to Getz and Brew Moores floating aesthetic (although Getzs first session, the Opus de Bop date from July 1946, is startlingly aggressive compared to the stuff that made his reputation). That, in turn, couldnt be more different from the shrieking R&B-isms of Eddie Davis and his Beboppers: Thats the Davis you know better as Lockjaw, caught here in a 1946 meeting with credentialed boppers Al Haig and Gene Ramey. That band, by the way, also features Denzil Best on drums, whose clanging ride cymbal creates another contrast to Kenny Clarkes clean crispness and Shelly Mannes sibilance. Clarke and Manne are both regulars on this box, the former in one of his first dates as a leader. There are plenty of other insights to be found here too.
The second session included is Kai Windings New Jazz Group, from December 45probably the first recording of bebop trombone, and proof that Winding hadnt yet escaped the conventions of the swing era. Trumpeter Shorty Rogers and saxophonist Getz easily outpace him on Sweet Miss and Grab Your Axe Max, Windings own compositions. Six months later, Johnsons trombonistic innovations in speed and rhythm on the famous Coppin the Bop session are hair-raising by comparison. And when Winding appears again, on a January 1947 date billed as Teddy Reigs All Stars, hes absorbed them completely.
Completists will have a field day with this material. Bud Powell appears several times as a sideman (for Gordon, Johnson and a Sonny Stitt/Kenny Dorham quintet billed as the Be Bop Boys); Sonny Rollins shows up on a 49 session with Johnson; and Dizzy Gillespie does a 1946 date in a Ray Brown octet that also features saxophonist James Moodys first-ever appearance on record (with his own feature, Moody Speaks).All of this is intricately detailed in a fine essay by Neil Tesser, the cherry on top of Savoys (and Mosaics) embarrassment of riches. The item "MOSAIC CLASSIC SAVOY BE-BOP SESSIONS 1945-49 10-CD BOX SET BRAND NEW" is in sale since Sunday, February 28, 2021. This item is in the category "Music\CDs". The seller is "sights4sound" and is located in Oak Ridge, North Carolina.
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