Legends and Lions – Swinging’ / Swoonin’
Legends and Lions
(Mack Avenue Recordz – 2006)
by Paula Edelstein
Mack Avenue Records has released two new additions to their LEGENDS & LIONS series which features previously released material from CDs by recording artists currently on the label as well as two previously unreleased gems. SWINGIN’ and SWOONIN’ are two very different records and aptly showcase the versatility of the jazz genre.
The SWINGIN’ compilation includes a mix of vocals and instrumentals as well as a previously unreleased recording of “I’m Old Fashioned,” which showcases Bud Shank, Mike Wofford, Bob Magnusson and Joe LaBarbera. Eugene Maslov’s version of the Miles Davis gem “Seven Steps To Heaven” from Maslov’s FACE OF LOVE recording ranks high because of the stellar playing of Maslov, Eddie Gomez on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. The Grammy-nominated CD NEW YORK, NEW SOUND was an outstanding achievement and delivered on all fronts with its amazing arrangements and stunning orchestration by Gerald Wilson. One of the songs from this exceptional CD titled “Nancy Jo,” offers several great solos from the likes of Kenny Barron, Jessie Davis, Anthony Wilson and Sean Jones. Their performances are reason enough to own the CD. Guest appearances from Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Cedar Walton, Teddy Edwards, among other send this CD over the top with those special performances that give jazz its swinging’ sounds.
By contrast, the SWOONIN’ compilation is laid-back and sedate. Young lion Ron Blake turns in a brilliant performance on “Pure Imagination” and “Making Love To You,” while the legendary pianist George Shearing leaves no doubt that he’s ageless on “When Lights Are Low.” Oscar Castro-Neves adds his romantic flair to the set with “Twenty Year Love Affair” while Sean Jones‘ energetic “Chillin’ At Da Grill” which features Mulgrew Miller on piano, Kenny Davis on electric bass, Corey Rawls on drums, Orrin Evans on keyboards and Ron Blake on tenor sax will leave you wanting more of their sexy sonics.