Jazz In Hollywood
As the major record labels begin the dreaded, slow process of moving toward a completely digital music future, lavish multi-disc sets of reissues on CD of unreleased music, particularly non-pop and non-rock, have slowed to a trickle. Given that, Twelve Nights In Hollywood (Verve), from Ella Fitzgerald, may mark the last great jazz box set to be released by a major record company. The four-CD set includes recordings from 1961 and 1962 recorded at the intimate Crescendo club in Los Angeles. While there was an album released in the early ‘60s entitled Ella in Hollywood, it sold poorly and was marred by bizarre editing and poor sound. This new box, culled from 12 complete concerts and including 73 never-before-released recordings, makes for maybe the best small-group recordings of Ella Fitzgerald live, during what was considered by many jazz scholars as her peak as a vocalist. The set is housed in a beautiful slip case with a book-like box that includes exhaustive liner notes, photos and extensive album cover art of many classic Ella recordings of the period. One of the delights of the set is hearing the guitar playing of Herb Ellis in such a relaxed, joyous setting. The box was produced as a Limited Edition of only 8,000 and will no doubt sell out fairly quickly.
All She Wants To Do Is Have Some Fun
Tuesday Night Music Club (A&M), Sheryl Crow’s 1993 debut album, is now available as a Deluxe Edition. The three-disc set includes the original album; a CD of B-Sides, rarities and out-takes; and a DVD that includes seven music videos and a documentary of life on the road, which includes live performances, sound-checks, backstage footage and more of the tour in support of the album.
Long May You Run
Neil Young’s first four albums (Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Harvest), have been reissued by Reprise as part of the ongoing New Young Archive Series. This batch is the first four releases of the Official Release Series. The four discs have all been remastered in HDCD and for many constitute the peak of Young’s early solo career. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere has officially been billed as Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Also released among the Neil Young Archive Series as part of the Performance Series is Dreamin’ Man Live ‘92 (Reprise). This a live solo recording of the songs that appeared on Young’s Harvest Moon album. The album is not only a unique glimpse at what was to become Harvest Moon, but the perfect companion to Young’s 1993 Unplugged album.
Neil Young’s musical brother, Stephen Stills, who appeared with him in the Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the Stills-Young Band, has two releases out on Eyewall/Atco/Rhino that are worth searching out. Live At Shepherd’s Bush from Stephen Stills is a live concert on CD and DVD. What makes this set so enjoyable is that it spotlights Stills in both an acoustic and an electric setting, giving the full spectrum of his career the various musical settings needed. The other Stills release is from Manassas, a band that Stills was in that is sometimes forgotten. The original group, which also included Chris Hillman of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers, only released two albums, so it’s nice to hear some of the music it recorded that was never released on this album called Pieces, which also includes Joe Walsh and Bonnie Raitt. This CD and the Stephen Stills & Manassas Live DVD from 2005 nicely round out the all-too-brief tenure of a very underrated and somewhat forgotten group.
Got Live If You Want It
After watching the live Crow documentary and listening to live performances of Neil Young and Stephen Stills, some more live concert music is always welcome. One of the best live box sets ever released (and I mean that) is The Live Anthology (Reprise) from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. This four-disc set is a survey of some of the best live performances from various phase of the band’s history. What makes this set so wonderful is the healthy selection of covers the band performs, particularly “Any Way You Want It,” “Friend of the Devil,” and “Goldfinger.” Perhaps the only other American band to emerge in the late ‘70s who is still going strong today and that could rival Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers is R.E.M. R.E.M. also has a live album out: R.E.M. Live at the Olympia in Dublin 30 Songs (Warner Bros.). The two-disc set is an interesting take on a live recording. Most of the music on it features working rehearsals for concerts the group was to perform at the Olympia in Dublin in 2007 for the Accelerate tour.
Northern Soul Train
The coolest dance scene in the world these days, which has been raging since the ‘60s is the Northern Soul scene in England. One of the few visible collections of this sound is the 28-track Keb Darge & Paul Weller Present Lost & Found Real R’N’B & Soul (BBE). This is the only domestically available set of Darge compilations, with many of his U.K. collections either out of print or hard to find and very expensive. The music here features deep soul, r&b, funk and obscure 50’s blues sides from such known artists as Big Mama Thornton, Major Lance, Tammi Terrell, The Dells, Bobby Blue Bland, Albert King, Jimmy Witherspoon and Slim Harpo, with a healthy dose of delicious, hip-shaking rarities. Buy one now, before they’re all gone and cost $100 for a worn copy.