This week's Jazz releases

VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bebop Spoken Here (Proper Records); THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND | Chelsea Sessions 1967
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The Independent Culture

VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bebop Spoken Here (Proper Records) This is an admirably cheap and cheerful digest of what still sounds like the proto-punk jazz revolution of the 1940s, when tunes were played fast, solos were brief but incendiary, and dancers had to watch their step. Starting with Coleman Hawkins' first faltering utterances in 1944, and ending with a version of "Twisted" by a Miles Davis septet recorded in 1949, the compilers have taken a broad view of bebop, and include Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman as well as Diz, Bird and the rest of the usual suspects. Relatively obscure material by the likes of Claude Thornhill and Babs Gonzales tips the balance in its favour. PJ

VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bebop Spoken Here (Proper Records) This is an admirably cheap and cheerful digest of what still sounds like the proto-punk jazz revolution of the 1940s, when tunes were played fast, solos were brief but incendiary, and dancers had to watch their step. Starting with Coleman Hawkins' first faltering utterances in 1944, and ending with a version of "Twisted" by a Miles Davis septet recorded in 1949, the compilers have taken a broad view of bebop, and include Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman as well as Diz, Bird and the rest of the usual suspects. Relatively obscure material by the likes of Claude Thornhill and Babs Gonzales tips the balance in its favour. PJ

THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND | Chelsea Sessions 1967 (Pig's Whisker) Inventive and influential, the Incredible String Band rose from Edinburgh's 1960s folk scene to headline at Woodstock, before disbanding in 1974. Recorded in London by Joe Boyd, The Chelsea Sessions 1967 captures the band's unique sound to a T. Of the 14 tracks, only six were included on the ISB's summer-of-love album 5000 Spirits; and this release contains three numbers never heard outside the studio. The songs are varied and quirky, the instrumentation downright weird at times. This album is as listenable as it is collectable. It's timely, too - the band will be playing together for the first time in 25 years at Cropredy Festival. AF

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