JAZZ & BLUES

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Given the huge wealth of material at their disposal, it is hardly surprising that the big record companies find it hard to resist the urge to make repeated forays into the reissue game. Unfortunately, though, it then takes a bit of imagination - like that currently being displayed by Verve - to make the releases stand out.

Verve, which over the years has gathered under the PolyGram net a variety of small but important labels, has launched its "Ultimate" series, in which current artists come up with a selection of tracks by stars who have influenced them. Listeners can find out what it is about Bud Powell that impresses Chick Corea, what Lester Young means to Wayne Shorter - and which of the many recordings Clifford Brown made before his tragically early death fellow trumpeter Nicholas Payton regards as most important.

The Brown collection is especially intriguing in that not only is it assembled by a star who is just coming up to the age at which the former Max Roach collaborator was killed, but it also appears just as Blue Note has devoted one of its own "Best Of" collections to him. With Brown's Vogue sessions once more available, there are no longer any excuses for not appreciating the highly influential hard bopper who, besides sharing a stage with Roach, appeared with the likes of Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins and Sarah Vaughan.

Blue Note has also been innovative, in a backwards-looking sort of way, by putting out, for what is probably the umpteenth time, some of its truly classic 1960s releases on heavy vinyl. There's Freddie Hubbard's Hub-tones, Grant Green's Idle Moments, Joe Henderson's Page One, Art Blakey's Mosaic and Eric Dolphy's final recording, Out to Lunch.

Finally, the casual listener could think that Kiss My Blues by Hammond B3 specialist Tony Z (for Zamagni) also belongs in the reissue section. Though the style varies between soulful after-hours stuff and a sort of driving Chicago blues, it is a consistently impressive affair. But then with a band that includes such taste merchants as guitarist Cornell Dupree, bass player Chuck Rainey and drummer Bernard Purdie, with Kim Wilson guesting on harmonica, it would be hard to go wrong.

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