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Jazz Memories Book

MFR Part #: JAZZMEMORIES
Samy's Part #: S-002902
$19995
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The unparalleled art form of jazz is best defined by the musical legacies of its master artists. But a small handful of individuals have made their own meaningful contributions by capturing its essence in photographs, providing a visual accompaniment to jazz' amazing historical soundtrack.

No photographer has better captured the music's creators than the brilliant Herman Leonard, whose breathtaking portraits make the extraordinary Gravity Limited/Innerhythmic collection "Jazz Memories," an absolute essential for collectors and newcomers alike. This deluxe companion package is set for November 13 release.

The beautiful 72 page 8"x10" book that accompanies the 2-CD set includes 35 full-page photographs of the jazz immortals who are featured. Each photograph is accompanied by fascinating stories that provide considerable insight both into the musician and the circumstances surrounding each particular recording. Written by Ross Firestone, writer, editor and lifelong jazz fan, who penned the award winning "Swing, Swing, Swing: The Life and Times of Benny Goodman," the commentary offers plenty of interest to the seasoned fan and those new ones who are looking to unravel some of the music's mysteries.

"Jazz Memories" was conceived and overseen by legendary media producer Alan Douglas, whose productions of landmark recordings for his own Douglas Records and other labels include such heavyweights as Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, The Last Poets, Bill Evans and Lenny Bruce. A longtime friend of Leonard's since they hung out together in Paris during the '60s, Douglas was inspired to develop this multimedia presentation after viewing a recent show of the illustrious photographer's jazz works. In turning the concept into reality, Douglas called upon groundbreaking art designer Frank Gauna, who designed the covers for both Douglas Records and the United Artists jazz line that Douglas produced in the early '60s. For the daunting job of securing all rights and permissions from the various labels, estates, publishers, etc., Steven Saporta, media entrepreneur and head of New York's innovative Invasion Group, handled all of these intricacies, as well as the marketing.

In selecting Firestone, a compatriot from the cutting-edge Douglas Records days, Douglas insured not only fine narrative, but also a most exemplary selection of material to be included in the 31 tracks that comprise the set.

From Louis Armstrong's powerful 1957 revival of his early hit "Dear Old Southland" that opens CD #1, to Duke Ellington's gorgeous dedication to longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn, "Lotus Blossom" that ends CD #2, the listener is transported through 20 years of timeless jazz history. Beginning with a 1947 recording of trumpeter Fats Navarro's "Nostalgia" and concluding with the Ellington tribute in 1967, chronology becomes irrelevant. Instead, Firestone's focus is on great music by superb artists programmed for a continuity of listening pleasure and edification.

The array of featured artists is astonishing - Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Gerry Mulligan, Milt Jackson... and the list goes on. Not only are so many of the recognized giants represented, but also artists who are often overlooked - Lucky Thompson, Sonny Stitt and Lennie Tristano, for example. These incredible recordings have been culled from the vaults of such major jazz labels as Verve, Blue Note, Riverside, Prestige and Emarcy.

The stylistic spectrum of jazz' golden years is well represented from the more traditional approaches of Armstrong and Roy Eldridge (whose delicious "The Man I Love" features the rarity of Oscar Peterson on organ) to the early hard-bop innovations of Clifford Brown and Max Roach ("Joy Spring"), and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Lee Morgan and Benny Golson ("Are You Real?").

And rather than settling for obvious selections, Firestone has chosen some unusual, but invariably outstanding pieces, like Coleman Hawkins' adventurous "Me and Some Drums," Bud Powell's explosive "Hallelujah" and Errol Garner's version of the Fats Waller classic "Jitterbug Waltz."

A cornucopia of new gifts to the recent devotee, "Jazz Memories" offers many special treats to the connoisseur - the ability to compare the solo piano styles of Art Tatum ("Willow Weep For Me"), Thelonious Monk ("Blue Monk") and Ellington ("Lotus Blossom"); the ballad mastery of Cannonball Adderley ("Stars Fell on Alabama"), Sonny Stitt ("If I Had You"), Ben Webster ("Time on My Hands') and Stan Getz ("Body and Soul"); or the vocal majesty of divas Billie Holiday ("My Man"), Sarah Vaughan ("Embraceable You"), Ella Fitzgerald ("How Long Has This Been Going On") and Dinah Washington ("Easy Living").
And rather than settling for obvious selections, Firestone has chosen some unusual, but invariably outstanding pieces, like Coleman Hawkins' adventurous "Me and Some Drums," Bud Powell's explosive "Hallelujah" and Errol Garner's version of the Fats Waller classic "Jitterbug Waltz."

On its own, this collection would be a fine addition to any library, but with the book, it's an absolute necessity. The photographs include some of Leonard's most memorable and important portraits - the timeless image of a young Dexter Gordon, horn propped on his leg, the Leonard trademark swirls of cigarette smoke rising above; an impassioned Art Blakey howling heavenward with drumstick poised to strike; a blissful Bud Powell beaded with sweat amidst his piano incantation; and the overwhelmingly profound "portrait" of Lester Young on the back cover, featuring the trademark pork-pie hat, swirls of smoke, sheet music, sax case, but no Lester. Leonard's photos are recognized throughout the world and have been featured in over 100 exhibitions. The Smithsonian Institution has honored him by housing his entire collection in the permanent archives of musical history. In addition to photographing numerous jazz legends, Leonard has shot Albert Einstein, Harry S. Truman, Clark Gable and Marlon Brando.

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