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10 Essential Jazz Trumpet Albums

For those who wish to understand the roots of jazz trumpet playing, this collection is essential listening.

The first two discs cover Armstrong’s Hot Fives material recorded from 1925 to 1927 (along with other recordings Armstrong made for Columbia at the time) with the Hot Sevens recordings landing on disc three.

The final disc compiles a second round of Hot Fives recordings along with a wealth of bonus tracks (including an enlightening 1927 Johnny Dodds session). These pieces are at the roots of jazz, not to mention the heart of American popular music in the 1920s.

But this record is not just a testament to Gillespie"s genius: it also tracks two important developments in the evolution of jazz. First, it demonstrates the elemental harmonic changes that welcomed the arrival of bebop and, second, it documents the elemental rhythmic changes that created Afro-Cuban jazz (courtesy of Chano Pozo"s appearance with Gillespie for the first time). 

The sheer commercialism of this record, along with the kitschy disco beats and girlie background singers, may offend those who worship at the altar of Fats and Diz. But, for what it was – sheer, unbridled trumpet pyrotechnics a la 1977 – it is as good as it gets.  “Mister Mellow” is essential 70s fusion and the title cut is, if nothing else, pure energy.

The fact that Miles showed up for these sessions with little more than a few ideas scribbled on sheets of paper is an indication of his confidence in where he was musically in 1958. And it shows. From top to bottom, it’s as close to perfection as a jazz recording can get. A case can be made for many others in the Miles catalog (Birth Of The Cool, Bitches Brew), but this one excels.

Pure happiness is the best way to describe this record, best purchased as the 2007 Rudy Van Gelder remaster. The title cut swings, “C.T.A.” zigs and zags like a ride on the subway and “All The Way” is the consummate jazz ballad. Morgan’s influence on his peers, as well as those who followed, can be heard in his crystal clear tone and rich mellow

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