Most Kiss fans associate Gene Simmons with the band's hardest-rocking compositions; after all, he's responsible for such heavies as "Watchin' You," "Calling Dr. Love," "Larger Than Life," and "Goin' Blind." So many Kiss fans must have been surprised when they heard Gene's diverse 1978 solo album, with songs that contained choirs and string arrangements, plus elements of Beatles pop, '70s funk/disco, and feel-good rock & roll…
There are many Gene Ammons recordings currently available on CD in Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics, since the versatile tenorman was a longtime Prestige recording artist. Unlike his earlier jam sessions, this particular outing finds Ammons as the only horn, fronting a talented rhythm section (pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, drummer Art Taylor, and Ray Barretto on congas). Ammons explores standards (including a near-classic version of "Canadian Sunset"), blues, and ballads in his usual warm, soulful, and swinging fashion. This is a fine outing by one of the true "bosses" of the tenor.
The two early-'60s LPs in the Soul Summit series featured some of the many collaborations of tenors Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, who are joined by organist Jack McDuff and drummer Charlie Persip. Their six performances are primarily riff tunes, with "When You Wish Upon a Star" taken at a medium pace and "Out in the Cold Again" the lone ballad. The second half of this CD, which features both volumes, features Ammons on two songs ("Love, I've Found You" and a swinging "Too Marvelous for Words") with a big band arranged by Oliver Nelson, jamming "Ballad for Baby" with a quintet, sitting out "Scram" (which stars McDuff and the tenor of Harold Vick), and backing singer Etta Jones on three numbers, of which "Cool, Cool Daddy" is the most memorable. Overall, this is an interesting and consistently swinging set that adds to the large quantity of recordings that the great Ammons did during the early '60s.
This 20-track CD is the only collection that has all of his most popular recordings, from "Duke of Earl" through his soul hits for Constellation, Vee Jay, Brunswick, Checker, Mercury, and Chi-Sound, spanning 1962 to 1980 (all but three tracks were released before 1968). Some fans might prefer The Duke of Earl, which focuses on his Vee Jay years, but this has a much wider breadth, and includes "Groovy Situation." Curtis Mayfield wrote eight of the songs, although they frankly don't fully measure up to the Chicago soul he was writing for his own group, the Impressions, at the time.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Rare as hens' teeth – and an incredible meeting of two vastly underrated alto talents! Phil Woods got plenty of opportunities to record as a leader in the 50s, but altoist Gene Quill was often buried in bigger groups – a fact that makes this album one of the few chances to really hear him shine! Woods and Quill work together beautifully throughout – playing boppishly, but also in a more relaxed groove – one that's a bit like Phil's excellent Warm Woods session for Epic from the same stretch, but perhaps a bit more upbeat overall.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. The meetings of alto saxophonist Phil Woods and Gene Quill, such as this 1956 sextet date for RCA, are always enjoyable. In addition to baritone saxophonist Sol Schlinger, Woods and Quill are joined by pianist Dave McKenna, bassist Buddy Jones, and drummer Shadow Wilson. The focus is on the two altoists, but there is occasionally blowing room for Schlinger and McKenna, too. Gene Orloff's snappy "Sax Fifth Avenue" and Woods' brisk "Four Flights Up" are the highlights of the date, along with several works by Bill Potts. This is a typically solid effort by Phil Woods and Gene Quill.
This two-fer pairs two pivotal and seemingly conflicting recordings in the career of Gene Harris as he entered the 1970s, a period that was to see his trademark rootsy sound embrace the emergent jazz-funk.
Gene Harris never veered closer to mainstream jazz-funk than Tone Tantrum – a slick, propulsive record recalling Donald Byrd's classic sessions with the Mizell brothers (not surprising, given that Byrd turns up on a few tracks here). It's very much a product of its time, channeling influences from underground disco to Stevie Wonder, and remains arguably the most blatantly commercial release in the entire Blue Note catalog.