Steely Dan's baby pictures? Sort of–these are studio demos Dan honchos Becker and Fagen made as struggling songwriters in the period before they actually conceptualized the band. Some of them–"Brooklyn," "Barrytown," "Parker's Band," "Charlie Freak," "Any World That I'm Welcome To" and "The Caves of Altamira"–later turned up on Steely Dan albums; here they're presented in bare-bones version (mostly just piano and vocals, with only adequate sound) that while interesting obviously don't have Steely Dan's trademark instrumental sheen. The unfamiliar tracks are uneven (a must to avoid: "The Mock Turtle's Song"), but even the least of them show that Becker and Fagen's writing style was fully formed even at this early stage.
The second of two sets that document a Paris concert by trumpeter Donald Byrd, Parisian Thoroughfare features Bobby Jaspar on tenor and flute, pianist Walter Davis, Jr., bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Art Taylor. Other than Byrd's "At This Time" and Davis' "Formidable," the quintet sticks to bop standards, many of which are quite concise and clock in at around three minutes. Longer versions of the title track (a high point) and "52nd Street Theme" are exceptions. This spirited, bop-oriented music is the equal of the first volume.
Reissue features the latest DSD / HR Cutting remastering and the high-fidelity SHM-CD format (compatible with standard CD player). Comes with a description. Features the original LP designs. For this early hard bop date, altoist Phil Woods and trumpeter Donald Byrd were co-leaders. In fact, the music had at one point earlier on been released with Byrd getting first billing. Since the spirited altoist contributed four of the six tunes (including "House of Chan" and "In Walked George") and consistently takes solo honors, it is only right that the date finally appeared under Woods' name. With pianist Al Haig (who did not record that extensively during this period), bassist Teddy Kotick, and drummer Charlie Persip offering stimulating accompaniment, this is an easily recommended release (despite its brief LP length) for straight-ahead jazz collectors.