The original Chico Hamilton Quintet was one of the last significant West Coast jazz bands of the cool era. Consisting of Buddy Collette on reeds (flute, clarinet, alto, and tenor), guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Carson Smith, and the drummer/leader, the most distinctive element in the group's identity was cellist Fred Katz. The band could play quite softly, blending together elements of bop and classical music into their popular sound and occupying their own niche. This six-CD, limited-edition box set from 1997 starts off with a Hamilton drum solo from a 1954 performance with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet; it contains three full albums and many previously unreleased numbers) by the original Chico Hamilton band and also has quite a few titles from the second Hamilton group (which has Paul Horn and John Pisano in the places of Collette and Hall).
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. In 1957, Johnny Smith was at the height of his artistic power when he cut this album for the Roost label. Smith had a patented method for shifting from single-string statements of the melody line to complex chordal structures with amazing ease. This ability is put to use for each of the cuts on this album, but is especially useful on such cuts as "Angel Eyes" and "You Go to My Head." Smith's guitar also seemed to have a one of a kind resonance to it, which energized every melody he played, whether on the melody itself or when improvising, making his playing immediately recognizable.
It's 1940s and Dizzy Gillespie's big band are at their absolute peak! Listening to this record makes me wonder why there ever became such a thing as jazz snobbery. This music doesn't sound like the domain for snobs. In fact it showcases jazz in a crucial and innovative place. Here we are in this place where swing and be-bop have long ago cross polinated eachother (one needed to have the other anyway:we all know in what way",you've got Dizzy whose at once both a great intellectual musician as well as being able to make it move. And here you have him playing with these…well nowadays you'd have to call them all stars such as Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Cozy Cole, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Clarke…the list goes on like that and BIM BAM BOOM you've got big band be-bop!