The United States of Leland (2003)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau Leland is a troubled young man who kills a retarded kid in his neighborhood and is sent to juvenile hall. Don Cheadle stars as Pearl, a teacher, who tries to elicit a reason from Leland. Solid acting performances and a well-written script make this obscure crime drama worth renting. […]

Miles Davis – Steamin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet (1956)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau This magnificent work of sheer musical virtuosity is a crowd pleaser from the very first note. Miles Davis plays his signature introspective muted trumpet beside John Coltrane with his powerful tenor saxophone. Group and individual solos are first rate and the renditions of bebop tunes and standards are marvelously […]

Sonny Rollins – Sonny Rollins Plus Four (1956)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau Sonny Rollins fronts the Clifford Brown / Max Roach Quintet in this short set from 1956. Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins are both on fire in this blistering collection of songs anchored by a solid rhythm section. Two of Rollins’ original compositions, Valse Hot and Pent-Up House, are particularly […]

Wes Montgomery – Riverside Profiles (2006)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau This compilation serves as a fine introduction to Wes Montgomery, one of the most influential jazz guitarists of all time. This set features a variety of his recordings from the early 60s and features names like Kenny Burrell, Tommy Flanagan, Milt Jackson, Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, and Johnny Griffin. […]

Clifford Brown & Max Roach – More Live at the Bee Hive (2006)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau Clifford Brown joins the Max Roach Quintet in playing some great standards and a pair of original tunes. The musicianship — especially among Brown, Roach, Richie Powell (piano), Harold Land (tenor sax) and a young Sonny Rollins (tenor sax) — is consistently great, with most of the tunes over […]

Dizzy Gillespie – To Diz With Love (1992)

Aug 31, 2007 by Mr. Nau Dizzy Gillespie’s last record includes five standards featuring all of the best known trumpet players in jazz — Red Rodney, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, Wallace Roney, Claudio Roditi, Doc Cheatham, and Charlie Sepulveda. The obvious love they have for Diz and some unbelievable moments make this recording an amazingly […]

A Lesson Before Dying (1999)

Aug 30, 2007 by Mr. Nau Don Cheadle stars as a school teacher who is sent to convince a former student wrongly sentenced to death to die with dignity in 1940s Louisiana. The acting is great for a television movie and the script is wonderfully imaginative. Full of real emotion, this is a very rewarding […]

The Rat Pack (1998)

Aug 28, 2007 by Mr. Nau Ray Liotta is terribly miscast as Frank Sinatra in this made-for-television musical drama about the Rat Pack in the 60s. Don Cheadle turns in a brilliant performance as Sammy Davis, Jr., which garners him a Golden Globe, but every other major actor seems completely wrong for their parts. Grade: […]

Eric Dolphy – The Illinois Concert (1999)

Aug 28, 2007 by Mr. Nau This live concert by Eric Dolphy and a great rhythm section (including young Herbie Hancock) was lost for almost four decades, discovered and released in 1999. Most of these tunes are Dolphy originals and they’re all brilliant. Dolphy’s work on God Bless the Child is a jaw-droppingly unforgettable interpretation. […]

Donald Byrd – The Cat Walk (1961)

Aug 28, 2007 by Mr. Nau Donald Byrd (trumpet) leads a phenomenal quintet with Pepper Adams (baritone sax), Duke Pearson (piano), Philly Joe Jones (drums), and Laymon Johnson (bass) in this amazingly listenable collection of original compositions. Byrd, Adams, and Pearson trade agile solos on this unusually entertaining date, complete with some superb rhythm section […]

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