Thursday, March 8, 2007

Jazz Casual Series

Ralph Gleason's 1960s Jazz Casual series was one of the high points of televised jazz. The San Francisco jazz writer and Rolling Stone magazine paterfamilias presented the best jazz musicians across a range of styles in a respectful, relaxed setting, and spent a few minutes of almost every show conversing intelligently with his guest star. And what fantastic musicians. In this set you can hear and see, at length, John Coltrane and his great quartet; Sonny Rollins and his quartet; the blues singer Jimmy Rushing talking, singing and accompanying himself on piano; Dizzy Gillespie; Count Basie in a very relaxed piano set; the great traditional cornetist Muggsy Spanier with a group including bassist Pops Foster and Chicago pianist Joe Sullivan; an entire set of Joe Sullivan playing solo piano; the Woody Herman Big Band; altoist Art Pepper; blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon with an accompanying group including Ben Webster; and lots more in 8 discs.