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What's New on WDCB... with Leslie Keros

July 19th, 2021

Harold Land - Westward Bound! (Reel to Real)

The West Coast saxophonist Harold Land may not be a household name, but if you’re familiar with Clifford Brown-Max Roach classics such as “Jordu” and “Joy Spring,” you’ve heard his work. This new release highlights three performances he gave at the Penthouse, a Seattle club that broadcast weekly shows from the bandstand in the 1960s. Land’s personnel varied each night, with sidemen including Hampton Hawes, Carmell Jones, and Philly Joe Jones. The band swings throughout the disc, their set list mixing standards such as “Autumn Leaves” and “Blue ’n’ Boogie” with notable Land originals that appear nowhere else on record.

Louis Armstrong - The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia and RCA Victor Studio Sessions, 1946-1966 (Mosaic)

Mosaic is highly regarded for the quality and thoroughness of its compilations, and this seven-disc set of Louis Armstrong music is no exception. The first two discs collect the singles Pops recorded for RCA Victor and Columbia, ranging from lesser-known gems such as “Blues for Yesterday” to seven versions of “Mack the Knife.” The remaining CDs present Armstrong’s recordings of W. C. Handy and Fats Waller tunes, along with his Brubeck collaboration, The Real Ambassadors. Inside the 12” by 12” box set is a 44-page booklet with photos of Louis in action and an insightful essay by Armstrong authority Ricky Riccardi.

Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller - In Harmony (Resonance)

Although Roy Hargrove and Mulgrew Miller had talked about recording as a duo, their busy schedules never provided the opening. In fact, the trumpeter and pianist didn’t even have time to rehearse before giving the 2006 and 2007 concerts captured on this double-CD set. The impromptu nature of these performances makes them all the more remarkable, as each musician defers to, complements, and challenges the other. Standards fill the repertoire, but tucked in near the end of the second disc is a soulful Roy Hargrove original, “Blues for Mr. Hill,” found only on this set.