JAZZ ALBUMS RECORDED:

The Poll Winners – Exploring the Scene (1960)
Track Listing:
1. Little Susie
2. The Duke
3. So What
4. Misty
5. Doodlin’
6. The Golden Striker
7. Li’l Darlin’
8. The Blessing
9. This Here

Review by Scott Yanow at Allmusic:
For one of their better outings, The Poll Winners (guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelly Manne) perform nine fairly recent jazz standards. It is ironic that this is their only release not yet reissued on CD, since it may very well be their strongest program. The trio performs creative versions of such songs as "Little Susie," "So What," "Doodlin'," "This Here," and Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing." Worth searching for.

Sonny Simmons – Staying on the Watch (1966)
Track Listing:
1. Metamorphosis
2. A Distant Voice
3. City of David
4. Interplanetary Travelers

Review by Alex Henderson at Allmusic:
Sonny Simmons, whose work with flutist Prince Lasha had put him on the map in West Coast avant-garde jazz circles, had an important year in 1966. That was the year the alto saxophonist recorded Staying on the Watch, his first album as a full-fledged leader; Lasha and  Simmons had been co-leaders on 1962's The Cry!, but on this session, Simmons is the only one in the driver's seat. Not surprisingly, Simmons recorded Staying on the Watch for ESP-Disk, which reissued the album on CD in 2010. ESP's reputation for being cutting-edge is well deserved -- while Impulse! could be quite daring where experimental jazz was concerned, ESP was downright fearless -- and Simmons' playing is delightfully uninhibited and free-spirited on four original compositions: "Metamorphosis," "A Distance Voice," "City of David," and "Interplanetary Travelers." That isn't to say that Staying on the Watch is an exercise in atonal chaos; Simmons' performances aren't as extreme as the free jazz that John Coltrane was offering in 1966. This is inside/outside playing (more outside than inside) rather than absolute atonality from start to finish. But even so, there is a lot of intensity coming from Simmons and the four musicians who form an acoustic quintet with him: trumpeter Barbara Donald (Simmons' wife at the time), pianist John Hicks, bassist Teddy Smith, and percussionist Marvin Pattillo. Density prevails on Staying on the Watch, and density is the thing that can make one avant-garde jazz recording a lot more jarring than another. If one compares Staying on the Watch to AACM icon and fellow altoist Roscoe Mitchell's Sound -- another historic avant-garde album that was recorded in 1966 -- it isn't hard to see why this 44-minute CD is more intense. For all its abstraction, the innovative and highly influential Sound emphasized the use of space and was a departure from the density that had characterized so much avant-garde jazz in the early to mid-‘60s. Simmons and Mitchell were alto explorers who had two different left-of-center visions in 1966, one just as valid as the other -- and Simmons' recording career as a leader was off to an exciting start with Staying on the Watch.
 


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    BLUES BITS & JAZZ JOTS 
    is a historical timeline for birthdays of blues and jazz artists and jazz album recording dates.  As our research progresses, we'll add more categories.  Look for updates each week, normally Mondays through Fridays, when we find something to share.

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