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Pure Jazz
Various Artists
Pure Jazz
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1

With the exclamatory message "18 of the Greatest Jazz Recordings Ever!" inset in its tray card, Pure Jazz isn't a bashful anthology. It opens with Nina Simone's early hit, the shuffle-rhythm "My Baby Just Cares for Me," th...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Pure Jazz
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Utv Records
Release Date: 1/9/2001
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Cool Jazz, Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Bebop, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731452019127

With the exclamatory message "18 of the Greatest Jazz Recordings Ever!" inset in its tray card, Pure Jazz isn't a bashful anthology. It opens with Nina Simone's early hit, the shuffle-rhythm "My Baby Just Cares for Me," then features another dozen vocal tracks that hit high marks all around. The most familiar are probably Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child," here from the achingly poignant Lady Sings the Blues collection, and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong teaming up on "Summertime." But there's also Sarah Vaughan on "Misty" and Nat "King" Cole on "Unforgettable." Among the instrumental cuts are Michel Legrand's 1958 arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" for Miles Davis, the original (and forever beguiling) "Take Five," Paul Desmond's most famous composition and his and Dave Brubeck's most famous performance by far. For "Peel Me a Grape," some of the song's veteran interpreters get one-upped by Diana Krall, and rather than reach deep into the discography for, say, "West End Blues," the collection closes with Armstrong's famous take on "What a Wonderful World," a choice that will irritate some. True to its title, though, this set includes 18 great jazz performances, and it will likely pique the appetite for more. One minor quibble is the lack of musician credits--which may be clutter to some, but they are central to many listeners. --Andrew Bartlett

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CD Reviews

Dazzling in its eclecticism
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In the past few years, we've seen a flurry of "Pure" collections ("Pure Disco," "Pure Funk," "Pure Reggae," etc.) and for the most part, they have been fairly thorough in their collecting essential tracks from any given genre. With "Pure Jazz," however, we have a disc that is almost essential to any music lover's library. I would not label myself a jazz fanatic--I purchased this CD mainly because of the inclusion of several tracks I am familiar with--but I was astounded by the fact that I am familiar with every one of these songs through various aspects of the culture we live in (television commercials, background music in films, etc.). To listen to this CD is to listen to the birth and growth of a truly American art form, and to taste culture with a uniquely American spirit. The songs on "Pure Jazz" run the gamut from thrilling live performances (Count Basie's "April In Paris" and Ella Fitzgerald's "Mack The Knife") to well-known standards (Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child" and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable") to songs that became the basis for pop music (Glenn Miller's "In The Mood," Etta James's "At Last," and Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World") to improvisational, smoky numbers (Miles Davis's "Round Midnight" and Dave Brubeck's "Take Five"). As a listening experience, this CD jumps through different sounds, so it's not the greatest idea for mood music on a romantic evening. But, in every sense of the word, you truly feel the energy and talent of each of these gifted performers. Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald's duet on the "Porgy And Bess" number "Summertime" (which even rock fans will recognize as the song interpolated onto the band Sublime's song of the same name) is gut-wrenchingly haunting in its beauty. Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto's "Girl From Ipanema" has lost none of its bossa nova brilliance over the years, and sounds just as fresh today as it must have sounded 1964. And words cannot describe how gorgeous Sarah Vaughn's "Misty" and Dinah Washington's "What A Difference A Day Makes" are. Even Chet Baker's hesitant and technically underwhelming vocal performance on "Everything Happens To Me" is hypnotic (and it's not really fair to grade Baker on his singing style...he was a master musician.) I honestly cannot think of anyone who would not enjoy some aspect of this CD. It is certainly one of the most surprisingly enjoyable purchases I've made in a long time. Just think of it this way--for the purchase price, you get a piece of American history!"
If (like me) you think you hate jazz, this one's for you
Moe | Anaheim Hills, CA | 07/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I always thought I hated jazz - to me, the word meant endless atonal streams of notes seemingly played without rhyme, reason, or a recognizable melody, in a word: BORING! But one day, looking for an album that contained "Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, I came across this jewel of a CD. It's full of wonderful songs that I wouldn't have considered to be jazz but old standards, like "Misty", "At last" and "What a difference a day made" (what a difference these marvelous singers make with these songs) along with some tracks like "Round midnight" or "Take five" which are a good introduction to it for jazz haters like me (they're short and sweet.) "In the mood" and "Sing sing sing" will have you swinging happily. I must admit that I had never heard most of the ladies on this CD, even Ella, and I am in awe of them now.My top two uses for this CD: driving (makes the ugliest road beautiful somehow,) and --- potty training. No, really. If you find yourself starting to bristle at having to mop up the fifth "accident" of the day, pop this into the CD player and feel your bad mood dissolve away...This is one of the best CDs I have ever bought."
The beginner's guide to Jazz
king_ink69 | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're looking to discover Jazz, this is the place to start. These are all classics, the standards, the landmarks of jazz. Legendary artists and their quintessential, timeless recordings. How can any album that brings together Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Glenn Miller, Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck, Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan, doing these songs be rated less than five stars - what more can you ask for?"