Ella Fitzgerald – Stairway To The Stars (1959)

From the album Hello, Love, 1960 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, recorded over two sessions in 1957 and 1959.

Ella Fitzgerald – Vocals / Frank DeVol –  Conductor / Milt Bernhart – Trombone / George Roberts, Lloyd Ulyate, Pete Candoli – Trumpet / Harry “Sweets” Edison, Ray Linn, George Werth, Clint Neagley – Alto Saxophone / Ben Webster – Tenor Saxophone / Bert Gassman – Oboe / Arnold Koblentz, Gordon Schoneberg, Skeets Herfurt – Woodwind / Joseph J. Koch, Ernest Romersa, Norm Herzberg – Bassoon / Kenneth Lowman, Jack Marsh, Martin Ruderman – Flute / Sylvia Ruderman, Milt Holland – percussion / Barney Kessel – Guitar / Abe Luboff – Double Bass / Joe Mondragon, Philip Stephens, Alvin Stoller – Drums / Arnold Ross – Piano / Dorothy Remsen – Harp

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Sidney Bechet – Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me (1951)

Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me is recorded November 5, 1951 and appears on The Fabulous Sidney Bechet.

Bechet was in his twilight years at the time of these recordings, and still his soprano sax playing is extremely forceful, cutting through the six-piece ensembles like a beacon, loud as anything yet devoid of stridency. The music is old-school New Orleans swing, and this at a time when bebop and cool were the state of the art. [source]

George “Pops” Forster* – Bass  / Manzie Johnson – Drums  / Don Kirkpatrick – Piano  / Sidney Bechet – Soprano Saxophone / Jimmy Archey – Trombone / Sidney De Paris – Trumpet

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Sun Ra – My Favorite Things (1978)

From the double album New Steps by Sun Ra and his Quartet recorded in Italy in 1978 and originally released on the Italian Horo label.

“My Favorite Things” features Gilmore, and the listener’s first impulse may be to compare it to Coltrane’s classic version. But they are different treatments and Ra’s more conventional approach stands on its own terms. Michael Ray, a revelation throughout these recordings, here provides muted-trumpet obbligato. Ra seemed to be in a reflective mood during these sessions. Many of the tunes are medium to slow, and appear to have been created from the barest sketches. [source]

Personel: Sun Ra – piano / Crumar Mainman – organ, vocals / John Gilmore – tenor saxophone, percussion , vocals / Michael Ray – trumpet, vocals / Luqman Ali – drums

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Miles Davis – Seven Steps to Heaven (1963)

Title Track on the album Seven Steps to Heaven by Miles Davis.

It’s easy to pigeonhole this ’63 Miles Davis recording as a “transition” period between his classic quintets, but one thing is quite clear: Miles was always in transition. Each Davis band was going through a musical or personnel metamorphosis, so we might as well simply take the music on its own terms and forget about the historical context. On that standard alone, Seven Steps to Heaven is an absolute gem.

Introducing two future classics, Miles and company tear through “Joshua” and “Seven Steps to Heaven” and set the world on notice: life in the music world would never be the same again. [source]

Personnel:
Miles Davis – trumpet
George Coleman – tenor saxophone
Herbie Hancock – piano
Ron Carter – bass
Tony Williams – drums

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