My top five from the recording archives

Here are the five collections from the past I most enjoyed in 2015, in no particular order. Some were  previously released, some haven’t been out for general consumption before now, some are boxes, some are folded, multi-disc sleeves, all have informative essays within their booklets, some are in dinky shrunk-down copies of their original vinyl sleeves. They are all worth your investigation, I reckon.

Errol Garner – The Complete Concert By The Sea (Columbia Legacy): It still sounds really special, in fact even more so these days. Full review here.

John Abercrombie – The First Quartet (ECM): This is the latest in ECM’s little white boxes and it contains the three albums the guitarist made with Richie Beirach on piano, George Mraz on bass and Peter Donald on drums. Three sublime examples of Abercrombie’s late ’70s move from jazz-rock to a more airy, impressionistic way of playing and a more relaxed group dynamic. I didn’t review this when it came out so a review from the excellent Marlbank site is here.

Miles Davis – At Newport 1955-1975 (Columbia Legacy): From ’55 cool to ’73 wah-wah glory, the most famous jazz musician at the most famous jazz festival. Full review here.

Weather Report – The Legendary Live Tapes: 1978-1981 (Columbia Legacy): Packed full of fine performances from the defining jazz group of the last 20th century. Full review here.

Oscar Peterson – Exclusively For My Friends (MPS): If Peterson has been a little out of favour over the past few years, this box of six reissues plus two of “lost tapes” should be a reminder that his music is truly evergreen. Full review here.

Categories: CD review

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