BizStore » Music » Thank You Charlie Christian / In Wonderland / Meets Jimmy Giuffre / Nothing But the Blues (4 LP's on 2 CD's)
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Thank You Charlie Christian / In Wonderland / Meets Jimmy Giuffre / Nothing But the Blues (4 LP's on 2 CD's)
Binding: Audio CD
Four LP's on a 2-CD Set features Herb Ellis, at his best (see individual reviews on this page).
The earliest of the four albums which make up this compilation is the December 1955/January 1956 "Ellis in Wonderland" on which Herb Ellis was joined by Jimmy Giuffre on tenor, Charlie Mariano on alto, Harry Edison on trumpet, Alvin Stoller on drums, and Oscar Peterson on piano (Ellis was a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1953 to 1958). "Nothing but the Blues" dates from October 1957, with Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Stan Getz on tenor, Ray Brown on bass, and Stan Levey on drums. "Herb Ellis Meets Jimmy Giuffre" dates from March 1959, and also present were Bud Shank & Art Pepper on alto, Richie Kamuca on tenor, Jim Hall supplying rhythm guitar, Joe Mondragon on bass, Stan Levey on drums and Lou Levy on piano. In June 1960 Herb recorded "Thank You, Charlie Christian" with Frank Stazzari on piano, Harry Babasin on cello, Chuck Berghofer on bass, and Kenny Hume on drums.
Herb Ellis has been described as a bop-based guitarist with a slight country twang to his sound. The latter is due to his Texan background, where he would have grown up against a background of Western Swing, but these early recordings also reflect a very blues-inflected approach to the music. He was strongly influenced by the playing of Charlie Christian, but there are echoes of earlier players, Lonnie Johnson being one who springs to mind. He brings a very individual style of single-note playing to these West Coast sessions, of which the Blues album is said to be his favourite. Wonderland is an expanded Peterson outfit, which includes his old campus colleague Jimmy Giuffre, of whom therefore we get a double helping, and why not? All four albums are much sought after, not least "Thank You, Charlie Christian" which, despite the less stellar line-up, is every bit as good. Review by Barry McCanna