We Insist! Freedom Now Suite: This classic piece of art stands at the intersection of politics and music. It was recorded at a time when the civil rights movement was starting to heat up and drummer Max Roach composed and performed the seven-part suite dealing with black history, particularly slavery and racism.

Driva’ Man has a powerful statement by veteran tenor Coleman Hawkins and there is valuable solo space elsewhere for trumpeter Booker Little and trombonist Julian Priester, but it is the overall performance of Abbey Lincoln that is most notable. Formerly a nightclub singer, Lincoln really came into her own under Roach’s tutelage and she is a strong force throughout this intense set. On Triptych: Prayer / Protest / Peace, Lincoln is heard in duets with the drummer and her wrenching screams of rage are quite memorable.

Personnel: Max Roach – drums, Coleman Hawkins – tenor saxophone, Booker Little – trumpet, Julian Priester – trombone, Walter Benton – tenor saxophone, James Schenk – bass, Olantunji / Ray Mantilla – percussion, Abbey Lincoln / Oscar Brown Jr. – vocal

Record Date: Nola Penthouse Sound Studio, New York / August 31, 1960 & September 6, 1960 / Candid Records

Producer: Nat Hentoff

Songs: Driva’man, Freedom Day, Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace, All Africa, Tears For Johannesburg

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The Leading Man: This 1993 issued session is considered a classic for both material and performances of the various ensembles Harold Mabern put together. With the exception of DeJohnette and Carter, all the other players rotate throughout the sessions. Style and grace fill this recording.

Personnel: Harold Mabern – piano, Ron Carter – bass, Jack DeJohnette – drums, Bill Easley – alto saxophone, Bill Mobley – trumpet, Kevin Eubanks – guitar, and Pamela Baskin-Watson – vocals

Record Date: Columbia Records / November 9, 1992 – April 12, 1993

Cover: The cover is an alternate cover used for the import version of this session is currently unavailable. The U.S. release is still available.

Songs: Look On The Bright Side, Save The Best For Last, Full House, Alone Together, It’s A Lonesome Old Town, Yes And No, Moment’s Notice, Au Privave, B And B, Mercury Retro

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Jazz At The Blackhawk: The quartet that Cal Tjader kept together during 1956-57 was devoted to straight-ahead jazz. His Latin fans found ample consolation in the enjoyment of one of the most swinging groups the vibra-harpist ever led. This set was captured at The Blackhawk in San Francisco with an audience that actually got the sound and inspired the players.

Personnel: Cal Tjader – vibes, Vince Guaraldi – piano, Gene Wright – bass, Al Torre – drums

Record Date: Live at the Blackhawk, San Francisco / January 20, 1957

Songs: Bill B., Land’s End, I’ll Remember April, Blues In The Night, Thinking Of You, MJQ, I’ve Never Been In Love Before, Two For Blues Suite, When The Sun Comes Out, Lover, Come Back To Me

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Speak No Evil: This 1964 release by Wayne Shorter has been considered as one of his finer works and a “must have” for the serious collector. As he was in Miles Davis’ band at the time, this album did not receive the welcome it so deserved.

Personnel: Wayne Shorter – tenor saxophone, Freddie Hubbard – trumpet, Herbie Hancock – piano, Ron Carter – bass, Elvin Jones – drums

Recorded by: Rudy Van Gelder

Record Date: Blue Note – December 24, 1964

Cover: Photograph of Wayne Shorter and his first wife, Teruka Nakagami

Songs: Witch Hunt, Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, Dance Cadaverous, Speak No Evil, Infant Eyes, Wild Flower

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Royal Flush: This album was recorded by jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd and is notable for introducing pianist Herbie Hancock in his first Blue Note session.

Personnel: Donald Byrd – trumpet, Pepper Adams – baritone saxophone, Herbie Hancock – piano, Butch Warren – bass, Billy Higgins – drums

Record Date: Blue Note – 1961

Songs: Hush, I’m A Fool To Want You, Jorgie’s, Shangri-La, 6M’s, Requiem

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