Friday, April 19, 2024

Ahmad Jamal Cheek To Cheek (Live At The Spotlite Club, Washington, D.C./1958)

with Israel Crosby on base and Vernel Fournier on drums.

Shorty Rogers Is Long On West Coast Jazz [From the Archives with Additions]

 © -  Steven A. Cerra - copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“The definition of "West Coast Jazz?" You know, I've been asked that question so many times. It's a hard one. I'm not trying to evade the question, I'm just trying to figure it out myself. Maybe I was a practitioner of it, but as I think it over, all of us in music are products of our environment and heritage. Shelly Manne, Jimmy Giuffre and myself who are so distinctly associated with this sound...when I look back at our musical heritage, I remember that we all loved the Kansas City 7, a small unit out of the Basie band, and groups that you don't hear people speak about anymore. Bassist John Kirby, for instance, had kind of soft sounding group.

Just to express ourselves and have fun, some of our tunes were in the softer groove. Lester Young played clarinet in the Kansas City 7 and created a sound much like Giuffre was getting later. If you research it and analyze it, you'll see a very strong similarity between the Kansas City 7 sound and what later became known as the "West Coast Jazz" sound. A quite similar sound coming out of the East Coast was called "Cool Jazz." They are kind of interrelated with each other.

The bottom line is we're just a few guys trying to have fun, enjoying and expressing ourselves through playing.”
Shorty Rogers as quoted in Steven Harris, The Kenton Kronicles

Although not specifically credited, the following piece on Shorty Rogers appeared under the continually running “The West Coast of Jazz” series in the February 5, 1959 edition of Down Beat magazine. The Los Angeles Associate Editor at that time was John Tynan who more than likely penned the piece.

As you read about what was going on in Shorty’s career in 1959, please keep in mind that this is just one aspect of the vibrant and dynamic musical scene that was the world of many Los Angeles based Jazz musicians.

Doing movie studio calls, radio jingles and TV commercials during the day and playing Jazz gigs at night while interspersing recording sessions at all hours of the day and night was the norm.

It was a marvelously creative time for all concerned.

Who knew that in less than a decade much of it, if not most of it, would all be over?! With the benefit of hindsight, there is an ironic twist to one meaning for the word  “long” in the title of this piece.

“Arms dangling, head bent and bobbing to the beat, fingers snapping and jaws chomping gum, the short, dark-bearded trumpeter stood alone in the center of the recording studio listening to a playback.

Shorty Rogers had left his horn at home for this particular record date. In his capacity as west coast supervisor for RCA-Victor jazz albums his job in this instance was in the booth, overseeing the performance of a small group, led by tenor-ist Jack Montrose, which included Red Norvo (Shorty's brother-in-law), Barney Kessel, Red Wooten, and Mel Lewis.

''Swell, fellas," Shorty drawled as the playback ended, "let's go on to the next one."

Back at his bench in the booth, Rogers lit his tenth cigarette since the session began, took a swig from a bottle of coke and, when the musicians were ready, cued them on the first take of the next number.

During Montrose's solo, Shorty nodded repeatedly, a broad smile on his face. "The closer Jack gets to the shape of a pretzel," he grinned, "the funkier he plays."

"The Kenton guys used to call Jack 'George Washington' because he looks just like him. See?" Impulsively he pulled out a dollar bill, blocked off Washington's head, triumphantly repeating, "See? The cover of this album's gonna be a dollar bill," he chuckled.

With an unusually generous capacity for fun and laughter, 34-year-old Milton Rogers, late of Great Barrington, Mass., has much to enjoy these days.

Now solidly established at Victor's Hollywood office as jazz chief, his arranging chores know little letup as he churns out endless charts for record dates that range from his own swingers to the most commercial pop singles.

Shorty works all hours of the day or night, when he has a deadline to meet, in a large, untidy work room in back of his redwood-and-brick ranch style Van Nuys, Calif., home. Here an old upright piano stands in a corner adjacent to the large draftsman's table on which he writes. The rest of the space is taken up by a clutter of papers, a guitar and miscellany on a low table, old magazines and a variety of bric a brac. On the far side of the room four multicolored mobiles dangle and stir restlessly in perfect balance.

"I shut the door and make these," he laughed, "and my wife thinks I'm writing."

Marge, Shorty's pretty, blond wife, functions in the very positive capacities of wife, mother of three sprouting children and intelligent manager of her husband's business affairs.

Tangible results of Mrs. Rogers' skill in management are evident in many corners of Shorty's demesne. Not only is his back garden graced by a large swimming pool, but he has had built two poolside Polynesian-type grass huts, one for changing clothes, the other a cabana with table and chairs.

Here his three children, Michele, 11; Mike, 9, and Marshall, 7, romp to their hearts' delight while Mom and Dad relax in the cabana enjoying the fruits of a successful career in music.

A typical week's activity for Shorty was the seven-day period preceding Down Beat's interview. Monday he had a record date with a vocalist; he wrote four arrangements for that. The next four days were spent locked in his study, completing charts for his own big band date, Chances Are — It Swings, set for April release. Saturday Shorty spent in the studio, recording the album till the early morning hours.

On the day of rest, the trumpeter-arranger lounged around his home in a grey, terrycloth playsuit while wife and children visited relatives. Most of the afternoon he spent sprawled in the rumpus room watching a basketball game on one of three television sets in the house.

There is no question of Will success spoil Shorty Rogers?  It hasn't — personally nor musically. While his backbreaking writing chores are accepted as a happy vocation, he enjoys more than ever, he says, playing trumpet or Fluegelhorn.

"It's really a gas blowing now." He tugged at the short, curly beard, eyes twinkling. "I get the same feeling playing now as I used to get when I was real young. Today, when I get a club gig with the group, I feel like I'm back in high school when I play. It's my getting a chance to blow . . . a fresh feeling. Playing for enjoyment's sake, that's a groovy thing."

Shorty, who plays only on his own dates now, admits the tension and clinical atmosphere of a recording date puts somewhat of a strain on his own playing.

"There's such a lot to think about," he explained. "You're concerned with the writing, balance, kicking off the tempos, and all the rest of it. But in spite of all the hassle, when you get your horn up and blow, it's a relief from all the other complications."

Rogers' records have enjoyed particular success on the Victor label, and the sales statistics account for his being the only jazz artist on the west coast under long term contract to the Little Dog.

Though in charge of Victor jazz recording on the coast, Shorty spreads his talents to encompass much writing in the pop field, too. He doesn't feel that this versatility will work to his detriment with fans and buyers of his jazz albums and cites the activity of arrangers such as Neal Hefti and Al Cohn to support his contention. Besides, he argues, his connection with non-jazz record production provides additional work for the many jazzmen he calls to do the pop sessions.

"My using the jazz cats on these dates gives them a chance to prove to everybody that they're very good musicians who can handle any style music with ease," he stressed.

As the acknowledged first High Lama of modern jazz on the west coast, Rogers feels that if coast jazzmen are playing differently from their brothers in the east ". . . it's not because of their more stable, domesticated lives, but because they're listening more . . . to all music.”

"Jazz is constantly changing," he avered. "It's changing so rapidly that what's valid today might not be valid three weeks from now. So musicians have got to go on developing with it and, in turn, change the music to fit the time."

Shorty's efforts in this direction are due principally, he feels, to study under Dr. Wesley La Violette, Los Angeles teacher whose students include Red Norvo, Jim Hall, John Graas, and others.

To Rogers, LaViolette's main value and most important quality as a teacher is that "... he tries to teach the technique of writing. Just as a pianist works to develop his fingering, La Violette encourages his students to develop their personal writing technique. And within that lies the development of what you might call the 'inner technique' to be yourself and to express yourself."

As proof of the soundness of La Violette's method, Shorty cites the fact that none of those musicians who have studied under the white-haired maestro write alike.

Looking forward to touring Europe in the spring, Rogers said simply, "I'm a bug on the National Geographic and I'm dying to see some of those places I've been reading about/' Originally, he said, the tour was planned for last October but the promoters, changing their minds, felt that the hornman would encounter better weather in six months.

One of Shorty's favorite enthusiasms is the husband of his sister, Eve, Red Norvo. During the Montrose date red-headed Norvo was relaxing on a chair by the piano, arm propped on the chair back and his little cap tilted over one eye. Watching him from the booth, Shorty grinned. "Look at Red. He looks looks like a cross between Hemingway and Burl Ives." Then, he added, "For all the years Red's been around, it's really great to see his records doing so well for Victor.''

Shorty and Red are inveterate football fans. "When we go to a game together, Red is jumping up and down like a yo-yo, tearing his cap off his head, slapping it on again, yelling at the plays. And the cap is waving in the air like a flag. He's cute."

Of Bob Yorke, the RCA-Victor executive to whom Shorty is directly responsible, the trumpeter waxed eloquent. "He was the cat I did my first Victor albums for. Remember? He's a wonderful guy and a great friend to jazz musicians. Having him here is crazy for us because now he's in charge of everything. Yeah, it's a real break for jazz."”

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Shorty Rogers-Powder Puff.

Album "Shorty Rogers Short Stops" Shorty Rogers (arr,cond,tp), Milt Bernhart (tb), John Grass (fb), Gene Englund (tuba), Art Pepper (as), Jimmy Giuffre (ts), Hampton Hawes (p) Joe Mondragon (b), Shelly Manne (d).

Monday, April 15, 2024

Pancho from Latinville by Victor Feldman

The soloists are Frank Rosolino on trombone and Walter Benton on tenor saxophone.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bob Florence Limited Edition by Gordon Jack

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved

Gordon Jack is a frequent contributor to the Jazz Journal and a very generous friend in allowing JazzProfiles to re-publish his perceptive and well-researched writings on various topics about Jazz and its makers.

Gordon is the author of Fifties Jazz Talk An Oral Retrospective and he also developed the Gerry Mulligan discography in Raymond Horricks’ book Gerry Mulligan’s Ark.

The following article was published in the April 7, 2024 edition of Jazz Journal. Gordon is based in the UK and uses English spelling.

For more information and subscriptions please visit                 

© -Gordon Jack/JazzJournal, copyright protected; all rights reserved; used with the author’s permission.

“Between 1979 and 2006 Bob Florence recorded thirteen big band albums with his Limited Edition and each release was an event. One of the band’s notable features was a six-man saxophone section which was packed with doublers. No less than eighteen woodwinds were available to the leader who took full advantage of the stimulating tone colours available to him. The band could pin you to the chair with the brilliance of its attack combined with subtle dynamics worthy of the Basie band at its very best. As drummer Nick Ceroli once said, ”It can blow your head off or whisper in your ear”. 

Florence wrote many compelling originals and each album which presented totally fresh material was replete with a selection of his innovative themes. He was nominated for fifteen Grammy Awards over the years finally breaking through in 2000 when his Serendipity 18 won for Best Performance by a Jazz Ensemble.


He was born in Los Angeles in 1932 and began piano lessons when he was three. He had perfect-pitch together with a prodigious talent for the instrument, performing his first piano recital at the age of seven. After leaving high-school he took an arranging course at the LA City College where he organised a band which rehearsed at the local Musician’s Union. Lanny Morgan, Bob Hardaway (who both became Limited Edition members) Herb Geller and Jack Sheldon were all students at the college at that time. He soon became “mesmerised” by the sounds of the Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Woody Herman bands. After working for Alvino Rey, Les Brown, Louie Bellson and Harry James in the late fifties his career really took off around 1961 when he arranged “Up A Lazy River” for Si Zentner. It became a big hit and won a Grammy Award. This led to commissions from Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich and Count Basie as well as entries into the commercial world with Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Red Skelton and Frank Sinatra on their TV shows. 

He was not completely lost to jazz at this time because his 1964 big band recording of “Straight No Chaser” prompted this comment from Thelonious Monk in a DownBeat Blindfold Test, “It sounded so good, it made me like the song better! It was top-notch”. He particularly liked Herbie Harper’s trombone solo who later became a founder-member of the Limited Edition. Florence went on to work with Jack Jones, Julie Andrews and Lena Horne and for most of the 70s he toured with Vikki Carr as her musical director.

1979 was the year he introduced his Limited Edition with its stellar line-up of big band veterans who had left the rigours of the road for the security of the Los Angeles studio scene. They had all paid their dues over the years touring with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Louis Bellson, Charlie Barnet, Les Brown and Benny Goodman. Interpreting his demanding scores was clearly not a problem and it helped that the band was full of heavy-hitter soloists in each section. Here are some selected highlights from the band’s extensive discography, although it was not marketed under The Limited Edition title until 1983.

Their debut recording took place at Concerts By The Sea which was Howard Rumsey’s club on the pier at Redondo Beach. They were recorded there over four nights in June 1979. The band is really put through their paces on the extended “Be Bop Charlie” that is almost through-composed in its construction. It is dedicated to Chuck Niles who is the only jazz DJ with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Bob Hardaway (tenor) and Charlie Loper (trombone) both stretch out to good effect. Nick Ceroli who is better known for his commercial work with Herb Alpert proves here and on all his recordings with the band to be a fine big band drummer very much in the Buddy Rich tradition. “The Lonely Carousel” is a perfect vehicle for the lyrical flugelhorn of Warren Luening. Sounding very close to the great Guido Basso of Rob McConnell fame he is cushioned here by delicate writing for the woodwinds. Charlie Loper with a little hint of “Mad About The Boy” along the way thrives in the laid-back swing created by the band on “Wide Open Spaces”.

 Westlake, the band’s next release, was recorded nine months later. The album title finds the leader’s piano accompanied by subdued ensemble textures in a successful exercise in subtle dynamics. “One, Two, Three” is a suite of waltzes opening with an exciting up-tempo feature for Pete Christlieb revealing his Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis roots. The tempo slows for an elegant flugelhorn statement from Steve Huffsteter before the ensemble segues into a delightful baritone-led saxophone soli. The suite concludes with a storming soprano outing from Ray Pizzi who takes things out with another stimulating section soli. These tempo changes are of course handled with aplomb by Ceroli whether on sticks or brushes. Christlieb displays another side of his musicality with an emotional reading on “Autumn”. He really should be far better known. Despite the twenty-six albums recorded under his own name, he still seems to fly under the radar.

The well-named Magic Time was recorded in 1983 and Florence has intriguingly scored the album title for six clarinets, one of which is Bob Efford’s bass clarinet. Definitely not a sound you hear every day but very effective. Dick MItchell has an impressive flute outing before a saxophone soli becomes a spring-board for Charlie Loper’s trombone. He has a reputation for being “a great lead player who can play great jazz” as he demonstrates here. The chart climaxes with a thrilling ‘shout’ chorus that became something of a Limited Edition speciality over the years.  “Double Barrel Blues” is introduced by two choruses of funky chords from the leader’s electric piano. It is one of his cutest themes and London-born Bob Efford shows just why he was so highly thought of by his colleagues. The rich sonorities of his baritone both here and on “Bleuphoria” create a Carney-like intensity. “Rhythm And Blues” is an absolute tour-de-force from Lanny Morgan on alto. Through a blizzard of key changes it storms along at 90 bpm which should be impossible but Morgan manages to be inventive throughout. Bill Perkins once summed him up for me as, “the greatest, most dynamic jazz-oriented lead alto I ever played with”.

Their 1986 album Trash Can City was dedicated to Nick Ceroli who had died the previous year aged only forty-five. He was on all the previous Limited Edition albums and is replaced here by Peter Donald who had played extensively with the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big band. Bob called him, “a revelation”.  The CD opens with “Willowcrest” an original he first wrote for the Buddy Rich band in 1967 and it was to remain in the drummer’s book for years. There is an ethereal quality to “Jewels” which has Julie Andrews humming wordlessly much like Adelaide Hall did on “Creole Love Call” with Duke Ellington back in 1927. “The Bebop Treasure Chest” is a collection of subtle references to “Night In Tunisia”, “The Champ”, “Salt Peanuts”, “Bebop” and “Hot House”. Horace Silver’s “Doodlin’” though not part of the bebop vernacular is also referenced. “The Babbling Brook” is dedicated to Bob Brookmeyer who was one of Florence’s heroes. It is book-ended by the leader’s use of a Yamaha DX 7 which gets pretty close to Brookmeyer’s trombone sound electronically and it benefits from a fine chorus from the west-coast’s great Lestorian, Bob Cooper. 

In 1993 the band recorded its second live date titled Funupsmanship this time at the Moonlight Tango Café in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. It also introduces drummer Steve Houghton who was making his first album with Florence. The easy-paced “Slimehouse” is actually based on “Limehouse Blues” and introduces the ensemble without solos to an enthusiastic audience. “Funupsmanship” is a contrapuntal original worthy of Bill Holman (an acknowledged influence) with a fine trombone contribution from Alex Iles quoting “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and “Laura” along the way. “The Cat’s Waltzes” features a soulful Bob Efford and a particularly melodic Warren Luenning. Once again the ghost of Bill Holman hovers over the dynamic arrangement of “Come Rain Or Come Shine” which is a feature for the elegant Charlie Loper. On “Lester Leaps In”, Rick Culver (trombone) and Lanny Morgan find something totally fresh and original to play on Gershwin’s familiar harmony. Tenor-man Dick Mitchell positively bristles with authority and invention on Wayne Shorter’s up-tempo “Lester Left Town”. The album concludes with a twelve minute exploration of Miles Davis’ “All Blues” which is noticeable for the distinctive harmonies Bob Florence created for the brass section. Warren Luening who is very Miles-like in a harmon takes the solo honours. 

Their 2002 release, Whatever Bubbles Up, opens with “Dukeisms” which Bob wrote to celebrate the anniversary of Duke Ellington’s birth with suitable hints of “Cottontail”, “Happy Go Lucky Local” and “I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart”. The pure sound of Carl Saunders is featured on “Nerve Endings” recalling one of the unsung heroes of the trumpet – Don Fagerquist. “Chelsea Bridge” is a delight with Charlie Loper carrying the melody over attractive woodwind scoring before his section-mate Bob McChesney takes off for an inventive jazz chorus. Steve Huffsteter in a Harmon mute plots a lyrical course through “Q & A” which he has all to himself.

Eternal Licks & Grooves in 2006 opens and closes with respectful homages to Count Basie and Stan Kenton. The exciting “Eternal Licks & Grooves” (the title says it all) has the trombones introducing variations on “One O’Clock Jump” over repeated pedal-tones from the piano and the baritone. Tom Peterson’s beefy tenor and Larry Lunetta’s expressive trumpet are featured over backgrounds that hint at “Jumpin’ At The Woodside” before the ensemble closes with one of the best known codas in jazz, patented by the Count himself. 

The strangely titled “Appearing In Cleveland” is explained in the sleeve-note. Stan Kenton was once asked in a radio interview where he thought jazz was going. He modestly replied “We’re appearing in Cleveland on the thirtieth!” Drummer Peter Erskine who was with Kenton in the early seventies opens what is almost a mini-suite with an explosive burst on the cymbals leading to “Artistry In Rhythm” from the leader. A paraphrase of “Eager Beaver” introduces Bob Efford before “Intermission Riff” heralds a tempo-change and a brief quote from “Willis” which Florence introduced on the 1996 Earth CD. Larry Koonse (guitar) whose father played with Harry James and George Shearing steps up to the solo mike before the band reprises the “Artistry” theme which closed so many Kenton concerts over the years.

In conclusion it really is remarkable how consistent the Limited Edition personnel remained over the years. In a 1992 LA Times interview Florence saluted three of his regular sidemen Steve Huffsteter, Bob Efford and Lanny Morgan – “These guys are a real joy to work with”. Huffstseter appeared on all thirteen albums, Efford was on ten and Morgan was on six. In Lanny’s case it probably would have been far more if he had not spent most of the 1990s touring first class with Natalie Cole’s backing group.

Bob Florence Limited Edition Discography

Live At Concerts By The Sea (1979) Discovery 74005CD.

Westlake (1981) Discovery DSCD 832CD.

Soaring (1982) Sea Breeze SB2082CD.

Magic Time (1983) Trend TRCD 536.

Trash Can City (1986) Trend TRCD545.

State Of The Art (1988) USA Music Group USACD589.

Treasure Chest (1990) USA Music Group USACD 680.

Funupsmanship (1993) Mama Foundation MMF1006CD.

With All The Bells & Whistles (1995) Mama Foundation MMF 1011CD.

Earth (1996) Mama Foundation MMF 1016CD.

Serendipity 18 (1988) Mama Foundation MMF 1025CD

Whatever Bubbles Up (2002) Summit DCD360CD.

Eternal Licks & Grooves (2006) Mama Foundation MMF 1030CD. 


Bob Florence died in May 2008. Five months later The Limited Edition recorded a tribute album to him with Alan Broadbent in the piano chair – Legendary MAA 1037.”

Friday, April 12, 2024

Wes Montgomery Trio - A Dynamic New Sound

Wes on guitar with Mel Rhyne Hammond B-3 Organ and Paul Parker on drums.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Louis Stewart - Louis the First [Livia Records LRCD 2401]

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved

Derek Jewell - Sunday Times: "With luck he really could become the best jazz guitarist in the world."

Jack Carter - Crescendo: "Stewart's performance on these tracks clearly demonstrates that there will be many more albums, many more accolades."

Ronnie Scott: "Louis is a superbly talented natural musician. In my book he's one of the world's great jazz guitarists."

Ray Comiskey-Irish Times: "an excellent example of jazz guitar by a master."

Hugh de Camillis- Guitarist Magazine: "Guitarists Joe Pass and Ike Isaacs have both expressed to me that in their opinion he is the most promising young guitarist around at present... An excellent offering to grace the shelves of any record collection. I hope there will be more to follow."

  • The above are press comments from the original LP release of Louis the First

As a young man, so the story goes [not apocryphal], iconic Jazz guitarist Tal Farlow would listen to pianist Art Tatum’s piano wizardry on radio broadcasts in his family’s workshop and try to duplicate - on the guitar no less! - Art’s lightning finger runs, rapid glissandos and breakneck improvisations on the guitar!

Six strings versus 88 keys?!

After listening to guitarist Louis Stewart on the recently released Louis the First [Livia Records LRCD 2401], one has the feeling that Louis channeled his inner Tal and was privy to, if not the actual Tatum radio broadcasts, then a practice regimen similar to that of Farlow’s.

When Louis is in full stride, his improvised lines are a blur. Thankfully he uses this abundance of technique sparingly and in the service of the music on the nine tracks that make up Louis the First - five of which are trio, one a bass-guitar duet and three are solo guitar.

The music on this new CD dates back almost 40 years, yet it sounds like it was played and recorded only yesterday. 

Louis is a brilliant musician from every point of view: tone control, fluidity of ideas which dovetail into intriguing melodic improvised “lines” and a determined and unrelenting sense of swing.

He comes to play.

My preference are the five trio tracks. I think that his playing with bass and drums tends to settle him; his blazing technique is more readily brought into focus within the confines of this format.

Of the nine tracks, two are Jazz standards: Milt Jackson’s Bluesology and Wayne Shorter’s Footprints.

Four are from the Great American Songbook: All the Things You Are, Body and Soul, Alone Together, and Autumn Leaves.

Three are Modern Day Classics: Send in the Clowns, Here’s That Rainy Day and Jobim’s O Grande Amor.

This sweep of repertoire speaks to Louis' well-developed musical sensibilities as he is able to take the process of making Jazz into a variety of settings and create memorable interpretations and improvisations in each of them.

To my ears, the highlight of the recording is the duet with bassist Martin Walshe on Body and Soul, a song Jazz historian Ted Gioia describes as “the granddaddy of Jazz ballads, the quintessential torch song, and the ultimate measuring rod for … players of all generations.”

Louis and Martin barely hint at the original melody and instead dive deeply into intricate improvisations built around substituted chords and a wonderful “give and take” between the warm sounding acoustic instruments. The listener is treated to a 4.19 minute adventure in romantic balladry.

Alone Together with its unusual 14 bar A-theme based around a tonic major and the last 12 bar restatement concluding in a minor finds the trio digging in and rocking the peculiarities of the composition into an appealing series of hard-driving improvisations.

Wayne Shorter’s Footprints is just the ticket for creating improvisations that sound freeform but are actually based on formal structures which are hidden because they are not easy for the ear to discern. Louis, Martin and drummer John Woodham take full advantage of the blues progressions of the tune, which are similar to Miles Davis’ classic All Blues, to create a comfortable ¾ groove that is full of well-constructed improvisations encased in a dark, somewhat edgy feeling.

Recorded in 1975 when Louis was very much coming into his own as an artist, this is some of his best work: exhibiting total command of the tone and tenor of the instrument while creating interpretations that are full of risks that culminate in music that is accomplished and emotionally satisfying.

Stewart makes it all sound so easy and yet as the late pianist Bill Evans once said: “Making things sound easy in Jazz is 2 % talent and 98% hard work.”

At the time of these recordings, Louis had put in the hard work and paid his dues. As a result, we are in the presence of an accomplished artist, or to paraphrase his lifelong friend, pianist Jim Doherty: “By 1975, Louis was on fire so the time had come to record him as a leader.”

In addition to the superlative music on hand in Louis the First there is “a 16-page booklet with the original sleeve notes and new, extended notes including recollections from his close friend Jim Doherty and a trove of previously unseen photographs.”

With this CD reissue, Dermot Rogers has created another loving tribute to Louis Stewart, a guitarist who during his lifetime [1944-2016] was universally acclaimed as “the first true world-class Jazz musician to emerge from Ireland.”

Why not purchase a copy of this superb recording and join in the celebration. For order information go to