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Charlie Shavers : Complete Intimate Interpretations

Charlie Shavers was one of the greatest trumpeters of all time. He gained early recognition as a teenager in the late 1930s playing with the John Kirby Sextet, an important cool-jazz group that was the Modern Jazz Quartet of its time. He had a long-term association with Tommy Dorsey that both helped and hurt him, assisting him financially but damaging his cutting-edge credibility by relegating his talents to nostalgic swing material. However, Shavers’ real legacy includes his projects away from TD, including defeating Roy Eldridge in trumpet battles with Jazz at the Philharmonic, freelance dates and his own infrequent sessions.

Lone Hill Jazz has reissued all of Shavers’ albums as a leader from 1955-65 on five CDs, save for some obscure material for Sesac. Complete Intimate Interpretations (LHJ 10159) is an unadventurous “trumpet with strings” set while Horn O’ Plenty (LHJ 10140) includes a reunion with the surviving Kirby players and a Dixieland-flavored date featuring Cole Porter tunes. Best are Complete Recordings 1, 2 and 3 (LHJ 10182, 1183 and 10184) which showcase Shavers in quartets with pianist Ray Bryant. During those concise performances, Shavers shows off his glorious tone, wide range, inspired wit and ability to play one spectacular solo after another.

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