While RCA’s jazz department has gone the way of the dodo, the independent Koch Jazz is still mining the major label’s vaults for classic jazz reissues. Four new CDs, culled from the’40s, ’50s and ’60s, are dropping in record-store bins. Longtime Basie band guitarist Freddie Green’s first CD, Mr. Rhythm, is from 1956 and it features Al Cohn, Joe Newman, Henry Coker, Nat Pierce, Milt Hinton, Osie Johnson and Jo Jones. Ellington’s sidemen represent on Things Ain’t What They Used to Be, a combination of four small-group recordings made in the ’40s led by alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges and trumpeter Rex Stewart. Pianist Phineas Newborn cut several sessions in Memphis in 1956 and those recordings finally found their way onto the 1967 LP Phineas’ Rainbow featuring solo as well as trio and quartet performances with George Joyner, Philly Joe Jones and Calvin Newborn. Finally, the awkwardly named The Sextet of Orchestra U.S.A. and its interpretation of Mack the Knife from 1966 featuring Eric Dolphy, Thad Jones, John Lewis, Jimmy Raney, and others.
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