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Various Artists: Leonard Feather Presents Bop

First released on Mode, this August 1957 session was intended by producer/annotator Feather to recreate “the atmosphere of a typical set at one of the old 52nd Street clubs,” a remark that, though made only a decade or so after the fact, clearly reflects an attitude favorable to the revival, or presentation, of classic bop forms and styles. Involved in this admirable project are such “street vets” as trumpeter Idrees Sulieman, pianist George Wallington, and drummer Denzil Best, while the slightly younger generation is represented by Thad Jones and Art Taylor, who replace Sulieman and Best on the second half of the ten-tune set, and Phil Woods, who consistently emerges as the most stylistically mature, swinging, and creative of the soloists. Barely 26 at the time and already the most original of Bird’s many disciples, Phil stands out from the pack by the lucidity of his ideas and the ease with which he delivers them. The tunes are all standard anthems of the early days, but special note should be made of the kitschy scat vocal duet by Phil and Thad on “Lemon Drop” and the unique appearance of five-year-old Charles Baird Parker singing the immortal lyrics of “Salt Peanuts,” a listening experience not easily forgotten.

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