Shirley Horn: Live at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival

The second batch of music drawn from the Monterey Jazz Festival and released by MJF Records includes a few real winners. Fairly conventional are Shirley Horn’s Live at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival (although I will always remember how the boisterous crowd became practically silent as soon as she started singing), Jimmy Witherspoon’s Featuring Robben Ford from the 1972 festival, and Tito Puente’s Live at the 1977 Monterey Jazz Festival. 50 Years of Dave Brubeck features selections from nine of his Monterey appearances dating from 1958-2007, including three exciting numbers with altoist Paul Desmond, two with Gerry Mulligan in 1971, and a charming 2007 version of “Margie.” The Best of Cal Tjader spans 1958-80 and alternates between bop and Afro-Cuban jazz, with appearances from clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, John Lewis and, on “Manteca,” Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry. Best of all is Art Blakey and the Giants of Jazz from the 1972 festival. The Giants of Jazz normally consisted of Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Kai Winding, Thelonious Monk, Al McKibbon and Blakey. Gillespie could not make the festival so his spot was filled by both Clark Terry and Roy Eldridge, resulting in plenty of fireworks. And any time there are some “new” Monk solos, it is a good day.