Academy and Grammy Award-winning composer/arranger Michel Legrand (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Summer of ’42, The Thomas Crown Affair) was not a household name in America in 1958, but he was renowned among musicians and a life-long fanatic of American jazz and its players. Legrand Jazz is the result of Legrand traveling to America and using his Columbia Records contract to enlist label mates (and soon to be legends) Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, Ben Webster, Hank Jones, Herbie Mann, Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, Art Farmer, Sheldon Powell, Teo Macero, Milt Hinton, Jimmy Cleveland, and others to record his fantastical reimagining of 11 jazz standards. Not merely content to lay down another Parisian hard-bop play-along, the 27 year old worked against type and expectations at every turn, creating a moody, idiosyncratic landscape for unusual call-and-response chase solos, washes of harp and vibes, and sultry horn canvases. Davis, Coltrane and the others manage to fall in with the diverse, mellow flow of Legrand’s arrangements while keeping their unique musical voices.
You may have heard–and possibly been disappointed by–a recent LP reissue of Legrand Jazz, but where that reissue was sourced from a poor digital copy source, Impex’s pristine new release was mastered by Chris Bellman and Bob Donnelly on Bernie Grundman’s All-Tube cutting lathe from Mark Wilder’s 2-track, all-analog mix down of the original studio work prints, then cut straight to a DSD high-resolution digital deck. The results are relevatory. The large recording space is captured in every detail, while Davis’ full-force dynamism pushes through with incredible veracity. The gentle ebb-and-flow of Legrand’s parts highlight microtonal fluctuations on every track. You are along for a magic carpet ride of large jazz ensemble recording when you press play on this amazing Super Audio Compact Disc. Even the hybrid CD layer is encoded with HDCD decoding, for superior fidelity on players which support the codec.
We have created a special booklet with original artwork featuring reworkings of photographs that corresponds to Legrand’s journey to explore his unique take on this very American idiom. This is a seminal reissue of a towering composer’s masterpiece of reinvention and sublime fan-boy enthusiasm. This release will be one of the hottest rare release issues of the year and a great way to experience magic created that June in New York. We don’t need to tell you to commande vôtre tôt!
1. The Jitterbug Waltz
3. Night In Tunisia
4. Blue and Sentimental
5. Stompin’ at the Savoy
7. Wild Man Blues
9. ‘Round Midnight
10. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
11. In a Mist