GOOD VIBES…Milt Jackson: The Early Years 1945-52

Along with Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson made the vibraphone a swinging instrument; in fact, he made it a BE-BOPPING instrument, advancing the swing era into the modern. This two cd set has Jackson in a wide variety of atmospheres, all before he formed the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet. The roots of that band are found here, however, as well as the nascent days of the music that came to change jazz forever, and for the better.

Absolutely essential recordings abound here, ranging from his stint with Dizzy Gillespie in a wild Boppin’ the Blues,” “A Night In Tunisia,”  “Dizzy Atmosphere” (with Charlie Parker), and “Tin Tin Deo” (with John Coltrane”  but some hip sounds with Coleman Hawkins’ Orchestra on “Bean and the Boys” and “You Go To My Head.” Some of the earliest sounds from Thelonious Monk are heard with Jackson on “I Mean You,” “Straight, No Chaser,” “Misterioso” “Criss Cross” and “Epistrophy” and a stint with trumpet legend Fats Navarro produces a joyful “The Skunk.”

He leads his own snappy groups in quartet and quintet settings, showing hints of the MJQ with John Lewis, Percy Heath and Al Jones on “Bluesology” and “Round Midnight.” A wondrous broadcast as the original incarnation of the MJQ with Charlie Parker sitting in on a flavorful “How High The Moon” which ends the rewarding compilation with a big “what if.” This one shows what the fuss of bebop was all about, and it was about a lot!

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