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For years I have been lamenting that the current music scene is so lacking in performers of genuine talent that record companies are either scrounging through their vaults to find hitherto unreleased material from talented people, or releasing close to 80-minute compilations of the best tracks sometimes spread over an artist’s multiple albums. Today we are confronted by singers screeching at the top of their untrained voices with their faces contorted in apparent pain and rappers the lyrics of whose so-called “music” can all be substituted by, “Motherf***er this…motherf***er that.”

Well, here are some recently released “crackers” and not released locally to my knowledge but happily available on iTunes. First up is a 1962 recording by CBS only released in 2013 innocently called, “The White House Sessions Live”, taped in front of JFK and assembled guests. It features Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett. Just process that for a moment. Here you have Tony Bennett backed by the Dave Brubeck quartet! Separately the quartet performs a few hits and Tony sings some songs with his own group led by long-time accompanist Ralph Sharon.

Other gems you may like to look at are first up, “Legacy of a Legend” with many Brubeck tracks to top up a collection with any missing titles. Finally look up, “Verve Ultimate Cool”. Up will pop the covers of 20 albums from some of the greatest jazz musicians and singers ever. There must be tracks in that lot you don’t have to savour, let alone entire albums for your listening pleasure.

Jules Black

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