Riverside Records on the Naxos Jazz Library

One of the most important and beloved labels of all time in jazz history, Riverside Records was founded by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer in 1953, and produced many masterpieces by jazz giants such as Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and Wes Montgomery. Although no physical CDs are available from our libraries at the moment, you can stream some of their finest albums on the Naxos Jazz Library. Riverside Records was short-lived and all their masters were acquired by Fantasy Records, making them difficult to locate in the Naxos Jazz Library. Instead, click the link to go straight to their discography and search the artists or titles. Check our picks below and start streaming now!

Cover from Naxos WYNTON KELLY TRIO AND SEXTET: KELLY BLUE
Performed by: Kelly, Wynton; Wynton Kelly Sextet; Wynton Kelly Trio
“Kelly was an original stylist, who had a lyrical and economical approach and a way of insinuating the blues into everything he touched. You can feel it here in the moving “Willow Weep for Me” and the bright takes on “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise” and “On Green Dolphin Street,” just getting established as standards in the jazz repertoire and getting distinctive treatments here.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos THELONIOUS MONK: BRILLIANT CORNERS
Performed by: Henry, Ernie; Monk, Thelonious; Pettiford, Oscar; Roach, Max; Rollins, Sonny
Brilliant Corners is regarded as one of the finest albums in Thelonius Monks catalogue. The supporting musicians include Paul Chambers (better known for his work with Miles Davis), Max Roach, Clark Terry and Sonny Rollins, but it is Monks own work on piano that dominates the proceedings. An important and vital album, not just for Thelonius Monk, but for any serious jazz collector.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos BILL EVANS TRIO: WALTZ FOR DEBBY
Performed by: Bill Evans Trio
“The legendary last recording of Evans’ brilliant trio (with Paul Motian and Scott LaFaro, who died days after this was taped at the Village Vanguard). Invigorating freedom and deep emotion meet and cast a powerful spell.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos WES MONTGOMERY: FULL HOUSE
Performed by: Chambers, Paul; Cobb, Jimmy; Griffin, Johnny; Kelly, Wynton; Montgomery, Wes
“Recorded live at the the Tsubo in Berkeley, California, the back of the original album proudly proclaims ‘the top jazz guitarist, recorded in actual performance.’ It’s a rather undertstated introduction to an album that showcases to perfection Wes Montgomery’s abilities, a talent that no other jazz guitarist has come even close to matching.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk)

Cover from Naxos KENNY DREW TRIO: KENNY DREW TRIO
Performed by: Kenny Drew Trio
“Kenny Drew brings a pure bop angularity to this 1956 session, with driving single-note lines that clamber over one another to get at a new rhythmic detail, along with splashing chords that find the joy in the blues. He’s joined by a rhythm section that virtually defined the mid-1950s ethos: bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos CANNONBALL ADDERLEY SEXTET: IN NEW YORK
Performed by: Cannonball Adderley Sextet
“This excellent live date from the Village Vanguard was the recording debut of the Adderley sextet, with Cannonball waxing eloquently and swingingly on alto, brother Nat charging ahead on cornet, and the versatile Yusef Lateef adding a bit of an edge on tenor, flute, and unusually for a jazz wind player, oboe on the odd. Also, this was the first recorded appearance of pianist Joe Zawinul in Cannonball’s band.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover from Naxos RANDY WESTON: SOLO, DUO AND TRIO
Performed by: Blakey, Art; Gill, Sam; Weston, Randy
“Randy Weston’s distinctive compositions and pianism have long mined the music’s African sources to enrich the idiom. This CD presents Weston at the very beginnings of his recording career, combining his first two LPs. The earliest is a selection of eight Cole Porter tunes from 1954, played in duet with his regular partner, Sam Gill, a little-known bassist who provides solid and sympathetic foundations. The second combines a 1955 trio session, with Gill and Art Blakey on drums, and a series of solos from 1956.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos BLUE MITCHELL SEXTET: BLUE SOUL
Performed by: Blue Mitchell Sextet
“A session from 1959, BLUE SOUL finds Mitchell cooking in front of a band including bop aces Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, and Philly Joe Jones, and Wynton Kelly of Miles Davis fame. The program mostly consists of bright, earthy originals with plenty of hearty soloing. A delight for classic bop supporters.” (adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Cover from Naxos NAT ADDERLEY: WORK SONG
Performed by: Adderley, Nat; Betts, Keter; Hayes, Louis; Heath, Percy; Jones, Sam; Montgomery, Wes; Timmons, Bobby
“Released in 1960, Work Song finds cornetist Nat Adderley at his artistic peak with this bluesy, hard-bop gem. Numerous critics throughout the years have praised Adderley’s lyrical work on this album, which includes his own writing (his biggest hit, ‘Work Song’ and ‘Fallout’).” (adapted from amazon.com)

Cover from Naxos ART BLAKEY AND THE JAZZ MESSENGERS: CARAVAN
Performed by: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
“One of the great Jazz Messengers recordings, Blakey’s 1962 debut for Riverside featured Wayne Shorter, Curtis Fuller, Reggie Workman, Freddie Hubbard and Cedar Walton.” (adapted from amazon.com)

New books on Popular Music

jazzJazz by Herman Leonard
Accurately billed as the “definitive collection of [Leonard’s] work,” this volume gives his jazz photographs the attention they deserve, just months after his passing at age 87. His work has been collected before in smaller books or alongside critical commentary, but a single volume dedicated to his sessions with jazz musicians was missing. Ten years after the beautiful Blue Note Jazz Photography of Francis Wolff, this Leonard edition creates the perfect bookend for jazz portraiture, covering the seminal period of the medium from the 1940s through the 1960s, along with images from the last 20 years-e.g., picturing Wynton Marsalis and a young Trombone Shorty and late photographs of one of Leonard’s favorite subjects, Miles Davis. Compiling rarely seen photographs and his best-known images, this work also features a brief but enlightening interview with Leonard about the techniques of his work and his evolution with cameras. VERDICT Essential for any enthusiast of jazz or photography, this book belongs in every library as a tribute to these loved musicians. (Library Journals)

warpWarp by Rob Young
Since its foundation in 1989, Warp Records has become a synonym for futuristic adventures in sound and vision. “Warp” tells the story of how a small Sheffield dance label grew to foster an international range of artists including Aphex Twin, LFO, Autechre, Boards Of Canada, Squarepusher, Broadcast, Vincent Gallo, Tortoise, Antipop Consortium, Jimi Tenor, Plaid and Prefuse 73, eventually adding film production to its list of credits with Chris Cunningham, Chris Morris, and Lynne Ramsay. Coinciding with the rise of the internet as well as radical new music and multimedia technologies during the 1990s, which placed artistic control directly in the hands of musicians, “Warp’s” worldwide success had much to do with its unique relationship to its artists and a determination to remain independent and in control of its own destiny. “Warp” features interviews with the label’s key artists and co-founder Steve Beckett, sections on the prehistory of Sheffield electronica and “Warp’s” stunning artwork by the Designers Republic, plus many unseen photos, documents, press releases, cuttings and artefacts from the label’s lifespan, together with a complete discography/filmography from 1989-2005.(Book Jacket)

[Medium bookjacket]Serious fun : the life and music of Mike Nock by Norman Meehan
Serious Fun is the vibrant and accessible life story of one of New Zealand’s greatest musicians. Mike Nock’s childhood in 1940s Ngaruawahia and Nelson, and his adventures as a young teenager on the road with the Fabulous Flamingoes, and Maori rock’n’roll pioneer Johnny Cooper, are the stuff of Kiwi legend. In the magic years of 1958 and 1959, still a teenager, he was in Sydney playing with Australia’s best in The El Rocco nightclub, touring with artists of the stature of Coleman Hawkins, and recording his first LP. A Down Beat scholarship to the world’s premiere jazz school, Berklee in Boston, brought him gigs with musicians such Sam Rivers and Tony Williams, and eventually long stints with Yusef Lateef, Dionne Warwick and John Handy. Further highlights of Nock’s stellar international career included the founding in 1968 of pioneering fusion band The Fourth Way, and the classic ECM album Ondas in 1981. Mike Nock moved back south in the mid 1980s, to teach in the jazz programme at the Sydney Conservatorium, and has continued to extend his playing, composing and recording, working solo and with a wide range of jazz combos and classical ensembles. Norman Meehan, a musician himself, gives us a compelling account of the life of this volatile and creative man through a dramatic period in western culture. His responsive and accessible accounts of Nock’s compositions and recordings provide rich insights for musicians and music fans alike. (Syndetics summary)

kings of leonHoly rock & rollers : the story of Kings of Leon by Joel McIver
Seven years after their unprecedented arrival in the UK, they are finally making a name for themselves overseas, thanks to a series of hit albums and singles (peaking with 2008’s anthemic “Sex on Fire”) and a headline slot at Glastonbury in 2008 and at Reading in ’09. No longer indulging in the drugs which were threatening to come between them, the band are older, wiser and in a better position to reflect in their rise to glory. Their’s is a unique tale, from their youth as touring musicians in their preacher father’s church to their discovery by the American music industry and beyond. Joel McIver’s new book, the first ever Kings of Leon biography, digs deep into their history to reveal a band like no other. (Amazon.co.uk)

check theCheck the technique : liner notes for hip-hop junkies by Brian Coleman
“It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions … De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void and delivers a knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form.” “The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys – including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef – step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food – all played their part in creating these essential hip-hop albums.”(Book Jacket)

cohenVarious positions : a life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel
Known as the “Prince of Bummers,” Leonard Cohen is a multi-talented poet, singer-songwriter, novelist, and Zen Buddhist whose career has spanned more than forty years and inspired countless other artists. In this critically acclaimed biography originally published in 1996 by Pantheon Books, Ira Nadel draws on extensive interviews with Cohen, as well as excerpts from his unpublished letters, journals, notebooks, songs, and other writings, to offer a full portrait of this enigmatic man and his artistic career. A new concluding chapter brings Cohen’s story up-to-date, including the release of the albumsDear Heather,Ten New Songs,The Essential Leonard Cohen, andBlue Alert, as well as the publication ofBook of Longingand the screening of the documentary filmLeonard Cohen, I’m Your Man. (Syndetics summary)