An essential batch of music – four overlooked gems from the German Ego label of the late 70s – one of which is a stone classic that we've treasured for decades! All albums here are incredible – but our absolute favorite is Benny Bailey's Serenade To A Planet
– a set that we think is one of the greatest jazz records ever! By the time of this 1976 release, trumpeter Benny Bailey had already had quite a history – working with Quincy Jones in his early years, and recording for MPS with the likes of Nathan Davis and the Clark Boland Big Band, as well as some of the best other players in Europe. This set's Benny's masterpiece – a soulful batch of tunes that feels like it was lifted from the catalog of Strata East, but which is played by a quintet that features Europeans Ferdinand Povel on tenor, Joe Haider on piano, and Isla Eckinger on bass – as well as American Kenny Clarke on drums. The vibe is perfect – and the group's harmoniously searching with a strong modal groove on nearly every track. Titles include "Aquarian Moods", "Neptunis", "Little B", and "The Kicker". East Of Isar is something of a follow-up to that date – done by Bailey with tenorist Sal Nistico – in a wonderful group that also includes Joe Haider on piano, Isla Eckinger on bass, and Billie Brooks on drums! The Haider/
Eckinger team are known from other Bailey sessions in Europe – all of which are fantastic – and they perform extremely well here, too. Tracks are long, with a wonderfully searching quality – and titles include "Blues For Trane", "Joyful Sadness", and "East Of Isar". Then, the set steps into Just For Fun – another great album with a very similar groove – thanks to rhythm from Joe Haider on piano, Gunter Lenz on bass, and Joe Nay on drums. The group's backing up tenorist Sal Nistico – usually a sleepy talent, but a sparkling one on this session, thanks to a lively lyrical rhythm section, and some great compositions by Joe Haider. The whole thing sparkles with the kind of imagination and energy that keeps you tracking down sessions on MPS and other European labels – and with tracks like "Beautiful Black Casanova", "Do Not Make Circles", and "7787", you won't be disappointed in this one! And last by not least is After A Long Time – from trumpeter Dusko Goykovich – a rare gem that's in a similar format to Benny Bailey's classic Serenade To A Planet
! Dusko stretches out beautifully on the record – in a group that features Joe Haider on piano, Roman Schwaller on tenor, Isla Eckinger on bass, and Alvin Queen on drums. Titles include "Emotionally", "After A Long Time", "Summit", "Mountain Witch", and "The Hunt Is On".