As The Commitments’ Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan said: “I believe in starts.” Strong beginnings have made champions. And false starts have kicked the legs out from beneath them. Here, from Armstrong and Ellington’s first and sole studio collaboration, to genre-birthing landmarks, and onwards to present day album-openers, is a selection of jazz’s finest firsts. Brilliant starts that set the artists flying.
Armstrong and Ellington’s Duke’s Place opens the set as it opens their only combined studio effort “The Great Summit.” Modern day tenor sax-masters Kamasi Washington and Meilana Gillard soar through Fists Of Fury and Identity respectively. And piano virtuosos Dave Brubeck and Cecil Taylor take the listener on a journey across the ivories. In between are tracks from Coltrane and Julian Siegel. While Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, The Dwarfs Of East Agouza and Dave Holland bring the set towards its close. Back where modern jazz began: with Charlie Parker’s Ko Ko.