Verve Records has compiled some of the greatest jazz recordings of all time on a new CD called "Pure Jazz." It's no surprise then that Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Nat "King" Cole and Billie Holiday are included on this 18-track collection.
Benny Goodman and his Orchestra's appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1938 was a defining moment in big band jazz. It was the first time a swing band ever played at Carnegie Hall, particularly one that played with as much raw energy and passion. Louis Prima composed this Goodman standard "Sing, Sing, Sing."
The pairing of Louis Armstrong with Ella Fitzgerald was another defining moment in jazz history. "Summertime" from "Porgy and Bess" never sounded better than when Louis and Ella first recorded it in 1957. It is one of 16 melodies from George Gershwin's famed opera shared by two of jazz's best loved voices.
The next voice needs no introduction. Nat "King" Cole made his mark as one of the era's finest jazz pianists, but he reached new heights as a pop and jazz singer. Ironically, 38 years after this recording of "Unforgettable," Nat's daughter Natalie gained even more fame with an overdub "duet" featuring her late father on the same song.
Jazz invaded the pop charts in 1964 when the Brazilian sound of bossa nova arrived in the United States. It is not too often a jazz song makes it onto the pop chart, but in 1964, "The Girl From Ipanema" by Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim soared all the way to number five on the charts. It featured Stan Getz on saxophone and husband-and-wife Joao and Astrud Gilberto on vocals.
Dave Brubeck turned the jazz world on its ear with this polyrhythmic classic "Take Five" with Dave Brubeck on piano and Paul Desmond on soprano saxophone with Desmond's "Take Five."
With a title like "Pure Jazz," Verve's new collection of jazz hits would not be complete without one of the purest jazz voices of all, Billie Holiday. At her best in 1941, Holiday recorded one of her own compositions "God Bless The Child." It sounds as good today as it did 60 years ago.