The Originals Series offers listeners the opportunity to explore key albums from the Yellow Labels LP era and experience the power and passion of performances by a host of visionary artists. Now DG welcomes ten new titles to the range, including some of Karl Böhms recordings of Mozart wind concertos which have always been considered among the best. Here, the Wiener Philharmoniker principal Gunter Hogner demonstrates his skill and agility on the Viennese horn in Mozarts four horn concertos. Günter Högner plays with much character, and no-one will be disappointed with the DG issue, which is beautifully recorded and has splendid accompaniments from the WP under Böhm.
Two of pianist/vocalist Shirley Horn's rarest (and earliest) recordings are reissued in full on this single CD. Actually, Horn does not play piano at all, sticking exclusively to vocals, and she had less control over the interpretations (being persuaded to sing some songs at faster-than-usual tempos) than she would later on. The arrangements for the big bands that back Horn were written by Jimmy Jones and Quincy Jones and, although the overall music is enjoyable, Horn would have much preferred to be the pianist behind her own vocals. Since she would only record two other albums during the next 15 years (sticking to playing locally in the Washington, D.C., area while raising her daughter), this CD gives one a valuable look at the early Shirley Horn; her distinctive vocal style was already nearly fully formed.
On one of the first relatively straightahead sessions for GRP, baritonist Gerry Mulligan (accompanied by a rhythm section led by Dave Grusin's keyboards with an occasional horn section) performs six of his then-recent compositions including the title cut. Strangely enough, the most memorable selection is "I Never Was a Young Man" which has a rare but very effective Mulligan vocal.