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Alternatives to CDs for Those Last-Minute Shopping Sprees : Videos

December 19, 1993|ZAN STEWART

Compact discs are generally the gift of choice for the jazz enthusiast, but books and videos on jazz can be provocative and informative alternatives. Here are some of the year's top books and videos, as selected by members of The Times' jazz staff:

Charles Mingus, "Charles Mingus Sextet," Shanachie (59 min., $19.95). Taped in Norway in 1964, this concert features, sadly, four late jazz greats: the bassist; reedmen Eric Dolphy, who died suddenly two months after this performance; saxman Clifford Jordan; and drummer Dannie Richmond. The crack ensemble engages listeners with three extended works--among them Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train" and the leader's luxuriant "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blue." Dolphy is characteristically passionate and obtuse, Jordan hard-swinging and trumpeter Johnny Coles, ever underrated, is brilliant, offering statements that are personal and surprising.

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