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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Off Beat Percussion - Don Lamond

Forty-Second Street
Off Beat Percussion
Starring Don Lamond And His Orchestra
Originated and Produced by Enoch Light
Associate Producer: Julie Klages
Arrangements by Lew Davis
Recording Chief: Robert Fine
Mastering: George Piros
Command Records RS 842SD
Cover Design: S. Neil Fujita

This project was as much a platform for Lew Davis's outstanding arrangements and the fun light pop sound Enoch Light cultivated during the early 60s for Command as it is a showcase for Lamond's brand of drumming. As usual, the engineering is superb.

From the jacket notes: Lamond is a drummer who is primarily a musician – which is one of the reasons why he has reached the unique position of being the most in-demand drummer in New York. His musicianship has been developed through an unusually wide rage of experience. Although he has been a drummer from the very start, his early training was not the unusual picking-up of skills and techniques that is the process through which even many of the best drummers develop. Lamond's musical foundation was established when he studied at the famous Peabody Institute in Baltimore, one of the country's outstanding music schools.

With this background, he began a decade of grueling but priceless polishing of his talents with some of the major bands of the 1940s – first with Sonny Dunham's orchestra, then with Boyd Rayburn's forward-looking experimental band and finally as a member of Woody Herman's fabulous bands between 1945 and 1949.

The Herman band of 1945, now identified as the First Herd, is widely considered to have been on of the most exciting and potent bands that has ever been assembled. This band played with such ecstatic exuberance and fantastic virtuosity that Herman often said that it could be terrifying experience simply to stand up in front of the band. "When those guys blow," he once said, "I duck."

Generally credited as one of the prime spark plugs of this amazing group was Don Lamond, a powerhouse at the drums who drove the band with tremendous energy and superb skill. That First Herd really roared and the motivation for much of its roar came from the percussive dynamo at the drums. Later, with the Second Herd – the Herman band of 1947-49 – Lamond showed the breadth of his skill. The Second Herd was still a hard swinging group (as Herman's bands almost invariably are) but the distinctive quality of this band was the so-called "Four Brothers sound," the smooth saxophone voicing first used on Jimmy Giuffre's composition, Four Brothers. This called for a style of drumming that was far less explosive and much smoother, yet a style that had to retain the supple rhythmic qualities that were at the heart of the First Herd. Lamond made the shift readily and again gave this great bands much of its character.

Since 1950 Lamond has removed himself from that steady grind of one-nighters that life with a road band becomes and, settling outside New York, quickly established himself as the top studio drummer in New York, working on television, on recordings and, or rare occasion, playing with such specially organized groups as the bands Benny Goodman forms from time to time. He has, of course, played on many Command Records but this is the first time he has had the opportunity to develop his own ideas of the potentialities of drumming.

Session musicians include Dick Hyman on organ, Tony Mottle on guitar, Bob Haggart on bass and Bob Rosengarden ("adding percussive decoration") on drums.

Forty-Second Street
Don Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
Let's Face The Music And Dance
It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
It's Been A Long, Long Time
Drums In My Heart
I Won't Dance
Cheek To Cheek
I'm Beginning To See The Light
Sophisticated Lady
All Alone
The Big Brush Off

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