Search Manic Mark's Blog

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Stax Of Sax - Herb Geller


Nightmare Alley

Stax Of Sax
Herb Geller Quintet
Produced by Herbert Marx
Cover Design: Sy Leichman
Photograph: Charles Varon
Jubilee Records JLP 1094

From the back cover: Herb Geller is out of the West Coast School with East Coast qualities integrated. He was born in Los Angeles. He has spent most of his career there. He is now home-based there. That 'cool atmosphere' is apparent in Herb's playing, in the feeding of harmonic lines, in the approach to improvisation.

But there is other background and history quite evident. There is the zest of the East, the vivid sound of New York. Herb worked in New York from 1949 to 1953. He was influenced by Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins. There are elements of their techniques and approaches to modernity in Herb's style. He observed and absorbed.

The rhythm in Stax Of Sax swing. From beginning to end, that beat, though subdued and deliberate, has a drive and freedom that is warm and moving. At times calm and effortless, it bubbles up to a dynamic and energetic feel.

Herb Geller's alto has a technique that is flexible and personal. He has a verve and a lift. The atmosphere he creates is alive and finely defined. His sound is clean and firm.

This group achieves a solid teamwork on these sides. The man on vibes is Vic Feldman. He's been around the scene with Woody Herman and is also heard on the Peter Gunn TV Show. Walter Morris is the pianist. His solos are relaxed, his execution sensitive and tasteful, his musical thoughts filled with effective harmonies.

Anthony Valley, the drummer, has a swinging drive that lays down a solid beat at all times. Leroy Vinnegar, heard so often with Shelly Manne, is one of the most melodic bassists in the country.

From Billboard - April 20, 1958: This is a truly swingin' five-track set. Geller comes into his own on this effort. Influence from Parker and Rollins, as mentioned in Mort Goode's readable notes, is clearly evident, tho he does come up with several refreshing and original ideas of his own. Vic Feidman is featured on vibes and adds much to the selections. Walter Morris, piano; Anthony Vazley, drums and Leroy Vinegar (great as usual on bass) complete the quintet. "It Might As Well Be Spring" is a good demo track.

Nightmare Alley
A Cool Day
The Princess
Change Partners
It Might As Well Be Spring

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy! Thanks for leaving your thoughts!