Search Manic Mark's Blog

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Giants Of Jazz - Brass - Volume V



Giants Of Jazz
The Jazz Greats
Brass - Volume V
EmArcy MG36053
A Product of Mercury Record Corporation

From the back cover: The remarkable series of albums dedicated to "Giants Of Jazz" hits a new high with this wonderful collection of performances featuring some of the leading brass men of our time.

Trombones take precedence on the first side, while trumpets have the spotlight on the second. Home, Too Marvelous For Words and Somebody Loves Me were originally recored under the name of George Wettling's New Yorkers, but the group assembled by that distinguished drummer for the date (on December 12, 1944) included Jack Teagarden, whose trombone and vocal work naturally dominated the proceedings. There is a brass bonus, too, in the presence of Joe Thomas, a fine trumpeter who played with Benny Carter and other name bands in the early 1940's. Completing the unique all-star lineup on this date are Coleman Hawkins, long acknowledged the first and foremost of all tenor saxophonists; Handk D'Amico, a fine clarinetist who had worked with Red Norvo, Tommy Dorsey and Raymond Scott; Herman Chittison, the fine pianist who has led his own trio for the past fifteen years; and Billy Taylor, the ex-Ellington bass player (not related to the piano player of the same name).

Liza,  Where Or When and Once In A While were recorded at a unique session by "Benny Morton's Trombone Choir," and the first date of this kind ever made. Benny Morton, a native New Yorker, was prominent in the 1930's with the bands of Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman and Count Basie, and in the '40's with Teddy Wilson, Raymond Scott and Edmond Hall. In recent years he has worked mainly in pit bands for Broadway shows, but he is remembered as one of the most personable trombone stylists. On this session, recorded May 30, 1944, he had with him Bill Harris, who was due the following year to win the first of a long series of Down Beat awards as the country's number one trombonist; Vik Dickenson, who was to wing the Esquire Silver Award in the trombone division in 1946 and 1947 (Vic, too,  is a Basie alumnus); and Claude Jones, who played in the Henderson, Calloway and Chick Webb bands and was with Duke Ellington from 1944-48. These four trombonists are accompanied by Johnny Guarnieri on piano, Al Hall on bass and the late Sid Catlett on drums.

St. Louis Blues, Don't Be That Way, I Want To Be Happy and Fiesta In Brass were recorded at a session that did for the trumpets what Morton's date accomplished for the trombones. Recorded in January, 1944 as the "Little Jazz Trumpet Ensemble,"these tunes feature Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge, Emmett Serry and Joe Thomas on trumpets, with Johnny Guarnieri, bassist Israel Crosby and drummer Cozy Cole. If our ears and the musicians' memories serve un correctly, the solo order is as follows. On St. Louis Blues – Eldridge, Thomas, Berry, Eldridge; on Don't Be That Way - the same; on I Want To  Be Happy – Berry, Eldridge, Thomas, Eldridge; on Fiesta In Brass – Eldridge, Thomas, Berry.

Finally, on My Man and El Salon De Gutbucket, another product of the 1944 Golden Era of jazz recording, we meet the one and only Charlie Shavers. At that time Charlie was just about winding up a seven-year association with the John Kirby Sextet and was just about to start an intermittent association with Tommy Dorsey that is still operative. On the beautiful muted mood of My Man and the open work on the swinging Gutbucket Blues, Charlie is aided  by four more true giants of jazz; Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone, Teddy Wilson on piano, Billy Taylor on bass, Denzil Best on drums.

Too Marvelous For Words
Somebody Loves Me
Where Or When
Once In A While
St. Louis Blues
Don't Be That Way
I Want To Be Happy
Fiesta In Brass
My Man
El Salon De Gutbucket

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy! Thanks for leaving your thoughts!