Butch Thompson: Handful of Keys, by Fats Waller
Butch Thompson: piano, Good Old New York (Daring Records)
I pulled the wrong track from this CD, I intended to include a bit more challenging composition from it. While I was never a huge fan of Garrison Keillor, Butch Thompson was by far his most interesting pianist and music director. He’s also a talented clarinetist, showcased on a duo piano LP that he recorded with James Dapogny for Stomp Off.
Martin Taylor: Moose the Mooche, by Charlie Parker
Martin Taylor: electric guitar, Solo (P3 Music)
This UK CD may not be that widely distributed in the US, so this may have been a tougher artist to identify. I heard him do a solo set in Nashville many years ago and got to know him through his recordings with Stephane Grappelli.
Jerry Bergonzi 4tet: Con Brio, by Jerry Bergonzi
Jerry Bergonzi: tenor saxophone, Mick Goodrick: electric guitar,
Bruce Gertz: bass, Adam Nussbaum: drums, On Again (Ram)
My introduction to Jerry Bergonzi was hearing him in the Dave Brubeck Quartet in the late 1970s. He also stepped in to play electric bass when Chris Brubeck soloed on bass trombone. This recording may be another one of those elusive European releases, though I imagine there will be a few listeners who thought that they should have recognized Mick Goodrick.
SWR Big Band + Clark Terry: Tee Pee Time, by Clark Terry
Clark Terry: trumpet & flugelhorn, Klaus Weigenleiter: piano
Jazz Matinee (Faszination Musik/Hanssler)
I think Clark Terry had one of the most recognizable sounds on both trumpet and flugelhorn, plus the ability to solo at a high level in almost any setting. This is one of a series of live meetings between the SWR Big Band and an American all-star.
Richie Beirach & Yoshiaki Masuo: Yesterdays, by Jerome Kern
Richie Beirach: piano, Yoshiaki Masuo: electric guitar
ZAL (Octave Lab/Trio Records)
I avoided buying Japanese CDs for a time due to the higher prices, but realized that I was missing a lot of great music not issued at all in the US. Richie Beirach is a perennial favorite of mine and this cut is a bit of a change from his typical recordings.
The Uptown String Quartet: Along Came Betty, by Benny Golson
Lesa Terry: violin, Diane Monroe: violin, Maxine Roach: viola, Eileen M. Folson: cello
Just Wait A Minute! (BlueMoon/Max Roach)
I had an opportunity to hear this string quartet in concert around the time this CD was released, but they seem to have disbanded a short time after it. While they are enjoyable, I don’t think that they have as much humor and spirit of adventure as the Turtle Island Quartet (formerly the Turtle Island String Quartet).
https://img.discogs.com/v3dkSsaihBaxTbDWxD8MyEgDgYM=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-5126350-1385215686-6776.jpeg.jpg Michel Legrand: Jitterbug Waltz, by Fats Waller
Herbie Mann: flute*, Betty Glamann: harp, Barry Galbraith: guitar, Miles Davis: trumpet*, John Coltrane: tenor sax, Phil Woods: alto sax*, Jerome Richardson: baritone sax, Eddie Costa: vibes, Bill Evans: piano*, Paul Chambers: bass, Kenny Dennis: drums (* = soloists)
Legrand Jazz (Philips)
I thought that this track would get identified quickly due to so many unique sounding soloists. A fun session…
The Peter Leitch New Life Jazz Orchestra: Spring Is Here, by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
Peter Leitch: arranger, conductor; Bill Mobley: trumpet, flugelhorn, Duane Eubanks: trumpet; Tim Harrison: flute; Dave Pietro: alto & soprano saxophones; Jed Levey: tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute; Carl Maraghi: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Matt Haviland: trombone; Max Siegel: bass trombone; Phil Robson: electric guitar; Chad Coe: acoustic guitar; Peter Zak: piano; Yoshi Waki: bass; Joe Strasser: drums
New Life (Jazz House)
I conducted a phone interview with Peter Leitch in the fall of 2018 for a Hot House article. I learned of his battle with cancer and the nerve damage from the treatments that left him unable to play guitar, which led to his focus on composing and arranging for a large ensemble, which he dubbed The New Life Orchestra.
It prompted me to book a flight and several day trip to New York City and I attended both sets on opening night at the late lamented Club 75. It was a memorable evening and I think that the two CD set issued late last year turned out rather well.
Rufus Reid Trio: Tricotism, by Oscar Pettiford
Rufus Reid: bass; Kirk Lightsey: piano; Eddie Gladden: drums
Perpetual Stroll (Sunnyside)
It’s hard for a bassist to go wrong by tackling this Oscar Pettiford jazz standard.
Bobby Jaspar: What’s New, by Bob Haggart & Johnny Burke
Bobby Jaspar: tenor saxophone; Tommy Flanagan: piano, Nobil Totah: bass; Elvin Jones: drums
Bobby Jaspar In Paris (Disques Swing) - an odd name for the release, given it was recorded in New York City…
Bobby Jaspar tends to get overlooked due to his early death, this is one of his best sessions.
Ahmed Abdul-Malik: Song of Delilah, by Victor Young & Ray Evans
Ahmed Abdul-Malik: bass; Ray Nance: violin; Paul Neves: piano; Seldon Powell: flute; Walter Perkins: drums
Spellbound (Real Gone Music/Status)
I always love tracking down recordings featuring Ray Nance on violin. Now if those small group concerts he did with Duke Ellington on a European tour will finally turn up…
Kirk Knuffke & Jesse Stacken: Slippers, by Charles Mingus
Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Jesse Stacken: piano
Orange Was The Color (SteepleChase)
Two strong young musicians who made several recordings together of merit. This is one of their best meetings.
Timeless All Stars: Alvin’s Smile, by Harold Land
Bobby Hutcherson: vibes; Harold Land: tenor saxophone; Curtis Fuller: trombone; Cedar Walton: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Billy Higgins: drums
With a number of Bobby Hutcherson fans on the board, I figured that this one would be identified quickly.
Frank Vignola & Vinnie Raniolo: You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, by Cole Porter
Frank Vignola: electric guitar; Vinnie Raniolo: electric guitar
Beloved Earth Songs (self-released)
I’ve had the chance to hear this duo in concert and they are a lot of fun and they have an incredible chemistry. I don’t know if they are still playing together.
Triad: Message to Love, by Jimi Hendrix
Geri Allen: piano; Mark Batson: piano; Scott Batson: piano
Three Pianos For Jimi (Douglas Music)
I am not a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, but I always enjoy hearing multiple piano recordings, probably from getting hooked on listening to Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, as you might have guessed from my earlier BFTs.
Art Tatum: Yesterdays, by Jerome Kern & Otto Harbach
a Zenph digitized re-performance of the pianist’s historic 1949 Pasadena concert, recorded live with an audience in 2007 at The Shrine Auditorium
Art Tatum: Live at the Shrine (Zenph Re-performance)
During the final 2008 IAJE in Toronto, Zenph Studios hosted a session and gave a demonstration of its piano reproduction of one track from Piano Starts Here, as its program replicated Art Tatum’s touch, pedaling and the recording was made on the reproducing piano with microphones above the strings and a second set positioned approximately where Tatum’s head would have been above the piano bench, enabling one to hear something similar to what the pianist heard as he played. There is also a regular version recorded from the microphones placed over the piano strings. Recorded with a live audience in the same venue.
I was trying to locate the Zenph brochure given out at IAJE, but it is misfiled in my office downstairs. There is also an Oscar Peterson title in this series and a Glenn Gould, but I think interest faded in the series after a short time.
Gene Bertoncini: Snowfall, by Claude Thornhill
Gene Bertoncini: nylon string acoustic guitar
Body And Soul (Ambient Records)
I didn’t know how many solo acoustic guitar fans there are who sample the blindfold tests, but Gene Bertoncini is a master who draws from standards, timeless jazz works and even opera. His duo sessions with bassist Michael Moore are also not to be missed. Sometimes I just need to take a break from the clutter and enjoy music such as this CD, which I’ve found is great for long dinners with my wife and a good bottle of wine.