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felser

AOTW June 25 - July 1

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Teddy Charles is, to me, one of the most underrecognized musicians in modern jazz history. He did some amazingly forward work in the Fifties, and 'Tentet', recorded for Atlantic in 1956, may be the best of the lot. 'A Word From Bird', recorded in 1957 for Atlantic, is also excellent, as are his earlier 'New Directions' recordings for Prestige. His subsequent work seemed to lose the vision of these mid-50's albums, taking on more late'50's commercial considerations ('A Salute to Hamp', 'Plays Ellington', 'Russia Goes Jazz', etc.), though 'Jazz in the Garden', with Waldron, Booker Little, and Booker Ervin is fine, though not up to the standards of these dates. Charles was an accomplished vibist, but his primary contributions were as a writer and arranger (he also was a busy producer). Working in a "cool" mode with a very advanced harmonic vocabulary, the writing and arrangements on these works is stunning. In addition to Charles, other arrangers on this album include Mal Waldron, Gil Evans, George Russell, and Jimmy Giuffre, other very forward thinkers of the time. Another underrated musician making similar inroads at the time was Gil Melle. I'm hoping some of the musicians and other more learned members on the board can explain in better technical terms what was going on in these recordings in this era, I just know this type of work from this era sounds great, and sounds unlike anything else before or since. Musicians in the Tentet include Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, J.R. Monterose, Mal Waldron and Jimmy Raney. Farmer, Raney, and Charles Mingus are among the musicians on 'A Word From Bird'.

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Great choice - and I second your thoughts about Teddy Charles being one of the most unrecognised musicians in modern jazz. To me this is something of a landmark recording - a distillation of all that was best in state-of-the-art mid-sized jazz arranging in the mid-50s. Gil Evans, George Russell, Charles himself, Mal Waldron and Jimmy Giuffre - almost a dream team of arrangers. Choice sidemen too - Gigi Gryce, JR Monterose, George Barrow. Doesn't get any better..

Was just by chance listening to the Atlantic black label original of this album this morning. A class act in every respect - dig that great cover design with Charles looking like Bono in shades ! :)

Edited by sidewinder

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You're right about the cover. I meant to mention it but forgot - especially cool considering that Charles actually looked like a balding accountant!

Edited by felser

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This may be the greatest tentet album in jazz history! ;)

Seriously, I second felser's statement. I've been collecting Charles' sessions ever since I got this one, but none of them surpasses it. This was an awesome group of musicians turning in a series of remarkable sessions bordering on Third Stream: Teddy Charles, George Russell, Art Farmer, Hal McKusick, Barry Galbraith etc. The CD reissue got a rave review back then in Jazz Podium.

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Charles was an accomplished vibist, but his primary contributions were as a writer and arranger (he also was a busy producer).

Indeed. I very much agree.

Great choice. Coolin' and Evolution are also very good. :)

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Oops! I see too late that this is going to be the AOTW. Sorry about that, Chief! Well, I expect there to be room for both the Monk and this, so I'll leave the Monk up unless you object.

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When I was in college, I mail-ordered a Miles Davis-Lee Konitz Prestige/New Jazz album called Ezz-Thetic. In those days, the catalogue listed only the title and price, so I didn't know what I was getting. It turned out to be four songs by the prinicpals including the title track; and two by guitarist Billy Bauer, who as I recall was on the other four.

Side 2 was a Teddy Charles quartet date from about 1953. The LP is packed away, and I'm unable to dig it out to see who else was in on that session, but it was great!

edit: Now that I see the discography (and thanks for that!), I can see that this is what it was:

Date: December 23, 1952

Location: NY

Teddy Charles (ldr), Teddy Charles (vib), Jimmy Raney (g), Dick Nivison (b), Ed Shaughnessy (d)

a. 407 Edging Out - 04:10 (Teddy Charles)

Esquire (Eng.) EP: EP 72

Prestige EP: EP 1350 - Teddy Charles New Directions With Jimmy Raney

b. 408 Nocturne - 02:48 (Teddy Charles)

c. 409 Composition For Four Pieces - 01:33 (Jimmy Raney)

d. 410 A Night In Tunisia - 06:43 (Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli)

Esquire (Eng.) EP: EP 72

Prestige EP: EP 1350 - Teddy Charles New Directions With Jimmy Raney

All titles on: - Prestige CD: OJCCD-122-2 - Collaboration West

- Prestige CD: OJCCD-1927-2 - New Directions

- New Jazz LP 12": NJLP 8295 - Ezz-thetic

- Prestige LP 10": PRLP 143 - New Directions (Vol. 1): Teddy Charles Quartet

Edited by GA Russell

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How about you change the AOTW to next week since Felser got there first.

Guy

OK

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This may be the greatest tentet album in jazz history! ;)

Seriously, I second felser's statement. I've been collecting Charles' sessions ever since I got this one, but none of them surpasses it. This was an awesome group of musicians turning in a series of remarkable sessions bordering on Third Stream: Teddy Charles, George Russell, Art Farmer, Hal McKusick, Barry Galbraith etc. The CD reissue got a rave review back then in Jazz Podium.

Mike's just about said it all, I never tire of listening to the dates from this time featuring the musicians Mke quotes. It still sounds so fresh 50 years on. And it's another album featured in the small 1975 volume, 'Modern Jazz 1945-70 The Essential Records'.

Listening on Japanese vinyl by he way.

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"Lydian M-1"! Still sounds great and different-logical today, and it sounded even more so at the time. I think I liked George Russell best around the time of this and the Jazz Workshop album (and, a bit later on, "Jazz in the Space Age"), when he was trying to tighten the nuts and bolts of his system to the maximum rather than loosening things up.

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"Lydian M-1"! Still sounds great and different-logical today, and it sounded even more so at the time. I think I liked George Russell best around the time of this and the Jazz Workshop album (and, a bit later on, "Jazz in the Space Age"), when he was trying to tighten the nuts and bolts of his system to the maximum rather than loosening things up.

Larry, totally agree with you about George Russell.

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I'm hoping some of the musicians and other more learned members on the board can explain in better technical terms what was going on in these recordings in this era, I just know this type of work from this era sounds great, and sounds unlike anything else before or since.

" Complex technical details of each composition could be given , but anybody understanding the jargon wouldn't need it . "

---Teddy Charles , The Tentet liner notes

Teddy Charles' chef d'oeuvre . A landmark of 50's Avant-Garde/Third Stream/ 'Egghead' jazz . From the opening martial snare drum and portentous theme statement of Vibrations , to the frenetic , woven rhythmic figures of Lydian M-1 , an album brimming with inventive writing , utterly organic ensemble playing and swinging improvisations . The seamless blend of composition and improvisation made all the more impressive by the demands placed on the musicians by the melodic complexity and harmonic novelty of much of the writing . One of many high points : The harmonic transmutation of Nature Boy into something even more languidly romantic than Charles' earlier arrangement for Miles . The background scoring behind the soloists adds a dreamy poignancy to their statements . Raney is magnificent throughout .

In re-reading Downbeat's five-star review I was struck by Jack Tracy's opening lines ,

" This is one that grows on you . There is so much to hear in the writing , so much going on in the group , so many solo moments of merit that come out at you in short bursts , and so much intensity in the entire performance , that a lot of listenings are just about mandatory . "

I owned the lp for many years before finally connecting with this music . Obviously not a record for the untempered jazz neophyte, its subtlety and dare I say it , gravitas , requires a degree of jazz seasoning , which in my case , came through such musical alchemists as Melle , Russell and 'jazzical' Mingus .

The quality of this music makes it all the more regrettable that an unissued track , a Teddy Charles original entitled , Majors , was likely lost in the Atlantic warehouse fire .

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Just got hold of a black label deepgroove copy of 'The Word From Bird' so it will be interesting playing these two great LPs back to back today.

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The particular aggregation of musicians that came together in January 1956 to record the Atlantic record was not heard in live performance during 1956 . In the spring the Tentet played at the City College of New York and were photographed there for the cover of the November 1956 Metronome . Hal Stein took over the tenor duties from J. R. Monterose , with Addison Farmer in place of Teddy Kotick and Al Dreares taking Joe Harris' drum chair .

TeddyCharlesTentet.jpg

Back Row L-R : Addison Farmer , Mal Waldron and Al Dreares

Front Row L-R : Gigi Gryce , Jimmy Raney , Don Butterfield , George Barrow , Hal Stein , Teddy Charles and Art Farmer

Fifty years ago this week ( July 7th 1956 ) another iteration of the Tentet performed at the Newport Jazz Festival . Personnel changes included : Jon Eardley on trumpet instead of Art Farmer , Barry Galbraith on guitar instead of Jimmy Raney , Hall Overton on piano instead of Mal Waldron and Ed Shaughnessy on drums instead of Joe Harris/Al Dreares .

TeddyCharlesTentetatNewport1956.jpg

Sources : Top Photo --- Metronome September 1956 , page 19 .

Bottom Photo --- Metronome Yearbook 1957 , page 8 .

The bottom photo shows David Broekman conducting the premiere of Teddy Charles' composition Word From Bird , which was recorded for Atlantic three months later .

Favorable reviews of the concert appeared in both Metronome and Downbeat . The concert was taped by Voice of America , and the tape now resides in the the Library of Congress . Perhaps someone here ( Bertrand ? ) could listen to the tape and share their impressions .

EDIT: Fixed dead image links .

Edited by Chas

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felser, I'm glad you started this thread. I hadn't thought about Teddy Charles in years.

I ordered his New Directions CD in the Concord sale, and I'm enjoying it. It includes the tracks I got in college.

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The particular aggregation of musicians that came together in January 1956 to record the Atlantic record was not heard in live performance during 1956 . In the spring the Tentet played at the City College of New York and were photographed there for the cover of the November 1956 Metronome . Hal Stein took over the tenor duties from J. R. Monterose , with Addison Farmer in place of Teddy Kotick and Al Dreares taking Joe Harris' drum chair .

Teddy%20Charles%20Tentet.jpg

Back Row L-R : Addison Farmer , Mal Waldron and Al Dreares

Front Row L-R : Gigi Gryce , Jimmy Raney , Don Butterfield , George Barrow , Hal Stein , Teddy Charles and Art Farmer

Fifty years ago this week ( July 7th 1956 ) another iteration of the Tentet performed at the Newport Jazz Festival . Personnel changes included : Jon Eardley on trumpet instead of Art Farmer , Barry Galbraith on guitar instead of Jimmy Raney , Hall Overton on piano instead of Mal Waldron and Ed Shaughnessy on drums instead of Joe Harris/Al Dreares .

Teddy%20Charles%20Tentet%20at%20Newport%201956.JPG

Sources : Top Photo --- Metronome September 1956 , page 19 .

Bottom Photo --- Metronome Yearbook 1957 , page 8 .

The bottom photo shows David Broekman conducting the premiere of Teddy Charles' composition Word From Bird , which was recorded for Atlantic three months later .

Favorable reviews of the concert appeared in both Metronome and Downbeat . The concert was taped by Voice of America , and the tape now resides in the the Library of Congress . Perhaps someone here ( Bertrand ? ) could listen to the tape and share their impressions .

Instead of the first photo I got an ad for "filelodge". Whaaaaa???? Now it's disappeared and the photo is there!

Edited by medjuck

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Thinking about this music once again, I can't help but think how great it would be if Concord would collect all of Charles' Prestige sessions into one box set - or maybe Mosaic all of his leader sessions. But this will remain a dream.

Edited by mikeweil

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Thinking about this music once again, I can't help but think how great it would be if Concord would collect all of Charles' Prestige sessions into one box set - or maybe Mosaic all of his leader sessions. But this will remain a dream.

I'd buy it too, but I think in the case of someone like Teddy Charles, the right approach is to be thankful that so much of his work was made available again at all in the CD age.

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I've been reading the Gigi Gryce book and it makes mention of the Tentet performance at Newport via VOA. Too bad these recordings seemingly haven't seen the light of day.  I would love to hear them. Anyways reading about the Tentet and coming across this thread will spur me into digging out this session and Teddy's other recordings. Its been awhile. Love this stuff. 

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