CSB046

West Coast Jazz Recommendations

218 posts in this topic

Hi all.

Having recently picked up the Bob Brookmeyer and Bud Shank Mosaic Selects, I've been "introduced" to the West Coast/cool jazz style. I've sure I've heard other bits of it here and there (some Stan Getz, for example), but I now realize that my CD buying for the last few years has revolved primarily around hard bop.

(A large part of my collection is made up of Blue Note albums from the late 1950s and the 1960s, so I guess that should be no surprise.)

Would anyone care to point me in the direction of some other representative albums of the West Coast style? I'll be wanting to focus on albums that have been released on CD, but I can do the legwork on determining what is in print or still available.

Thanks!

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The West Coast Classics series is a good start, albeit not widely available these days. That said, I've had good luck recently and have enjoyed the titles I've picked up in this series.

Here's a prior thread: West Coast Classics Thread

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Here are three of my favorites, all on CD:

Shorty Rogers - SR and his Giants/ Cool and Crazy/The Wild One (two ten-inch albums and an EP combined onto CD "Short Stops").

Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Mandel - I Want to Live! (Both albums combined onto one CD).

Shelly Manne plays Peter Gunn

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By the yardstick of this forum, that thread linked above is an ANTIQUE one. Can't find more recent ones right now but there was one not long ago initiated by Chewy, I think, which mentioned a lot of goodies across the whole field.

BTW, do NOT use Stan Getz or Gerry Mulligan as your main focal points! They were/are lumped in commonly with WCJ but Mulligan, for example, HATED that, and there definitely is a "cool" school that is NOT the most typical WCJ (just check out the farily huge share of 50s Stan Getz that was actually recorded in the East). So if you really want WCJ and not just "cool" 50s jazz (as opposed to the hard boppin' angry young horn blowers of the late 50s ;)), the by all means DO look way out West. ;)

And do use the West Coast Jazz books by Ted Gioia and Robert Gordon (and Alain Tercinet, if you can read French) for some vital background info and therefore written guidance.

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CSB046 - There are many many good examples of West Coast Jazz, but I will just list a few that come quickly to mind.

Shorty Rogers - Cool And Crazy - RCA

Bud Shank And Trombones - Fresh Sound

Bill Perkins And Richie Kamuca - Tenors Head On - Pacific Jazz

Art Pepper - The Artistry Of Pepper - Pacific Jazz

Barney Kessel - To Swing Or Not To Swing - Contemporary

Pete Jolly Trio & Sextet - Jolly Jumps In - RCA

Mel Lewis Sextet - VSOP / Mode

Stan Levey - Grand Stan - Bethlehem

Jim Hall - Jazz Guitar - Pacific Jazz

Bob Cooper - Coop - Contemporary

Chet Baker & Art Pepper - Playboys - Pacific Jazz

Shelly Manne - The West Coast Sound - Contemporary

Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, Vol.6 - Contemporary

I believe all of those I listed were recorded in the 1950's which was the

heyday of West Coast Jazz.

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Here are three of my favorites, all on CD:

Shorty Rogers - SR and his Giants/ Cool and Crazy/The Wild One (two ten-inch albums and an EP combined onto CD "Short Stops").

Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Mandel - I Want to Live! (Both albums combined onto one CD).

Shelly Manne plays Peter Gunn

Those Shorty Rogers tracks are great (and excellent as an introduction into WCJ, both musically and chronologically) but the CD version of "Short Stops" would be only second choice compared to the 2-LP set of "Short Stops" as the CD omits a lot of music (it has only 20 out of 32 tracks of the vinyl). So you will have to shop elsehere to find the "rest" (AFAIK his "Courts The Count" album is missing from the CD and that's a real pity).

The above list by Peter Friedman is excellent as a (longish) starter, and the Shorty Rogers "Cool and Crazy" album is on the abovementioneed "Short Stops" set, BTW.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Those Shorty Rogers tracks are great (and excellent as an introduction into WCJ, both musically and chronologically) but the CD version of "Short Stops" would be only second choice compared to the 2-LP set of "Short Stops" as the CD omits a lot of music (it has only 20 out of 32 tracks of the vinyl). So you will have to shop elsehere to find the "rest" (AFAIK his "Courts The Count" album is missing from the CD and that's a real pity).

That is correct, although frankly I think the Short Stops collection works better without the Count album.

I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

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I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

I've got that one somewhere on a UK London LP.

Worth a mention for Earl Anderza 'Outa Sight' here. That one was on the 'West Coast Classics' series and recommended to anyone who likes the Curtis Amy 'Katanga' as another good example of West Coast hard bop.

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The Bud Shank Quartets on Pacific Jazz are excellent. There's a nice 2 cd set on the british budget label Giant Steps that gathers the music together.

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Those Shorty Rogers tracks are great (and excellent as an introduction into WCJ, both musically and chronologically) but the CD version of "Short Stops" would be only second choice compared to the 2-LP set of "Short Stops" as the CD omits a lot of music (it has only 20 out of 32 tracks of the vinyl). So you will have to shop elsehere to find the "rest" (AFAIK his "Courts The Count" album is missing from the CD and that's a real pity).

That is correct, although frankly I think the Short Stops collection works better without the Count album.

I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

It is quite natural for tastes to vary, although I for one do see the continuity between those first two 10-inchers and the "Courts The Count" album. To me, the EP with the "Wild One" score would be much more of an "intruder" wuith all its rather dramatic film score ingredients. If I wanted to listen to the "Wild One" score in context I would not so much choose the other music from that album but rather the "Wild One" score (and then some more) by Leith Stevens on Decca (and reissued on Fresh Sound, for ex.). which brings me too name this Leith Stevens album as another recommendation for an interesting WCJ project and contrast with Shorty Rogers' treatment (the "All Stars" that Leith Stevens assembled for that recording really are just that - ALL stars: Rogers, Guiffre, Shank, Cooper, Bernhart, Freeman, Manne, Childers, Geller, Pena, Bunker, etc.).

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Thanks for all the ideas so far!

Worth a mention for Earl Anderza 'Outa Sight' here. That one was on the 'West Coast Classics' series and recommended to anyone who likes the Curtis Amy 'Katanga' as another good example of West Coast hard bop.

Almost forgot...I have the Curtis Amy Select as well. Good stuff!

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helen humes

teddy edwards

HAMPTON HAWES

Joe Maini.

Carl Perkins (blue suede bebop; very versatile musician)

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CSB046 - There are many many good examples of West Coast Jazz, but I will just list a few that come quickly to mind.

Shorty Rogers - Cool And Crazy - RCA

Bud Shank And Trombones - Fresh Sound

Bill Perkins And Richie Kamuca - Tenors Head On - Pacific Jazz

Art Pepper - The Artistry Of Pepper - Pacific Jazz

Barney Kessel - To Swing Or Not To Swing - Contemporary

Pete Jolly Trio & Sextet - Jolly Jumps In - RCA

Mel Lewis Sextet - VSOP / Mode

Stan Levey - Grand Stan - Bethlehem

Jim Hall - Jazz Guitar - Pacific Jazz

Bob Cooper - Coop - Contemporary

Chet Baker & Art Pepper - Playboys - Pacific Jazz

Shelly Manne - The West Coast Sound - Contemporary

Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, Vol.6 - Contemporary

I believe all of those I listed were recorded in the 1950's which was the

heyday of West Coast Jazz.

Very sound list, Peter, if I may say so. :)

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Joe Maini.

That 4CD European 'Complete Joe Maini' box is definitely worth seeking out.

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I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

I've got that one somewhere on a UK London LP.

That would be the original British issue? I bought it on Affinity in 1989 with a sleeve note by Brian Priestley.

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I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

I've got that one somewhere on a UK London LP.

That would be the original British issue? I bought it on Affinity in 1989 with a sleeve note by Brian Priestley.

Yes Bill - It's the 50s issue. Flimsy type sleeve and red deep-groove London label.

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Joe Maini.

That 4CD European 'Complete Joe Maini' box is definitely worth seeking out.

Speaking of box sets, may I give a big plug for

THE COMPLETE NOCTURNE RECORDINGS - Jazz in Hollywood Series

(3-CD box set Fresh Sound NR3CD101 - and NO, lest someone come up with the worn-out "Andorran thieves" argument again: NOPE, this set was endorsed fully by Nocturne co-founder Harry Babasin!)

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I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

I've got that one somewhere on a UK London LP.

That would be the original British issue? I bought it on Affinity in 1989 with a sleeve note by Brian Priestley.

Yes Bill - It's the 50s issue. Flimsy type sleeve and red deep-groove London label.

I remember it, but never owned it. (In those days you often got to know albums by borrowing them from friends - there were many jazz listeners, but with little disposable income at a time when records were comparatively very expensive.)

Edited by BillF

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I cannot recommend the Johnny Mandel/Gerry Mulligan "I Want to Live" highly enough.

I've got that one somewhere on a UK London LP.

That would be the original British issue? I bought it on Affinity in 1989 with a sleeve note by Brian Priestley.

Yes Bill - It's the 50s issue. Flimsy type sleeve and red deep-groove London label.

I remember it, but never owned it. (In those days you often got to know albums by borrowing them from friends - many jazz listeners, but with little disposable income at a time when records were comparatively very expensive.)

There were TWO I Want to Live albums, BTW; The Johnny Mandel album and the companion album by Gerry Mulligan. They are both on the CD. There is an overlap of thematic material between the two but the arrangements and performances are different.

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Teddy Edward's Teddy's Ready is a swell session, with Billy Higgins on drums. The Curtis Counce albums with Carl Perkins and Jack Sheldon are uniformly terrific, Harold Land's The Fox & Harold in the Land of Jazz also come to mind.

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Smack Up, Intensity- really all the Contemporary Peppers are great.

Joe Gordon's Lookin' Good! Gordon was in Shelly Manne's band for the Blackhawk sessions, Son of Gunn and others.

I was just listening to Presenting Red Mitchell and there's some sweet James Clay playing on it.

All of the above are available from emusic.

The long oop Baker/Pepper Playboys mentioned above was reissued as A Picture of Heath, and was only recently deleted. Might be easier to find...

Edited by sjarrell

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Teddy Edward's Teddy's Ready is a swell session, with Billy Higgins on drums. The Curtis Counce albums with Carl Perkins and Jack Sheldon are uniformly terrific, Harold Land's The Fox & Harold in the Land of Jazz also come to mind.

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Smack Up, Intensity- really all the Contemporary Peppers are great.

Joe Gordon's Lookin' Good! Gordon was in Shelly Manne's band for the Blackhawk sessions, Son of Gunn and others.

Yes the above really are nice enough but don't you think you are about to fall back into what might be termed "West Coast Hard Bop"? Kind of redundant if - above all - one is out to grasp the essence of relatively "cool" West Coast Jazz, isn't it? ;)

Or to put it another way, IMHO many of the above records tend to fall into one SIDE aspect the West Coast "jazz scene" of those times. Just like the Central Avenue scene of the late 40s was one aspect of jazz on the West Coast (an important and fascinating aspect and yet it was not at the core of West Coast Jazz per se - note the slight difference between the "jazz on the West Coast" and "West Coast Jazz" tags ;) ).

Shorty Rogers, Howard Rumsey, the Gellers, Jack Montrose, Jack Sheldon, Bill Perkins, Shelly Manne, Bob Gordon, Bob Cooper, Russ Freeman, Hamp Hawes, Richie Kamuca, Marty Paich, Lennie Niehaus, Harry Babasin (and many more) - this is (a bit more) where it's at. ;)

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Maybe so- Pepper had been mentioned before in the thread, Alan had mentioned Teddy, besides that I was trying to name players that weren't so obvious, hadn't been mentioned yet, and we're easy to find. I could have made a huge list of Mulligan and Baker recordings, a bigger list of OOP stuff.

The Freeman/Twardzik Trio disc is one of my favorites, but it's hard to find, alas.

Edit: Another favorite: The VSOP Richie Kamuca Quartet is at emusic too, also w/ Perkins on piano.

Edited by sjarrell

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I would start with this - I think this might be out of print however.

It contains two of the most smokin' west coast sessions EVER! The first half is by clarinetist John Carter and features Bobby Bradford on trumpet. The second session is by Horace Tapscott (one of the most under-appreciated jazz masters), and features a young Arthur Blythe.

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Edit: Another favorite: The VSOP Richie Kamuca Quartet is at emusic too, also w/ Perkins on piano.

Yep, definitely a keeper, that one! I'd also recommend the Kamuca 'West Coast Jazz in Hi-Fi' cd w/Rosolino, Candoli, Holman, Guaraldi, etc.

...as well as Lou Levy's 'Jazz in Four Colors' (RCA)

Edited by Son-of-a-Weizen

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I think our comrade who started the thread is really looking for West Coast things that are "representative of that style." It sounds like he has lots of hard bop already. While there are some hard-bopping West Coasters who challenge the stereotype, I'm not sure that's really what he's seeking. Still, lots of good suggestions so far.

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