Milestones

drummerless groups

75 posts in this topic

The Spanier-Bechet Big 4. Inspired apparently by the Rex Stewart, Barney Bigard,Django and Billy Taylor piano-less and drummer-less quartet from 1939.

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51FF9Z-3VyL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Sax/bass/guitar. Beautiful record.

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I keep thinking of more drummerless trios or larger. The number of such groups that recorded must be extremely large.

Here are some more that just came to mind a short while ago.

Kenny Drew Trio w. Philip Catherine & NHOP - Morning - Steeplechase

Horace Parlan Trio w. Doug Raney & Wilbur Little - Hi-Fly - Steeplechase

The Modest Jazz Trio w. jim Hall, Red Mitchell & Red Kelly - Pacific Jazz

Milt Jackson, Joe Pass & Ray Brown - The Big Three - Pablo

Ruby Braff w. Howard Alden & Frank Tate - Candid

Ruby Braff w. Gray Sargent, Jon Wheatley & Marshall Wood - Live at the Regattabar - Arbors

John Bunch w. Frank Vignola & John Webber - Do Not Disturb - Arbors

Kirk Lightsey w. Kevin Eubanks & Rufus Reid - From Kirk To Nat - Criss Cross

Lee Konitz w. Jimmy Rowles & Michael Moore - Tenorlee - Candid

Eddie Higgins w. John Pizzarelli & Jay Leonhart

Eddie Higgins w. Kevin Eubanks & Rufus Reid - Those Quiet Days - Sunnyside

Edited by Peter Friedman

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I'm sure all these drummerless groups albums are fine, but for the most part, they're pretty much the same type of thing the leaders would put out, except they wouldn't have a drummer.

The only exceptions I'm aware of that cross over into what could be called "chamber-jazz" are the Giuffre group the OP mentioned and the john Benson Brooks/Cannonball Adderly, "Alabama Concerto" LP.

I can understand why there are very few LPs like the ones I mentioned above; they require:

1) A composer/arr. on the exalted level of a Giuffre or Brooks- they don't exactly grow on trees...

2) Muicians who can read very demanding music, and on top of that, improvise on a very deep level, like Giuffre, Adderly, Hall, Hinton and Pena could. These also don't grow on trees...

There were groups that tried to do this on a more superficial level; the Ahmad Jamal Trio, the Red Norvo Trio, but they lacked the type of writing that Giuffre and Brooks were capable of.

Can anyonethink of any LPs similar to the Giuffre or Brooks LP (I'm not interested in any free jazz or atonal examples)?

Giuffre made another LP that did away with the pulse completely; "Tangents In Jazz", but i forget if he used a drummer on it anyway.

Anyone know if there was a drummer on that?

Edited by sgcim

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Surprised no one's mentioned Ahmad Jamal's original trio with Ray Crawford, guitar; Israel Crosby, bass.

This is the one that will always come to mind. When I was first starting to listen to jazz, it never occurred to me that there could be a group playing jazz without drums. I picked the Jamal OKeh/Epic CD up more or less on a whim-- one of the first 20 or so jazz albums I bought-- and ... I can't really describe how much the music moved me from the first seconds of "Surrey With The Fringe on Top". Really, really opened my eyes. I can count on one hand the albums that have made such an instant impression on me.

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I'm sure all these drummerless groups albums are fine, but for the most part, they're pretty much the same type of thing the leaders would put out, except they wouldn't have a drummer.

The only exceptions I'm aware of that cross over into what could be called "chamber-jazz" are the Giuffre group the OP mentioned and the john Benson Brooks/Cannonball Adderly, "Alabama Concerto" LP.

I can understand why there are very few LPs like the ones I mentioned above; they require:

1) A composer/arr. on the exalted level of a Giuffre or Brooks- they don't exactly grow on trees...

2) Muicians who can read very demanding music, and on top of that, improvise on a very deep level, like Giuffre, Adderly, Hall, Hinton and Pena could. These also don't grow on trees...

There were groups that tried to do this on a more superficial level; the Ahmad Jamal Trio, the Red Norvo Trio, but they lacked the type of writing that Giuffre and Brooks were capable of.

Can anyonethink of any LPs similar to the Giuffre or Brooks LP (I'm not interested in any free jazz or atonal examples)?

Giuffre made another LP that did away with the pulse completely; "Tangents In Jazz", but i forget if he used a drummer on it anyway.

Anyone know if there was a drummer on that?

Yes, Artie Anton.

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I'm sure all these drummerless groups albums are fine, but for the most part, they're pretty much the same type of thing the leaders would put out, except they wouldn't have a drummer.

The only exceptions I'm aware of that cross over into what could be called "chamber-jazz" are the Giuffre group the OP mentioned and the john Benson Brooks/Cannonball Adderly, "Alabama Concerto" LP.

I can understand why there are very few LPs like the ones I mentioned above; they require:

1) A composer/arr. on the exalted level of a Giuffre or Brooks- they don't exactly grow on trees...

2) Muicians who can read very demanding music, and on top of that, improvise on a very deep level, like Giuffre, Adderly, Hall, Hinton and Pena could. These also don't grow on trees...

There were groups that tried to do this on a more superficial level; the Ahmad Jamal Trio, the Red Norvo Trio, but they lacked the type of writing that Giuffre and Brooks were capable of.

Can anyonethink of any LPs similar to the Giuffre or Brooks LP (I'm not interested in any free jazz or atonal examples)?

Giuffre made another LP that did away with the pulse completely; "Tangents In Jazz", but i forget if he used a drummer on it anyway.

Anyone know if there was a drummer on that?

Valid points ... but in light of combos like the Art Tatum and Nat Cole Trios or the glorious Bechet/Spanier Big Four (or the Hot Five), this is more about chronology and developments in jazz than about validity of concept, isn't it?

I mean sure, Giuffre (or Brooks - I'm not familiar with any of his work besides the Alabama album with Cannon) raised the bar for everyone *after* him, but there was a time before, too ;)

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I'm sure all these drummerless groups albums are fine, but for the most part, they're pretty much the same type of thing the leaders would put out, except they wouldn't have a drummer.

The only exceptions I'm aware of that cross over into what could be called "chamber-jazz" are the Giuffre group the OP mentioned and the john Benson Brooks/Cannonball Adderly, "Alabama Concerto" LP.

I can understand why there are very few LPs like the ones I mentioned above; they require:

1) A composer/arr. on the exalted level of a Giuffre or Brooks- they don't exactly grow on trees...

2) Muicians who can read very demanding music, and on top of that, improvise on a very deep level, like Giuffre, Adderly, Hall, Hinton and Pena could. These also don't grow on trees...

There were groups that tried to do this on a more superficial level; the Ahmad Jamal Trio, the Red Norvo Trio, but they lacked the type of writing that Giuffre and Brooks were capable of.

Can anyonethink of any LPs similar to the Giuffre or Brooks LP (I'm not interested in any free jazz or atonal examples)?

Giuffre made another LP that did away with the pulse completely; "Tangents In Jazz", but i forget if he used a drummer on it anyway.

Anyone know if there was a drummer on that?

Sounds like you're interested in semi-composed chamber jazz - kind of limited territory. I think that most jazz musicians who recorded with drummerless groups and most listeners to those groups (including myself) are are more interested in the improvising side of things. I guess you can throw out my recommendations. I didn't understand what you were looking for.

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I'm not the OP, so your recommendations are perfect for the thread.

I was just taking it in a different direction.

On the Giuffre and Adderly LPs, there is plenty of inspired improvisation; by Cannonball, Giuffre, Hall and Pena/Atlas.

The fact that they managed to integrate it with wonderful counterpoint, ensemble passages and use of dynamics not usually encountered in jazz, made records like these rather special,IMHO.

Jim Hall seemed to be interested in exploring these types of unusual jazz textures; in the 50s he wrote a wonderful piece for electric guitar and string quartet that also featured some great improvisatory work by Mr. Hall himself, and no drummer.

It's available on the LP "Jazz Abstractions", which was I think, under Gunther Schuller's name.

It's a shame he ended up aligning himself with musicians like Frisell and Metheny, because they seemed to exert a more placid influence on his music, when you compare it to the raw jazz feeling exhibited in his work in the 50s, IMHO.

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I'm sure all these drummerless groups albums are fine, but for the most part, they're pretty much the same type of thing the leaders would put out, except they wouldn't have a drummer.

The only exceptions I'm aware of that cross over into what could be called "chamber-jazz" are the Giuffre group the OP mentioned and the john Benson Brooks/Cannonball Adderly, "Alabama Concerto" LP.

I can understand why there are very few LPs like the ones I mentioned above; they require:

1) A composer/arr. on the exalted level of a Giuffre or Brooks- they don't exactly grow on trees...

2) Muicians who can read very demanding music, and on top of that, improvise on a very deep level, like Giuffre, Adderly, Hall, Hinton and Pena could. These also don't grow on trees...

There were groups that tried to do this on a more superficial level; the Ahmad Jamal Trio, the Red Norvo Trio, but they lacked the type of writing that Giuffre and Brooks were capable of.

Can anyonethink of any LPs similar to the Giuffre or Brooks LP (I'm not interested in any free jazz or atonal examples)?

Giuffre made another LP that did away with the pulse completely; "Tangents In Jazz", but i forget if he used a drummer on it anyway.

Anyone know if there was a drummer on that?

Sounds like you're interested in semi-composed chamber jazz - kind of limited territory. I think that most jazz musicians who recorded with drummerless groups and most listeners to those groups (including myself) are are more interested in the improvising side of things. I guess you can throw out my recommendations. I didn't understand what you were looking for.

I figured Iskra 1903 or a clutch of Company LPs wouldn't really fit in here...

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Leave us not forget the excellent and almost forgotten Clarence Profit Trio, which I believe pioneered the piano-guitar-bass format.

Not that it is terribly important, but FWIW Nat King Cole first recorded with the trio in 1938.

The weirdest drummerless group has to be Benny Goodman's orchestra, on September 25, 1941. As in "The Earl".

F

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There are several discs by Austrian trumpeter-composer Franz Koglmann that eschew drums, definitely in a chamber-jazz context, although a little freer than some. Koglmann studied/worked with Bill Dixon and Steve Lacy in the '70s.


The Message (ICP 009) is an interesting date from Willem Breuker (with Willem Van Manen, Maarten Altena and Peter Bennink). Music for a small-scale "opera."

2696091.jpg

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Leave us not forget the excellent and almost forgotten Clarence Profit Trio, which I believe pioneered the piano-guitar-bass format.

Not that it is terribly important, but FWIW Nat King Cole first recorded with the trio in 1938.

The weirdest drummerless group has to be Benny Goodman's orchestra, on September 25, 1941. As in "The Earl".

F

The circumstances behind "The Earl" were a bit odd -- according to pianist (and the composer of the piece) Mel Powell, a dispute between Goodman and Sid Catlett led Catlett to leave the studio -- but the performance itself isn't weird; it's superb and swings like crazy.

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Interesting comment about Metheny and Frisell having the influence of making Jim Hall sound more "placid." Hall, who from the beginning was one of the most subtle and genteel of all jazz players? Well, he could be adventurous, to be sure, but he tended to be low volume. "Raw" sounds can certainly be heard from Metheny and Frisell (both bearing rock influences), though more so in older days than nowadays.

Edited by Milestones

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Larry is so right about this. Jazz histories that give short shrift to pre-Armstrong styles, as though real jazz never existed before his maturity, are so very wrong. The early period of the art form is grand to hear and yielded some of the most beautiful music of the 20th century. (Which includes some of the bluest.)


In some ways, "Texas Moaner" (see posts #24 and #26) is the "bluest" jazz recording I know. Also, in case anyone thinks that jazz in 1924 still was in some primitive state of being, I'd say that it doesn't get much more sophisticated, in any meaningful sense, than this.


Herman Chittison Trio

Johnny Moore's 3 Blazers

Has anyone mentioned the Art Tatum Trio yet?

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Interesting comment about Metheny and Frisell having the influence of making Jim Hall sound more "placid." Hall, who from the beginning was one of the most subtle and genteel of all jazz players? Well, he could be adventurous, to be sure, but he tended to be low volume. "Raw" sounds can certainly be heard from Metheny and Frisell (both bearing rock influences), though more so in older days than nowadays.

I used the terms 'placid' and 'raw' in the sense of Hall adding pedals (electronic f/x) to his sound, like Frisell and Metheny in his later playing.

I happen to prefer his work with Giuffre, Rollins, and Evans more than his later stuff. YMMV.

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Leave us not forget the excellent and almost forgotten Clarence Profit Trio, which I believe pioneered the piano-guitar-bass format.

Not that it is terribly important, but FWIW Nat King Cole first recorded with the trio in 1938.

The weirdest drummerless group has to be Benny Goodman's orchestra, on September 25, 1941. As in "The Earl".

F

The circumstances behind "The Earl" were a bit odd -- according to pianist (and the composer of the piece) Mel Powell, a dispute between Goodman and Sid Catlett led Catlett to leave the studio -- but the performance itself isn't weird; it's superb and swings like crazy.

True, that. I meant rarest (as in a drummerless swing big band), rather than weirdest.

F

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I am having trouble locating CD versions of "Texas Moaners" and "Santa Claus Blues" referred to by Larry in posts # 24 and #26.

Any suggestions?

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I was just listening to Benny Golson's tenor-bass duet on "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" when I remembered a whole album by Stephen Riley, Once Upon a Dream on Steeplechase, which I discovered after Larry Kart's recommendation in this forum. This one is from that album.

In that vein there's Don Byas and Slam Stewart's duet at Town Hall 1945 ("I Got Rhythm" and "Indiana").

F

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I am having trouble locating CD versions of "Texas Moaners" and "Santa Claus Blues" referred to by Larry in posts # 24 and #26.

Any suggestions?

Can be found here:

https://archive.org/details/ClarenceWilliamsBlueFive-TexasMoaner1924

I guess I first heard it on this LP (which is in my dad's collection):

http://www.discogs.com/Louis-Armstrong-Sidney-Bechet-Louis-Armstrong-Sidney-Bechet-With-The-Clarence-Williams-Blue-Five/release/3315281

If you want it on CD, this here would be a great choice (but careful, that great series is addictive!):

http://www.fremeaux.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=64&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=803&option=com_virtuemart

It's also on the old 4CD set "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" - okay enough remastering I'd say, a good selection indeed, and very good notes in the rather extensive booklet.

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f6340ca885.jpg

Martial Solal Trio "Sans Tambour ni Trompette" (RCA) 1970 with Gilbert Rovere and Jean-Francois Jenny Clarke (bass)

Edited by soulpope

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Hmm, might need to find that one. J-F Jenny Clarke always makes an album a must have.

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Been on the hunt for quite a while. Not an easy one to track down.

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