which featured some well-known personnel. One of the more interesting facts about this studio session is that it was done in 1961 but remained in the vault until 1980.
One of several surprises, for me personally, was that I would expect more of a Basie or Herman sound which didn't exist. I also didn't expect the Ellington sound so prevalent throughout the three part "Ballad of Jazz Street". This is not meant as a criticism....just something different than my expectations.
The opener is an original by Nat Pierce reminding me somewhat of a Neal Hefti composition, but more restrained and elegant swing in a style of the late '30s or early 40's. "Melancholy Baby" furthers that impression....(who plays that anymore?)...but it comes off well with some nice alto sax by Dick Meldonian.
The mood and tempo changes with "Black Jack", a composition by Gene Roland who did so many things for Stan Kenton. Paul Gonsalves, making the first of his many fine solos througout the album, is contrasted with another tenor saxist, Dick Hafer. Also of interest is the contrast of two trombonists, Jim Dahl and Eddie Bert, as well as two trumpets, Danny Stiles and Burt Collins.
Two Horace Silver compositions follow next, "Soulville" and "Sister Sadie". Nat Pierce had a successful arrangement for the Woody Herman band on the latter tune. Clark Terry has his first solo on this track.
The last three cuts, comprising "The Ballad of Jazz Street", are Ellington sounding from the get-go. Dig the reed section on the bluesy first part as well as the clarinet of Dick Meldonian which is very evocative of Jimmy Hamilton. The second part features more of Paul Gonsalves while the last spotlights Paul Quinichette. This last part has Pierce playing a lot like the Duke and about four minutes into it, the band comes in reminiscent of the famous "Diminuendo In Blue and Crescendo In Blue". Don't know why they did it that way but this track (and the album) ends in a cacophony of sound.....perhaps a portent of free style jazz of the future.
This cd is different....but interesting in the selection of material, arrangements, styles, and soloists....besides being big band.