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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mainstream Delights, 28 Sept. 2011
By 
J. Gibbons (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
At the centre of this double CD is the 'Songs for Swingers' session recorded by Columbia in 1958 and, apart from its appearance as part of a Mosaic box set, vitually unobtainable since its first release. It is one of Buck Clayton's very finest albums. His arrangements are excellent and his trumpet work quite superb. The entire front line are Basie alumni and, from having played together for many years, form a wonderfully integrated ensemble. Emmett Berry is an ideal trumpet partner to Buck. Dicky Wells plays some superb solos and Buddy Tate's tenor is continually inventive. Earl Warren's alto and clarinet are a delight. The rhythm section of Al Williams, Gene Ramey and Herbie Lovelle swings like mad and is never overpowering. This is, without doubt, one of the finest albums from the mainstream revival and an essential companion to Buck's better known 'Jam Session' dates.

The jam session tracks recorded 'live' at Newport in 1956, although not so outstanding, are thoroughly enjoyable. Clayton plays well, Coleman Hawkins is at his angular best, and J.J. Johnson's trombone thoroughly enjoyable. Dick Katz's piano is surprisingly inventive and Gus Johnson and Benny Moten, on drums and bass respectively, accompany well but are somewhat lacking in drive and fexibility.

The session with Ruby Braff is somewhat low key. It opens with a beautiful extended version of 'I Can't Get Started' where both trumpets play so inventively as to almost eradicate memories of Bunny Berigan's classic recording for Victor. The other tracks are pleasant but, ultimately, enjoyable rather than inspired. However Buddy Tate and Benny Morton play well and, even if the rhythm section sounds uninspired, this Vanguard album was well worth salvaging from the vaults.

The Verve album that pairs Buck with his old colleague from the Basie trumpet section - Harry Edison - is also a very relaxed one. They blend beautifully together and their solo work is never less than interesting. Jimmy Forrest on tenor is dependable rather than inspired and the rhythm section, which includes the ever dependable Freddie Green, swings effortlessly. The tunes, a mixture of standards and Edison originals, are all excellent but, overall, the album lacks the element of surprise and inspiration that makes 'Songs for Swingers' so outstanding.

The final tracks are taken from a George Wein session for Atlantic which find Clayton and Vic Dickenson paired with a number of Chicagoans including Bud Freeman and Pee Wee Russell. Pleasant enough music making but nobody sounds at ease and everybody has played much better elsewhere.

All in all, this is an excellent compilation and is thoroughly recommendable. Original sleeve notes are included and the remastering by Dave Bennett fully up to his excellent standard.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BACK TO BUCK, 9 Sept. 2011
By 
Barry McCanna (Normandy, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
This 2-CD set features a 1954 Vanguard ten-incher "Buck Meets Ruby" (Braff), the first sides from two LPs, namely the 1956 Buck Clayton All-Stars at Newport and the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival All Stars, and two 1958 albums, Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton & Vice Versa, and Songs for Swingers. This is a bit of a dog's breakfast, for reasons I'll come on to, but including the fact that it's rounded off with two half-albums rather than a fourth complete one.

Taking the albums in the order in which they occur, Songs for Swingers comprises four of Buck's compositions and four standards. The rhythm section is flawless, Emmett Berry shares trumpet duties with Buck, and Dickie Wells and Earl Warren complete the front line. There's plenty of good tight ensemble playing, but everyone gets an individual bite of the cherry. I particularly like the energetic treatment of "Sunday", a number first popularised by Paul Whiteman.

At the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival Buck teamed up with Coleman Hawkins and J. J. Johnson, and the three numbers from the album sound somewhat more impromptu, but the excitement of the live performance was well captured for posterity. The title in the tracklist refers erroneously to Duke Ellington, because the pianist is Dick Katz. The first CD closes with an extended rendition of "I Can't Get Started" from the Braff album, the remaining three tracks of which kick off the second CD. As mentioned in the liner note, the balance could have been better, but that doesn't detract from the quality of the playing.

Buck and Sweets Edison, his fellow trumpeter in the pre-war Basie band, teamed up in 1958, with a band that included Jimmy Forrest on tenor and Freddie Green on guitar (the latter mentioned in the original sleeve note but not credited in the line-up). It seems to me that this album should be down to Harry Edison rather than Buck Clayton, not just because he gets first billing, but also by virtue of the fact that he composed all four numbers on the first side. The second comprises a medley of four standards, on which the individual musicians seize the opportunity of extended solos. The four tracks from the 1959 Newport All Stars (recorded in Boston) suffer from occasional slight distortion. The Kansas City school was represented by Buck and Vic Dickenson, and Chicago in the persons of Pee Wee Russell and Bud Freeman.

These recordings by Buck Clayton's All-Star Groups show that jazz was very much alive in the fifties, defying rumours of its imminent demise. Despite its somewhat haphazard assembly, this compilation is eminently listenable, and will help meet the continuing demand for such music.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfull, 24 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
There is only one word for this record - WONDERFULL - missed it when they came out on LP now got all at a wonderfull price.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small group mainstream at its best, 24 Dec. 2011
By 
Mr. E. Gendle - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
A bargain!! 2 CDs for under £5 recalling some of the best of mainstream jazz. The Buddy Tate group was greatly and rightly praised when it appeared as an LP. Ruby Braff rarely made a poor record nor did Harry Edison. Buck Clayton is not merely the link through the 2 CDs but is one of its stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buck Clayton Three Classic albums, 9 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
I have loved Jazz for many years and had never heard much of Buck Clayton outside of the bigger band setting, when I met a fellow Jazz fan, who enjoyed many similar artists to myself. People such as Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, he spoke very highly of Buck Clayton so I decided to purchase this very reasonably priced cd. I was not disappointed, some of the sound quality varies but on the whole it exceeded my expectations. The music put me in mind of Benny Carter in Additions and Further Additions but with the trumpet at the front instead of the saxophone. Both are beautifully balanced and highly innovative classic Jazz.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific - buy it, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
I still have the original vinyls of many of the tracks here - and have been waiting for many years for the rest. Great stuff and at that price what's to be lost?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buck Clayton CD, 3 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
Exactly what i was hoping for . Excellent recordings of one of my favourite artists. I recommend this for anyone who likes Buck Clayton's music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 April 2015
By 
D. Cook - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
Excellent 'vintage' albums by top jazz musicians delivered on time
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT on 3 counts, 8 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Three Classic Albums Plus (Songs For Swingers / Buck Meets Ruby / Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton) (Audio CD)
Great cd, price and delivery
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