on 2 September 2013
This is the second four set issue of Bud Shank by Avid Jazz so I presume they think it less attractive than the first. It doesn't matter because Bud, although not the genius that Art Pepper was, was a very fine saxophonist who never fell below a pretty high standard. Unless my arithmetic is even worse than I think, this seems to be a collection of all or part of five discs and not four.
The first C.D. consists of 'Blowin' Country' and then two separate sessions, one with Shorty Rogers and one with Bill Perkins. 'Blowin' Country' is by the regular band Bud co-led with Bob Cooper and dates from 1958, with the usual rhythm section of Claude Williamson, Don Prell and Chuck Flores. Bud plays alto, tenor and flute, Bob is on tenor, bass clarinet and oboe. Both were playing in a fairly cool style, so there is not that much tonal variety when both are on saxophones. On their other horns the sound can occasionally be a little twee. The rhythm is lively and Claude Williamson plays well in his poking probing style. The arrangements can be a little fussy but not unduly so.
Next up comes the session with Bill Perkins from 1955. Both horns play alto, tenor and flute and Bud also plays baritone. Rhythm is Hampton Hawes, Red Mitchell and Mel Lewis. Hawes is probably the best soloist with some driving bluesy piano. The sound is a little more incisive than on the 1958 tracks although it can still be a little too delicate when both men are on flute.
The Shorty Rogers session is also from 1955 and is probably the best of them all. Bud plays with vigour and the rhythm section of Jimmy Rowles, Harry Babasin and Roy Harte swings hard. Shorty's lines are lively even though his tone is as monotonous as ever.
On the second C.D. there is one final Shorty track and then the sessions are 'Bud Shank and Three Trombones' from 1954 and 'Jazz at Cal-Tech' from 1955. The trombone session is essentially Bud playing alto up against a trombone section. Bob Enevoldsen on valve trombone takes some good solos but otherwise the trombones function as a section almost exclusively. Bud plays extremely well and the session as a whole is very attractive.
'Cal-Tech' has the same band as 'Blowin' Country' but the format is totally different. Bud takes a couple of alto solos with the rhythm, Bob a couple of tenor solos likewise, there is a trio piece with Claude Williamson and the rest are by the group as a whole. Everybody plays well, there is only one flute and oboe duet, but the recording quality, although not bad, is not up to studio standards.
All in all some pleasantly varied sessions which coincidentally show off quite a number of the better West Coasters.
on 3 September 2013
The album features West Coast Jazz from the mid to late fifties and some unusual combinations of front line instruments. Bud Shank plays flute as well as alto and tenor saxes while Bob Cooper who added the oboe to his tenor sax and bass clarinet playing and is featured on two of the albums - Blowin' Country and Jazz at Cal-Tech. Another album features Shank with fellow flute player Bill Perkins and trumpeter (flugelhorn player) Shorty Rogers. The fourth album has Shank on alto in combination with three trombones, but notably three valve trombones. I was already familiar with "Wailing Vessel" from the original vinyl "Jazz West Coast" but this features an alternate take. I thoroughly recommend this issue to anyone who likes instrumental music and is prepared to listen to something different. It is excellent value for money. I would give it 5 stars if it was not for the careless sleeve notes and the complete omission of one tune from the list of tunes. Number 15 on CD2 Is unmistakably Lullaby Of Birdland so Somebody Loves Me becomes 16, Moonlight In Vermont 17 and The King 18. The recording dates quoted are dodgy.
The saxophonist Bud Shank is shown as represented on AMSC 1087 by four albums, but that's being modest. In fact the original Pacific issues ran to five, two of which were packaged together subsequently. "Bud Shank & Three Trombones" dates from April & June 1954, "Bud Shank with Shorty Rogers & Bill Perkins" from mid-1955, "Jazz at Cal-Tech" from January 1956, and "Blowin' Country" from early 1958. The order in which they feature here is "Blowin' Country/ BS with Bill Perkins/ BS with Shorty Rogers/ 3 Trombones/ Cal-Tech. The first was a shared session with tenor saxophonist Bob Cooper, who doubled on bass clarinet & oboe, while Bud played alto, tenor and flute, backed by Claude Williamson on piano, Don Prell on bass & Chiuck Flores on drums. It's a judicious selection of mainly standards which mixed ballads with up-tempo swingers, and the joint leaders' multi-instrumental talents enabled a wide tonal palette.
The same applies to the session with Bill Perkins, where both doubled on alto and tenor, Bud added baritone, and Perkins the flute; they were backed by Hampton Hawes, Red Mitchell & Mel Lewis. The Shorty Rogers session was more confined both in terms of instruments and material; Bud played alto & flute, and Shorty the flugelhorn, accompanied by Jimmy Rowles, Harry Babasin & Roy Harte, and all the numbers were Shorty Rogers compositions. The three trombones in question were the valve variety, blown by Bob Enevoldsen, Maynard Ferguson & Stu Williamson, accompanied by Claude Williamson, Joe Mondragon & Shelly Manne. It was an unorthodox line-up, which was well worth the experiment. The personnel for the live concert at Cal-Tech was identical to the "Blowin' Country" line-up, and the presence of an audience obviously stimulated the participants, to judge from the results. Sound quality is excellent throughout.
on 19 February 2014
On CD 2 the second album only shows 8 tracks in the liner notes whereas there are 9. After track 14 (Tea For Two) there should be : 15. Lullaby Of Birdland, 16. Somebody Loves Me, 17. Moonlight In Vermont, 18. The King.
Otherwise it is good value.