This 2-CD set presents the legendary valve trombonist acting as co-leader with Zoot Sims on the January 1956 album "Tonite's Music Today" and as leader of three separate studio groups on the self-titled "Brookmeyer" from October of the same year. He's leader of the BB Quartet on "The Blues - Hot and Cold" from June 1960, and finally shares leadership on "Stan Getz/Bob Brookmeyer" from September 1961.
Let me take the albums in order of presentation. The reunion of Bobby (as then styled) and Stan produced a creative session in which both could stretch out, and the fruits of which make for enjoyable listening. The rhythm section is much in evidence, in particular Roy Haynes' busy drumming. At a little over 10 minutes before it fades out, "Minuet circa '61" is in danger of outstaying its welcome, but that's the longest track. Pride of place must go to the lovely ballad A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, which is taken at a reflective pace that gives full weight to its lyricism. The three groups on "Brookmeyer" (a 12-piece big band, and two 8-piece aggregations) share three tracks apiece, the different instrumentation adding to the variety. Apart from Brookmeyer, the other constants are Al Cohn on tenor and Osie Johnson on drums. With plenty of opportunity for solo outings, it's a judicious mix of up-tempo numbers, Latin rhythms, and slow ballads, In the third category "Nature Boy" (one of the two numbers arranged by Cohn) is played in a wistful mood, with Brookmeyer soloing on piano, as he does also on "Big City Life".
The album with Zoot Sims was recorded during a period when both men were playing in the Gerry Mulligan Sextet, and not surprisingly there are echoes of his influence in the prevailing mood. Hank Jones pitches in with a will on piano, and the line-up is completed by Wyatt Reuther on bass and Gus Johnson on drums. The final album is even more stripped down, with Brookmeyer accompanied by the stellar trio of Jimmy Rowles on piano, Mel Lewis on drums, and Buddy Clark on bass. Summing up, this offers the chance to hear Brookmeyer alone, with two tenor giants, and in big band settings. Sound quality is superb, and this has to be a great bargain.
Another bargain Avid collection. 4 classic albums featuring Bob (Bobby) Brookmeyer who stuck to the valve trombone over the slide The only person, in my opinion, who mastered the instrument. Technically, I am reliably informed, a much more difficult instrument to get to grips with. Brookmeyer has done that. He was also an accomplished composer and band leader.
'Recorded Fall': 1961 is driven by Roy Haynes (d) and Steve Kuhn(p), highlighting Getz on 'Love Jumped Out' and 'Who Could Care', a ballad beautifully crafted by Brookmeyer.
'Brookmeyer' 1956 shows him in a larger band setting, one medium, one big.He had the benefit of the finest solo talent available, Al Cohn (ts), Hank Jones(p),Nick Travis (t) and Gene Quill(as). Standout tracks include ' Oh,John Snavely', 'Just You Just Me' (Brookmeyer very laid back), 'Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart' with Al Cohn in fine swinging form. 'Nature Boy' has a lovely piano solo from Bob, and Al Cohn on clarinet.
'Tonite's Music Today' 1956. Zoot Sims takes a prominent role. Brought up in Herman's 'Four Brothers' along with Getz, he slots easily into the band. Brookmeyer remained loyal to the valve trombone, creating cheerful, tuneful themes such as 'Mr Moon' ,'I hear a rhapsody' and 'Bobby's Tune'. His playing with Zoot must have struck a note of accord (along with recordings with Gerry Mulligan).
'The Blues Hot and Cold' 1960. 1n 1957, Brookmeyer had joined Jimmy Guiffre. His valve trombone playing became more subtle with half-valve effects, slurs and glissandos. Here he is accompanied by the superb Jimmy Rowles(p) and is opened by the leader's own 'Languid Blues'. The relaxed, slow 'On The Sunny Side Of The Street' is a delight.Gershwin's 'I got rhythm' and 'Hot and cold Blues' are other highlights. A super collection of a unique player. Sound excellent. Accompanists likewise.
Let's put it this way, if you love superb trombone playing and are partial to the work of Getz and Sims, then don't bother reading any further, just buy this excellent double CD now! Mr McCann has given an excellent review of the content and personnel that I can't better. Let me just say that this 4 classic album format from Avid Jazz is terrific value for money. I now have quite a few and have NEVER been disappointed. I recommend this CD wholeheartedly.