West Coast All Stars
JazzOpen Stuttgart 2001
EuroArts DVD 10 5149 9 DV-JWCAS
- Bernie’s Tune
- Secret Passion
- Diablo’s Dance
- Lover Man
- One for Howard
- If I Only Had a Brain
- Old Folks
Conte Condoli – Trumpet Carl Fontana – Trombone Teddy Edwards – Tenor
Pete Jolly – Piano Chuck Berghofer – Bass Joe LaBarbara – Drums
I must confess to not having enjoyed some of the previous offerings
from JazzOpen Stuttgart too much, but this one is superb, it has in
plenty what most of the others lacked, a swinging rhythm section and
some good straight-ahead improvisation.
Right from the opening number ‘Four’ by Miles Davies, Condoli and Fontana
play excellent relaxed and innovative solos. Pete Jolly who is one of
my favourite keyboard players, is in his usual sparkling form and though
Teddy Edwards seems a bit out of sorts on this first number, he more
than makes up for it later on. Joe Berghofer on Bass and Joe LaBarbera
on Drums are the ideal men for this kind of session.
Why do I like this sort of music so much? As a musician I like to understand
what is going on and to always be able to hear the changes. Once these
basics disappear jazz to me is in ‘never never’ land.
Bernie’s Tune is the next track and Fontana is the first to solo, throughout
the piece his work is a masterpiece of controlled invention and a joy
to the ears. Teddy Edwards has by this time warmed to the task and Condoli
plays another fine solo.
The rhythm section is the kind that every front line player dreams
of, never obtrusive but always attentive.
Secret Passion is a Condoli original, played as a fast bossa; it has
a strong melody line and is used as a solo feature for his trumpet playing.
Conte Condoli has been around from the early days of bebop; I have an
LP of him with Charlie Ventura in 1947. During that period he lost none
of his enthusiasm for the trumpet and he has always been a top performer.
The West Coast title of course refers to the time when the West Coast
of America was the trend setting jazz place. Shorty Rogers and the Giants
and Howard Rumsey and the Lighthouse All stars were leading the pack!
Teddy Edward’s ‘One for Howard’ is in fact dedicated to Howard, a former
bass player with the Stan Kenton Band.
Pete Jolly has the next solo and he plays Shorty Rogers Diablo’s Dance.
Pete is the complete jazz pianist; he supports the other soloists with
accurate chord work and plays unhurried but exciting and inventive solos.
When you watch him play you would think that playing the piano is the
easiest and most natural thing in the world.
When I mentioned excellent things to follow from Teddy Edwards, his
solo on Lover Man is a gem. Teddy was born in 1924 that makes him 77
on this session, he doesn’t look like a man of that age, nor does he
sound like one.
Chuck Berghofer is a ‘monster’ double bass player, he has a lovely
big fat tone and the most accurate intonation you are likely to hear.
His contribution to the whole session is superb and on his solo Old
Folks, he excels himself.
Carl Fontana has graced many bands and recording sessions and has always
been regarded as one of the world’s top trombone players. It is easy
to see why on this session and his solo on If I Only had a Brain stops
A Sonny Rollins’ composition called Oleo based on the changes of I
Got Rhythm is the feature vehicle for drummer Joe LaBarbara. In the
USA you often here drummers who ‘swing like mad’ without making a lot
of noise and listen to the people they are supposed to be accompanying.
Unfortunately they are a rare commodity most place else. Joe is one
of the best of the best!
If you like you’re jazz straight ahead, uncomplicated and superbly
played by brilliant musicians, go out and buy this DVD. If you are more
into contemporary jazz go and buy it anyway, after all it’s where your
music came from!