- Louie Rides Again
- Spanish Gypsy
- Back Home
- Spacin’ Home
- Time Check
- Hello Young Lovers
- Love dreams
Originally released as 150 MPH, CCD-4036, 1979
- Sambandrea Swing
- Concord Blues for Blue
- Cinderella’s Waltz
- Where Did You Go
Originally released as Dynamite, CCD-4105, 1980
Louie Bellson was only with the Duke Ellington band
for two years, but he created a tremendous impact during that time.
He had previously played with the bands of Benny Goodman and Tommy
Dorsey, so he has experienced the best of big bands as a drummer.
Louie is much more than just another drummer however, he is a very
accomplished composer, arranger and bandleader. Comparisons with Buddy
Rich will I suppose have to be drawn, both were very exceptional drummers,
but it would appear that their approach to band leading was opposite.
Rich drove his band by the thought that anything less than perfection
from a sideman, would get him the sack, Bellson lead by example and
encouraged the best from his band. Which is best? Well they both worked!
For big band fans this release is a must; it has
everything, amazing musical arrangements from the likes of Bill Hollman,
Don Menza and Louis Bellson.
Incredible jazz soloists Bobby Shew has always amazed
me, he is one of the finest jazz trumpet players around and probably
the best big band lead trumpet player ever.
Disc One has some great solos from the late Frank
Rosolino on trombone and Nat Pierce of Woody Herman fame on piano.
The two tenor soloists Don Menza and Pete Christlieb, have a terrific
battle of the tenors on Time Check, I would have preferred less notes
and more phrases, but that is just a matter of personal taste; both
are brilliant. Bill Hollman’s arrangement of Hello Young Lovers is
another outstanding track.
For my money disc two is even better than the first,
the excitement of playing live at a Concert during the Concord Jazz
Festival of1979 seems to make a band that is already brilliant, get
even better. Bellson drives the band along with great assurance and
everyone of the soloist’s sounds really up for it. Bill Hollman contributes
a brilliant arrangement of a fine Bellson ballad called Deliverance,
which is beautifully played by Bobby Shew on Flugel Horn and there
is an excellent solo by guitarist John Chiodini on another Bellson
composition Where Did You Go?
Bellson's drumming is sensational throughout, the
two bass drums that he plays, which are part of the trademark of his
style, are used to very good effect. He has drawn together on each
of these sessions, an outstanding bunch of musicians playing modern,
but straight-ahead arrangements each skilfully crafted. How good they
sound compared to the pathetic esoteric noises of some of the so-called
big bands of this era.
Big band fans if you don’t have these albums already,
buy them you will not be disappointed!