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Les Trésors Du Jazz – 1953

(A Chronological Jazz History - Box 4)

Le Chant Du Monde – Harmonia Mundi 574 1271.80

10 CD Set – Nos. 26 – 35 inclusive.

 

 

CD No. 26

1

Cosmic Rays – Charlie Parker

10

Round About Midnight – Miles Davis

2

Get Happy – Gerry Mulligan

11

D.R. Blues – Django Reinhardt

3

Bunny – Shorty Rogers

12

Oh! Lady Be Good – Gerry Mulligan

4

The Iron Hat – Ben Webster

13

It Could Happen To You – Bud Powell

5

Pennies From Heaven – Stan Kenton

14

Tin Tin Deo – Dizzy Gillespie

6

Rocker – Gerry Mulligan Tentette

15

Embraceable You – D. Gill.& S. Vaughan

7

A Ballad – Gerry Mulligan Tentette

16

Milenberg Joys – Michel Attenoux

8

Baa-Too-Kee – Stan Kenton

17

Cremer Stomp – Félix Lisiecki

9

The Serpent’s Tooth – Miles Davis

   

CD No. 27

1

I Want To Be Happy – Bud Powell

7

Perdido – Dave Brubeck

2

Brazil – Lars Gullin Quartet

8

Nuages – Django Reinhardt

3

Tasty Pudding – Miles Davis

9

Lisa – Bernard Peiffer

4

Motel – Gerry Mulligan

10

Coop De Graas – Shorty Rogers

5

Avalon – Erroll Garner

11

The Tattooed Bride – Duke Ellington

6

Caravan – Erroll Garner

12

Perdido – Ellington/Oscar Pettiford

CD No. 28

1

Sweetheart Of Sigmund Freud – S.Rogers

9

Ferdinando – Buddy DeFranco

2

Tiny’s Blues – Bud Powell + Joe Timer

10

Ensley – Nelson Williams

3

Deccaphonie – Django Reinhardt

11

Tempus Fugit – Miles Davis

4

Lucky Duck – Charlie Shavers

12

Enigma – Miles Davis

5

Day Dream – Charlie Mingus

13

Love Me Or Leave Me – Gerry Mulligan

6

Janet – Duke Ellington

14

Swinghouse – Gerry Mulligan

7

All Too Soon – Duke Ellington

15

Up-N-Adam – Lester Young

8

Speak Low – Laurindo Almeida

   

CD No. 29

1

The Man I Love – Oscar Peterson

7

When Lights Are Low – Miles Davis

2

7 Come 11 – Oscar Peterson

8

Five Brothers – Gerry Mulligan

3

Nice Work If You Can Get It – A.Previn

9

Old Folks – Charlie Parker/ Dave Lambert

4

Men From Mars – Woody Herman

10

Cascades En Mi Bémol – Solal& Proteau

5

All The Things You Are – Gillespie/Parker

11

You Go To My Head – Raymond Fol

6

Salt Peanuts – Gillespie/Parker

12

Hot And Cool Blues – B.Byrne/K.Winding

CD. No. 30

1

Turnpike – Jay Jay Johnson

9

Confirmation – Charlie Parker

2

3D – Big Jay McNeedy

10

Crazy Rhythm – Stan Getz

3

Delaunay’s Dilemna – MJQ

11

Apple Jam – Jazz At The Philharmonic

4

Autumn In New York - MJQ

12

Reets And I – Bud Powell

5

The Wild One – Shorty Rogers

13

Dedicated To Lee – Lars Gullin

6

South Rampart Street Parade – Kid Ory

14

Easy Living – Clifford Brown

7

Happy Little Sunbeam – Chet Baker

15

Jeepers Creepers – Dave Brubeck

8

Chi Chi – Charlie Parker

   

CD No. 31

1

Burt Covers Bud – Bud Powell

5

Just You Just Me – Jazz At The Phil.

2

So Nice To Come Home To – B. Powell

6

Four Others – Woody Herman

3

Montoona Clipper – Les Brown

7

A Night In Tunisia – Miles Davis

4

The Nearness Of You – Lionel Hampton

   

CD No. 32

1

Stockholm Sweetnin’ – C.Brown A.Farmer

7

Concerto To End All Concertos – Kenton

2

In Lighter Vein – Stan Kenton

8

Now’s The Time – Charlie Parker

3

Lover Man – Stan Kenton

9

Brown Skins – C. Brown/G. Gryce Orch.

4

I’ll Remember April – Lee Konitz

10

Sunny Side Of The Street – S. Bechet

5

Now’s The Time – Trombone Rapport

11

The Stoppper – S. Rollins + MJQ

6

Zoot – Stan Kenton

12

In A Sentimental Mood – Rollins + MJQ

CD No.33

1

Tenderly – Jazz Studio One

6

Rose Of The Rio Grande - MJQ

2

Minority – Cal Tjader

7

Au Tabou – Bobby Jaspar

3

Miss Bliss – Charlie Mingus

8

Side Car – Bengt Hallberg

4

All The Things You Are - MJQ

9

Let’s Call This – Thelonious Monk

5

La Ronde - MJQ

10

Friday The 13thThelonious Monk

CD No. 34

1

Sunny Side Of The Street – Ella Fitzgerald

8

How About You – Horace Silver

2

Alone Together- Oscar Peterson

9

Opus One – Paul Bley

3

Perdido – Jazz At The Philharmonic

10

New Musical Express –Byas/ML Williams

4

The Pink Elephant – Reinhold Svensson

11

Kinda Dukish – Duke Ellington

5

Message From Kenya – Art Blakey

12

It Don’t Mean A Thing – Gillespie + Getz

6

Opus De Funk – Horace Silver

13

Bockhanal – Chet Baker

7

I Remember You – Horace Silver

14

I’ll Never Smile Again – Dave Brubeck

CD No. 35

1

Robbin’s Nest –Buck Clayton Jam Session

6

Pendulum At Falcon’s Lair – O. Pettiford

2

Salute To Charlie Christian – B. Kessel

7

Too Marvelous For Words – Art Tatum

3

Flying Home – Duke Ellington

8

Tea For Two – Art Tatum

4

The Eye Opener – Russ Freeman

9

Black & Tan Fantasy – Duke Ellington

5

Night Time – Duke Ellington

10

Saint-Tropez – André Hodeir

 

Whilst the gradual decline of the big bands began in the 1940s another form of jazz was emerging at the same time – bebop. Two of the main promoters of this ‘modern’ music were New York based musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker; their small groups soon became established on the club circuit. For some steadfast traditionalists the music was far too radical and complicated. To be brief, basically what the exponents of the ‘new’ music did was to incorporate more harmonic composition into their ‘ad lib’ solos rather than the long accepted practice of not straying too far from the melodic line. It took some time before bebop became popular with a large section of jazz followers however what did emerge was a ‘watered down’ interpretation of bebop, especially on the West Coast of America. Brian Priestley sums up the West Coast music as ‘a brand of easily palatable, filleted bebop.’ It was immensely popular.

‘Les Trésors Du Jazz – 1953 shows that in that year there were several facets of jazz running concurrently. Parker and Gillespie were still pioneering their particular music, the West Coast scene was moving in leaps and bounds with bands led by, among many others, Gerry Mulligan and Dave Brubeck. Then there was that most innovative small group the M.J.Q. Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington were producing some exciting music and there was a massive following for pianists Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner and Bud Powell. Bearing in mind what was to follow over the next few years 1953 in respect of Miles Davis is considered by many as, ‘a period in the doldrums,’ nevertheless he was there.

This nine hour compilation put together by André Francis and Jean Schwarz also includes some European musicians that are often overlooked today.

CD26

The series opens with ‘Cosmic Rays’ a piece written and performed by Charlie Parker against an elegant background of bright and crystal-clear notes by pianist Hank Jones. Parker’s playing shows just how much he was ‘at home’ with the blues but was always prepared to give us new versions of previous statements on the subject.

Of the two small group tracks by Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker I prefer the second where Mulligan and Baker are joined by the lively and inspired Lee Konitz. The Mulligan tentette titles are typical of the music emerging from California at the time and include well-known names such as Pete Condoli, Bud Shank and Chico Hamilton.

Stan Kenton’s ‘Baa-Too-Kee’ is also full of ‘names’ including Laurindo Almeida on guitar – he played a major role in establishing the bossa nova, and especially the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, on the North American jazz scene.

CD27

‘I Want To Be Happy’ is not a tune that easily lends itself to jazz and to make matters worse Bud Powell’s piano here leaves a lot to be desired – fortunately the technique is still there.

The two tracks by Erroll Garner show just how clever and versatile he was; quotes and all. His interpretation of ‘Caravan’ is taken at breakneck speed and even though we have heard it so many times this is a fresh performance full of exploration and vitality.

Paul Desmond’s performance on ‘Perdidio’ shows his excellent musicianship and his time with Dave Brubeck gave us one of the most complementary partnerships in jazz. After Desmond’s untimely death Brubeck had a very successful career but to many his best years were those with Desmond.

‘Nuages’ is a beautiful piece of music performed ‘par excellence’ by its composer Django Reinhardt.

‘Coup De Graas’ featuring John Graas on French horn is another track by the typically West Coast ‘Giants’ led by Shorty Rogers.

Finally there are two Ellington classics the second being ‘Perdido’ featuring Oscar Pettiford on cello.

CD28

Shorty Rogers’ album ‘Cool and Crazy’ enjoyed great popularity and one of the most impressive arrangements opens this CD – ‘The Sweetheart of Sigmund Freud’ with its big band of well known studio musicians.

‘Deccaphonie’ finds Django Reinhardt pitched well into the ‘modern’ jazz scene of 1953 and on a swinging track that brings to the fore one of a new generation of pianists Martial Solal who went on to score the unforgettable music for Godard’s ‘A Bout de Souffle.’

Laurindo Almeida’s guitar provides a fine introduction to Bud Shank’s alto solo on Kurt Weill’s evergreen ‘Speak Low.’

‘Ferdinando’ is without doubt a Buddy DeFranco classic in the bebop idiom taken at a fast tempo with the accompaniment of Kenny Drew, Milt Hinton and Art Blakey.

Bud Powell’s ‘Tempus Fugit’ and Jay Jay Johnson’s ‘Enigma’ were recorded by a sextet led by Miles Davis with J.J. Johnson, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath and Art Blakey. They were a prelude to the trumpeter’s career embarking on a succession of recorded masterpieces between 1954 and 1960.

Lester Young closes the album with his ‘Up-N-Adam’ accompanied by Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and J.C. Heard’

CD 29

The outstanding work by Oscar Peterson has been remarkably consistent throughout his career and the first of the two tracks is the popular standard ‘The Man I Love’ with the same sidemen as shown on the last track of CD28. Peterson is one of the great all round jazz pianists and his trademarks of a multiplicity of notes together with an easy swing are very evident here. ‘7 Come 11’ taken at a much faster tempo still retains these same qualities.

Between the mid 1940s and 50s, prior to engaging on a career as a major classical conductor, André Previn was a popular jazz pianist. ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ was recorded in May 1953 and displays his typically laid back approach accompanied by a technically faultless performance.

The two Gillespie-Parker tracks also featuring Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach are taken from a live concert at a time when ‘classical bebop was at its zenith with everything flowing easily and freely – the effervescent effect.’

The final track ‘Hot and Cold Blues’ sees an alliance between Bobby Byrne’s Dixielanders and Kai Winding’s Birdlanders and it turns out to be a great success. Winding, acclaimed by both fans and peers alike, was one of the first trombonists to take to bebop but throughout his career there was always a reflection in his exciting playing of his earlier big band days.

CD 30

‘Turnpike’ is also typical music of the era and it contains both the West Coast sound, in the main theme, and the New York bebop style which by that time was capturing the interest of jazz musicians throughout the world. This track is comprised J.J. Johnson, Clifford Brown, Jimmy Heath, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke. It is one of the many highlights of ‘Les Trésors Du Jazz’. Recorded only a year before Brown joined up with Max Roach to form one of the most well received jazz alliances. ‘Turnpike’ shows the influence that both Gillespie and Navarro had on Brown’s playing.

Take the rhythm section from ‘Turnpike,’ add Milt Jackson and we arrive at the Modern Jazz Quartet – here playing two tracks. Perhaps not as vigorous as some of the music being produced by their contemporaries the MJQ did provide a unique sound especially remembered for its innovative structure.

‘The Wild One’ was composed by Leith Stevens for the movie ‘The Wild Bunch’ and is taken up here by the Shorty Rogers band. Rogers employed the best sidemen on the West Coast music scene and that coupled with his superb arranging resulted in some legendary recordings.

‘South Rampart Street Parade’ features Kid Ory whose career at the time was enjoying a renaissance. On the front line the trombonist is joined by Teddy Buckner and Bob McCracken.

This particular CD is one of the most interesting in the collection and of the other tracks ‘Dedicated To Lee’ is one that really appeals. The star is Lars Gullin the underrated Swedish baritone player accompanied here, in a Stockholm recording, by the exalted company of Conte Candoli, Frank Rossalino, Lee Konitz, Zoot Simms, Don Bagley and Stan Levey. Gullin was an inspired musician full of ideas and his sound was distinctive. At the time many critics felt that his pure sound and presentation eclipsed Gerry Mulligan especially when he recorded with American musicians. His musical compositions were not without a strong influence of Swedish folk music.

CD 31

Opening with two more Bud Powell tracks, this time we can enjoy improved recording techniques compared to previous discs. The popular standard ‘You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To’ shows just how much emotion Powell put into his performances even though at the time he was suffering from recurrent mental instability. Despite this and other problems he is considered to be one of the most influential pianists between the end of the war and the 1960s.

‘Montoona Clipper’ played by Les Brown and his band is taken from a London Palladium concert. Talented saxophonist Dave Pell brings some interesting ideas into his improvisation around a vibrantly dynamic theme.

There were many facets to Lionel Hampton’s playing over his considerable career and ‘The Nearness Of You’ is somewhat subdued to how many remember him. Nonetheless this track, with its often sympathetic and clever interchanges, is most impressive. Here Hampton is accompanied by Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and drummer Buddy Rich.

Like the previous track ‘Just You Just Me’ is taken from another of Norman Granz’s Jazz At The Philharmonic studio recordings – this time the jam session style comes more to the fore. Using the same rhythm section we are treated to some fine solo work by Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Johnny Hodges, Flip Phillips, Ben Webster and Illinois Jacquet. Who could ask for anything more? – twenty- three minutes of great swinging music.

‘Four Others’ is a rewrite of Jimmy Guiffre’s classic ‘Four Brothers’ arranged for the Woody Herman band. This time instead of the saxophones Woody’s trombonists are featured – Frank Rehak, Urbie Green, Vern Friley and Kai Winding. Herman led some terrific bands and this is one of them.

The final track, ‘A Night In Tunisia’ was recorded live at The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California – home of Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All Stars. Miles Davis is featured in a guest appearance alongside Rolf Ericson, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Lorraine Geller, Howard Rumsey and Max Roach – all well established West Coast musicians.

CD 32

Tracks 2 & 3 were recorded in Munich on 16th September by the Stan Kenton Orchestra and on both the featured soloist is Lee Konitz. By studying under the renowned pianist Lennie Tristano, Konitz found a different approach to playing the alto saxophone than being overwhelmed by Charlie Parker. He developed a style that was full of vitality and complexity together with a thorough understanding of the music he was creating. Track 4, ‘I’ll Remember April,’ recorded next day in Paris, has Konitz being joined by French jazz stars Henri Renaud, piano and Jimmy Gourley, guitar. Don Bagley is on bass and Stan Levey drums. Konitz was noted for his superb long flowing lines and there are certainly plenty here.

The other two Kenton tracks, Nos. 6 & 7 were also recorded in Paris at the same time. On the former Zoot Sims, whose mentor was Lester Young, is the featured ‘star.’ He later became an internationally acclaimed performer and had regular and very successful two tenor liaisons with Al Cohn.

Of the two versions of ‘Now’s The Time’ on this CD I prefer the much shorter Charlie Parker piece taken from a live broadcast and also featuring trumpeter Herb Pomeroy.

Sonny Rollins was just twenty-three when he recorded ‘The Stopper’ and ‘In A Sentimental Mood’ with the MJQ and his sound and technique were astounding. Having said that this was five years after he had made his first recording followed by an astonishing run of associations with the likes of Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell and Miles Davis. So, by 1953 he was already a master of his instrument and his playing incorporated great power coupled with tension filled continuous and creative passages.

‘Brown Skins’ is a composition specially written by Gigi Grice for Clifford Brown and it brings out the trumpeter at his very best accompanied by an orchestra of French and American musicians.

‘On The Sunny Side Of The Street’ features Sidney Bechet as a guest with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Band considered to be one of the best revivalist bands in America.

CD 33

‘Tenderly’ is another of those long studio jam sessions so much in favour in the 50s. This version is taken at two tempos and features Joe Newman, Bennie Green, Frank Foster, Paul Quinchette, Hank Jones, Johnny Smith, Eddie Jones and Kenny Clarke.

Very little is heard of vibraphonist Cal Tjader these days, he was a pure West Coast jazz musician with a definite leaning towards ‘Latin’ tempos. However here we find him in the company of Al McGibbon and Kenny Clarke on a swinging interpretation of George Shearing’s ‘Minority.’

‘Au Tabou’ features that fine Belgian tenor player Bobby Jaspar with a backing group of French musicians. Eventually he moved to New York with his wife the singer Blossom Dearie where he was a regular in the numerous night-spots. After working with musicians including J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis and Donald Byrd his career was curtailed by his untimely death in 1963.

Tracks 9 & 10 are compositions written by Thelonious Monk and here he is supported by Sonny Rollins, Julius Watkins on French horn, Percy Heath and Willie Dennis. Monk was one of jazz’s ‘greats’ and his unique piano style as ever comes to the fore. He was a clever composer, economical soloist and only he really understood how to get the ultimate meaning and expression from his work. Many have tried to copy him but with little success. Once again we are treated to some excellent playing by Rollins and Watkins.

CD 34

No compilation of 1953 jazz would be complete without Ella Fitzgerald – ‘On The Sunny Side Of The Street’ and ‘ Perdido’ are taken from a JATP concert in Tokyo. ‘Alone Together’ also from the same concert is played by the renowned Oscar Peterson Trio – Peterson, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown. The late Benny Green aptly summed up Peterson’s playing when he said that ‘he constructs a solo which invites the illuminating aspects of daylight to pour through the gaps in the phrases.’ No more to be said!

‘Opus De Funk,’ ‘I Remember You’ and ‘How About You?’ were early successes for pianist Horace Silver here joined by Percy Heath and Art Blakey. The first track became ‘a theme tune and one of the emblems of hard bop.’ Even today listening to these tracks, recorded over fifty years ago, Silver’s approach is clean, fresh and full of stimulating runs and phrases firmly centred around the very basics of jazz. A joy to hear!

Canadian Paul Bley’s version of ‘Opus One’ was recorded when he was just twenty-one. Here he makes his debut under the aegis of Mingus with Art Blakey on drums. Still full of the spirit of classical jazz he gives us a preview of his ‘overspill’ technique in phrasing, a device he later developed further.

Don Byas had a sumptuous tone and this coupled with his knowledge of harmonics made him one of the foremost players of the post-war years. The influence of Art Tatum led Johnny Griffin to claim that ‘Byas was the Tatum of the saxophone.’ On ‘New Musical Express’ he is joined by Mary Lou Williams, Billy Banks and Gérard ‘Dave’ Pochonet.

‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ has Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Getz appearing with the Oscar Peterson Quartet and is taken at a very fast tempo. It is another track from the Norman Granz stable. Both trumpet and tenor are inspired and in fighting from. As the accompanying notes say, ’A steeplechase from some of the great cavaliers of swing who have something to say about the life of jazz.’

Jack Montrose’s ‘Bockhanal’ features a group of West Coast musicians led by Chet Baker at a ‘crucial’ time - the beginning of a varied career. The solo work is excellent especially Bob Cooper’s baritone playing. This very pleasing album closes with Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond playing an up tempo ‘I’ll Never Smile Again.’

CD 35

The final disc in the collection opens with a seventeen minute track taken from ‘A Buck Clayton Jam Session.’ The original release was a great success – Buck Clayton and Joe Newman, trumpets – Urbie Green and Henderson Chambers, trombones, Lem Davis alto, Julian Dash tenor, Charlie Fowkes baritone, Sir Charles Thompson piano, Freddie Greene guitar, Walter Page bass and Joe Jones drums. This is mainstream at its best and the tune ‘Robbin's Nest'’ was written by Thompson who recorded very little. Also we hear the fine but seldom recorded Julian Dash. An advantage of these extended performances is that they give each soloist a chance to fully express himself – the result is highly enjoyable.

Barney Kessell was an avid admirer of Charlie Christian – both were brilliant guitarists and it was only fitting that Kessell composed a ‘Salute To Charlie Christian’

The one Russ Freeman track doesn’t really bring to the fore why Freeman was so popular on the West Coast during the 1950s. He was a player who veered towards bebop but was far more forceful than his Los Angeles contemporaries.

During the 1950s the very melodic bass player, Oscar Pettiford, began applying the bass technique to the cello as well as employing other ‘non-jazz’ instrumentation into his combos. That is how we hear him on ‘The Pendulum At Falcon’s Lair.’ He is accompanied by Julius Watkins, French horn – Phil Urso, tenor – Walter Bishop, Jnr., piano – Charles Mingus, bass and Percy Brice drums.

‘Saint-Tropez’ and André Hodeir, a film music composer, are new to me so I quote from the accompanying notes where he receives high praise. ‘With a watchful nonet composed of some of the best soloists in Paris at the time, he gives us a quick, multi-faceted portrait of fine French jazz, even though one of the best soloists is in fact the Belgian, Bobby Jaspar.'

Looking at the booklet index and overall contents of ‘Les Trésors Du Jazz’ one could easily conclude that it is a ‘strange’ selection, but, bearing in mind that everything took place in 1953 this is a very accurate international documentary of what was happening in jazz during that year. Taken in that context alone one cannot speak too highly of it. Ten discs in one compilation seems high but I find ninety percent of the material very entertaining and recommend it.

Jack Ashby



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