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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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QUINCY JONES

LIVE in 1960

TDK Jazz Icons DVWW-J10J

 

 



Belgium 1960

  1. Birth of a Band
  2. Moanin’
  3. Lester leaps In
  4. The Gypsy
  5. Tickle Toe
  6. Everybody’s Blues
  7. Big Red

Switzerland 1960
  1. Birth of a Band
  2. I remember Clifford
  3. Walkin’
  4. Parisian Thoroughfare
  5. The Midnight Sun Will Never set
  6. Everybody’s Blues
  7. Stockholm Sweetnin’
  8. My Reverie
  9. Ghana
  10. Big Red

Personnel (Belgium)
MD - Quincy Jones
Alto - Phil Woods, Porter Kilbert
Tenor - Budd Johnson, Jerome Richardson
Baritone - Sahib Shihab
Trumpet - Benny Bailey, Leonard Johnson, Floyd Standifer, Clark Terry
Trombone - Jimmy Cleveland, Quentin Jackson, Melba Liston, Ake Persson
French Horn - Julius Watkins
Guitar & Flute - Les Spann
Piano - Patti Bown
Bass - Buddy Catlett
Drums - Joe Harris

Quincy Jones first and maybe only touring band came about as the result of the failure of a show in which they were appearing in Paris. Quincy decided to keep his band together for a European tour. Like many Big Band ventures, it was a huge musical success, but a financial disaster, the fact that their first European Agent absconded with the cash did not help!

Quincy Jones is of course now a Superstar, able to command good fees for his composing and arranging for films, television and radio. In 1960 he was already well known and whilst he had recorded a volume of work with studio big bands, this was his first venture as a touring bandleader.

The DVD is in black and white and the sound is not perfect by today’s standard, but what a band it was. In his writing and composing, Quincy had taken on board everything from Basie, the Duke, Woody Herman and all the great post-war bands and added his own magic ingredient. A glance at the personnel is enough for anyone to realise that in no way would this band be ordinary and it certainly wasn’t! the personnel had been hand picked by Quincy from the best musicians around at the time. Names like Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Benny Bailey, Melba Liston, Sahib Shihab and Quentin Jackson saw to that.

The opening number ’Birth of a Band’ goes at 100MPH from bar one, Budd Johnson and Jerome Richardson, battle for the honours on tenor and both end up as winners. The rhythm section hold down the fast tempo with ease and the band is off to a flying start. Moanin’, the Bobby Timmons tune, features the superb flugel playing of Clark Terry, a monster of the jazz world. Lester Leaps In was written by Lester Young and features the great tenor playing of Jerome Johnson. Phil Woods is the next soloist with a stunning version of ’The Gypsy’, Phil always has a lot of ‘Bird’ in his playing and this version of the Billy Reid ballad, marks out his greatness as an alto soloist. Tickle Toe, another Lester Young composition, this time arranged by Al Cohn, features Terry, Bailey and Johnson, you have to hear them to believe they could do it! Melba Liston’s fine trombone tone is heard on Everybody’s Blues and this session finishes with Big Red and this time Sahib Shihab is heard amongst other fine soloists.

For the Swiss session, recorded 3 months later there are some personnel changes. Budd Johnson has departed, without replacement and Clark Terry is replaced by French Trumpet player Roger Guerin.

Birth of a Band goes even faster that the earlier version, Benny Bailey plays a beautiful version of ’I Remember Clifford’. ‘Walkin’ was written by Gene Ammons, but played so often by Miles Davis that many people thought he wrote it, it has great solos from Jimmy Cleveland and Phil Woods. Parisian Thoroughfare demonstrates the band’s ability in the controlled dynamics area and features Benny Bailey in great form. Phil Woods solos again on the Midnight Sun Never Sets, a QJ composition. On this version of Everybody’s Blues, Quentin Jackson has the opportunity to stretch out with the Wah Wah Bone playing for which he was famous in the Ellington Band.

Stockholm Sweetnin’, demonstrates the bands capability to play as a unit as it delivers a showpiece work out on this lovely tune, there is a fine solo here from Roger Guerin, demonstrating that European musicians by 1960 were well up to the standard required by American Bands. Melba Liston, who could hold her own easily in a male dominated trombone world solos on My Reverie. Ghana features Sahib Shihab on Baritone again, his solo is well described in the sleeve note as throaty and moving.

As on the previous session, the band roars out on Big Red.

I heartily recommend this DVD to anyone who has an interest in Big Band music, this band whilst in Europe, opened the eyes of many local musicians to just what was possible and is an invaluable part of Jazz History. (and as well as all that stuff, you will enjoy every minute of it!)

Don Mather
 



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