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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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Once More With Feeling!

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19347





1. Oh, Lady Be Good!
2. In a Sentimental Mood
3. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
4. Memories Of You
5. Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
6. Change Partners
7. Gone With the Wind
8. A Rainy Day
9. More Than You Know
10. These Foolish Things
11. Alabama Song
12. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
13. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise
14. Hanky Panky
15. Old Man Time
16. In a Little Spanish Town
17. Those Sunday Blues
18. Tiger Rag
19. Them There Eyes
Phil Bodner - Clarinet
Hank Jones – Piano (tracks 1-4)
Butch Miles – Drums (tracks 1-4)
Gene Bertoncini – Guitar (tracks 5-9)
Dave Young – Bass (track 10)
Jamie Colpitts – Guitar (track 10)
Charlie Goguen – Drums (track 10)
Dick Hyman – Lowrey organ (tracks 11-14), piano (tracks 15, 19)
Milt Hinton – Bass, vocals (tracks 11-15, 19)
Al Caiola – Guitar (tracks 11-14)
Bob Rosengarden – Drums (tracks 11-14)
Ron Traxler – Drums (tracks 15, 19)
Ron Odrich – Bass clarinet (tracks 16-18)
Derek Smith – Keyboards (tracks 16-18)
Vinny Bell – Guitar (tracks 16-18)
Robert Kreinar – Bass (tracks 16-18)
Jimmy Young – Drums (tracks 16-18)

The American clarinettist Phil Bodner is not exactly a household name among jazz fans, since he did much of his work as a session musician, accompanying such artists as Peggy Lee, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Carmen McRae and Carly Simon. In fact he played eleven different instruments during his 40 years in the studios, including various saxophones, flute, piccolo and oboe.

These previously unreleased tracks were recorded by Phil in the sixties and seventies for his own pleasure, and they display him with a variety of backing musicians. Bodner leads a trio on the first four tracks, with Hank Jones at the piano and Butch Miles on drums. Hank sounds rather uncomfortable with the fastish tempo of Oh, Lady be Good!, stumbling occasionally, but Phil Bodner makes an immediate impression with his fluent clarinet, which may well make you think of Benny Goodman. Unfortunately he quotes I’m Beginning to See the Light several times too many. Butch Miles supplies some classy drum breaks. Hank Jones is more at ease for In a Sentimental Mood, where his solo has the elegance of Teddy Wilson.

The next five tracks have the sparse sound of just the clarinet with Gene Bertoncini’s guitar, but the two men work in fine harmony and are clearly helped by some pre-arranged passages. Then come four tracks on which the ever-versatile Dick Hyman plays the Lowrey organ – an electronic instrument capable of producing a Hammond organ sound as well as the harpsichord (similar to that rather jarring sound on Rosemary Clooney’s 1950s recording of Botch-a-Me). These four tracks are very varied. Bei Mist Du Schoen has a Klezmer atmosphere, while Softly as in a Morning Sunrise is delivered as a gentle bossa nova. Bodner’s composition Hanky Panky is almost a boogaloo!

An audience is present to enjoy Milt Hinton’s gruff, ironic vocals on Old Man Time. Bodner’s clarinet duets melodiously with Ron Odrich’s bass clarinet for In a Little Spanish Town. Tiger Rag hustles along briskly, with a novel arrangement which gives the hackneyed tune a new lease of life. Here again the clarinet contrasts well with its bass brother. The CD ends with Them There Eyes: a quartet performance that could easily be mistaken for a Benny Goodman recording.

The varied line-ups here serve to highlight Phil Bodner’s versatility. He can move from sweet mellowness to a gutsy rasp. His broad talent undoubtedly made him well-suited to the demands of studio sessions. This collection shows that he was also a worthwhile jazzman who could front his own groups with panache.

Tony Augarde


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