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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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The Man

Nagel Heyer CD 105




1. Teach Me Tonight
2. The Man I Love
3. Tea For Two
4. I Got Rhythm
5. Exactly Like You
6. Just One of Those Things
7. Ain't Misbehavin'
8. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
9. Exactly Like You
10. Just One of Those Things
11. Pennies From Heaven
12. I Got Rhythm
13. Freeman Talk
Bud Freeman - Tenor sax
Tony Drennan - Piano (tracks 1-7)
Jimmy McKay - Bass (tracks 1-7)
Jack Daly - Drums (tracks 1-7)
Noel Kelehan - Piano (tracks 8-12)
John Wadham - Drums (tracks 8-12)
(Unknown bass player on tracks 8-12)

Who had the most ingratiating tone on the tenor saxophone? It might be Ben Webster or Stan Getz, but another strong contender was Bud Freeman, the doyen of the tenorists, who polished his sound with bands led by the likes of Ben Pollack, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Eddie Condon - and latterly the World's Greatest Jazz Band.

This is another of the CDs taken from tapes recorded in Dublin by Ralph O'Callaghan in the 1970s. The album is less satisfactory than the previous ones featuring Zoot Sims and Scott Robinson, because the two different rhythm sections don't sound entirely comfortable. At times they seem not to be listening thoroughly to Freeman, continuing some tunes when he clearly intends to stop. Some of the drummers' four-bar breaks are clumsy, and Bud Freeman seems to coast, tending to fall back on some of his familiar clichés and repeating some tunes twice (sometimes playing the same phrases in the repeated tunes - like I Got Rhythm!). The noisy audience can be distracting, especially the idiot who insists on shouting "Yes!" at frequent intervals.

Both the pianists provide helpful support to Freeman, although the piano played by Noel Kelehan sounds tinny. Noel plays an inventive solo on I Can't Give You Anything But Love, even interpolating Stranger in Paradise, but the audience intrudes by applauding before he ends the solo.

Bud Freeman seems most at ease in a ballad like Exactly Like You (one of the repeated compositions), although here he uses some the same phrases in both versions. Yet his warm sound is always a pleasure to hear. It is just that there is a certain tiredness in his playing, which has often sounded much more vibrant.

Tony Augarde





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