1. Tickle Toe
3. The Man I Love
4. Allen's Alley
5. Alone Together
6. Secret Love
7. What's New?
Cy Touff - bass trumpet
Sandy Mosse - Tenor sax
John Campbell - Piano
Kelly Sill - Bass
Jerry Coleman - Drums
How do you stand out from
the crowd? One way of doing it in jazz is
to play an instrument that nobody else (or
hardly anyone else) plays - like Roland Kirk
with his manzello and stritch, or Rufus Harley
with the bagpipes. The name of Cy Touff has
stuck in my mind for many years because he
is the only exponent of the bass trumpet that
I can remember (although there are a few others).
Cy Touff studied with Lennie Tristano and
(most famously) played in Woody Herman's band.
This album was actually recorded
in Cy's home city, Chicago, in 1981, when
he co-led a quintet with tenorist Sandy Mosse.
Sandy, an old friend of Cy's, was visiting
Chicago from Amsterdam, where he had been
living for some years, and Cy set up the recording
date, which is only now released on CD. Sadly,
Sandy died less than a year after this recording
was made (Touff survived until 2001). In the
late fifties and early sixties, the two men
had actually been leaders of an octet called
Pieces of Eight, so they knew each other well
and their friendship comes through in this
If you have never heard a
bass trumpet, it sounds very like a trombone
- close to a valve trombone. It blends very
well with the tenor sax. Sandy Mosse sounds
rather like a cross between Lester Young and
Stan Getz - not bad influences! Perhaps the
nicest thing about the album is that neither
Touff nor Mosse feel obliged to cram in as
many notes as possible (as some jazzmen do).
On the contrary, they leave space for the
music to breathe. Pianist John Campbell is
also a spacious player: elegant in solos and
discreet in accompaniment.
Most of the music is easygoing
swing, with occasional hints of bebop (for
example, in Denzil Best's composition Allen's
Alley). The blues is well in evidence
on Harry Edison's Centerpiece, where
Mosse's tenor lopes along in relaxed style,
and Touff is equally mellow on bass trumpet.
Alone Together has the two frontmen
harmonising pleasantly together. Secret
Love swings along easily at a fastish
This is not exactly epoch-making
music but it is very agreeable nevertheless.