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



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BUDDY RICH

West Coast All-Star Sessions

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 552

 

 


1. Let's Fall In Love
2. Me and My Jaguar
3. Just Blues
4. Sweets' Opus No.1
5. Strike It Rich
6. Sportin' Life (Sweetie Pie)
7. Piano, Bongoes, Bass and Guitar
8. Jump For Me
9. Blues For Basie
10. Shorty George
11. 9:20 Special
12. Blue and Sentimental
13. Down For Double
14. Jumping at the Woodside
15. Ain't It the Truth

Buddy Rich - Drums, vocals
Harry "Sweets" Edison - Trumpet
Milt Bernhart - Trombone (tracks 1-6)
Benny Carter - Alto sax (tracks 1-3)
Georgie Auld - Tenor sax (tracks 1-3)
Bob Lawson - Baritone sax (tracks 1-3)
Jimmy Rowles - Piano (tracks 1-3, 8-15)
John Simmons - Bass (tracks 1-3)
Willie Smith - Alto sax (tracks 4-6)
Zoot Sims - Tenor sax (tracks 4-6)
Bob Poland - Baritone sax (tracks 4-6)
Gerald Wiggins - Piano (tracks 4-7)
Joe Comfort - Bass (tracks 4-7)
Jack Costanzo - Bongoes (track 7)
Conrad Gozzo, Pete Candoli - Trumpets (tracks 8-15)
Frank Rosolino - Trombone (tracks 8-15)
Bob Enevoldsen - Valve trombone (tracks 8-15)
Bob Cooper - Tenor sax (tracks 8-15)
Buddy Collette - Flute, tenor sax, baritone sax (tracks 8-15)
Bill Pitman - Guitar (tracks 8-15)
Joe Mondragon - Bass (tracks 8-15)

 

This CD comprises two original LPs recorded in Hollywood during the mid-1950s. Tracks 1 to 6 come from an album entitled The Swinging Buddy Rich; tracks 8 to 15 formed an album called This One's For Basie; and track 7 was originally issued as a 78 rpm single - all on Norman Granz's Norgran label. I tend to associate Buddy Rich with New York, not Hollywood, but this is typical American West Coast jazz, with tight arrangements, especially tracks four to seven and eight to fifteen, which were arranged respectively by Johnny Mandel and Marty Paich.

Besides Buddy Rich, the other consistent presence in these sessions was trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, who contributes excellent solos to many tracks. Sure, Edison has his clichés, which come out fairly predictably but they are endearing clichés, so why not? One particular phrase - which was also the basis for Edison's recording of Plaid with Art Tatum and Lionel Hampton - crops up in both Jump for Me and Down for Double. But Edison's solos are always melodic, and it is good to hear him featured here.

The first three tracks are easy swingers by an octet, with Benny Carter soloing radiantly on Let's Fall in Love. The two other tracks are originals by Buddy Rich, on which Georgie Auld's tenor sax speaks out forthrightly. Most tracks are punctuated by drum breaks or solos from Buddy, whose contributions are always apt and help to increase the power of any band he plays with.

The four tracks arranged by Johnny Mandel have a brighter recorded sound, with noteworthy solos by Willie Smith, Zoot Sims and Edison. Johnny Mandel's composition Strike It Rich has a drum solo which displays Rich's technique to the full, although it seems to go on for rather too long. Buddy even keeps up his trademark four-in-a-bar bass drum despite the hectic speed. Buddy also fancied himself as a vocalist, a role in which he was acceptable but not outstanding. He sings on Piano, Bongoes, Bass and Guitar, which is lifted out of the ordinary by the bongo-playing of Jack Costanzo.

The remaining eight tracks - from the album dedicated to Count Basie - feature less of Buddy's drumming. The sleeve-notes say that "The intention was...to pay a tribute by suggesting the lightness of the Basie sound and feeling". But Marty Paich's arrangements somehow constrict the players and lack the easygoing off-the-cuff mood of the Basie band. Nevertheless, there are stylish solos from Jimmy Rowles (sounding quite Basie-like), Bob Cooper, Buddy Collette, Frank Rosolino and (again) Harry Edison. Buddy Rich gets longish drum solos on 9.20 Special and the frantic Jumpin' at the Woodside - the latter containing some neat work on the hi-hat and all around the kit.

Altogether, this is a welcome reissue, especially as it offers nearly 70 minutes of fine music. It should certainly appeal to Buddy's numerous fans. My only reservation is that some of the recording sounds somewhat boxy.

 

Tony Augarde 



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