1. You May Believe - Or Not
2. Madrigal No. 1
3. Madrigal New York
4. You Will Say No
5. You May Believe - Or Not, Take 1
6. You May Believe - Or Not, Take 2
7. Madrigal New York, Take 1
8. Madrigal New York, Take 2
9. You Will Say No
10. Five Minutes
Phil Woods - Alto sax
Zoot Sims - Tenor sax
Nick Brignola - Baritone sax
Art Farmer - Flugelhorn, trumpet
Bob Brookmeyer - Trombone
John Bunch - Piano
Bill Crow - bass
Walter Perkins - Drums
Louis Armstrong - Trumpet
This CD is a real oddity. The music dates back to the
early 1960s, when Nikita Kruschev declared that jazz was "decadent"
and therefore unwelcome in the Soviet Union. Radio Liberty, which
had been broadcasting from the USA to the Soviet Union, decided to
record some special jazz sessions to transmit to Russia, using a few
Soviet composers' pieces which Benny Goodman's band had smuggled out
of the USSR after its 1962 tour there. Some top-class musicians were
recruited to perform the music, which is now released on this CD.
The album includes several takes of the same pieces,
so there is a certain amount of duplication. However, like many jazz
artists, the musicians vary their solos, and there are interesting
improvisations from such soloists as Phil Woods, Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmyer
and Art Farmer. The excellent arrangements were by Al Cohn. A bonus
track from 1958 has Louis Armstrong playing a Russian song called
Five Minutes, soloing over Russian singer Liudmila Gurchenko
and a Soviet choir. The track is even introduced by Louis in Russian!
In fact the album's listing (like most of the sleeve-notes) is in
Russian. The titles are translated above. I'm not sure how easy the
album is to obtain in the UK, as my copy was sent to me from Moscow.
It may be as much of historical as musical interest, but it shows
how music can transcend barriers.