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



THE LIBERTY OF JAZZ

SoLyd SLR 0363

 

 


 
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
 
Tracks 1-9
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
 
Track 10
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.

Tony Augarde



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