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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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BENNY BAILEY

In Sweden

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 562

 

 


1. You Go to My Head
2. Don’t Blame Me
3. Benny’s Blues
4. It’s You or No One
5. Sonny Man
6. Confirmation
7. I Can’t Get Started
8. Now’s the Time
9. Fallen Feathers
10. Jones Beach
11. The Golden Touch
12. Plenty, Plenty Soul
13. I’m Gone
14. Meet Benny Bailey

Benny Bailey - Trumpet
Lennart Grunnell - Piano (tracks 1,2)
Kurt Lindgren - Bass (tracks 1,2)
Egil Johansen - Drums (tracks 1,2)
Nils Lindberg - Piano (tracks 3, 4)
Sture Nordin - Bass (tracks 3-6)
Joe Harris - Drums (tracks 3-6, 9-14)
Bernt Rosengren - Tenor sax (tracks 5, 6)
Ingmar Westberg - Piano (tracks 5, 6)
Teuvo Suojarvi - Piano (tracks 7, 8)
Herbert Katz - Guitar (tracks 7, 8)
Erik Lindstrom - Bass (tracks 7, 8)
Erkki Valaste - Drums (tracks 7, 8)
Gösta Theselius - Piano (tracks 9, 10, 12-14)
Gunnar Johnson - Bass (tracks 9-14)
Arne Domnerus - Alto sax (tracks 10, 13-14)
Lennart Jansson - Baritone sax (tracks 11-14)
Ake Persson - Trombone (tracks 11-14)
Gunnar Svensson - Piano (track 11)
Bjarne Nerem - Tenor sax (tracks 12-14)
rec. Stockholm, on October 8, 1959.

 

Trumpeter Benny Bailey first visited Sweden in 1948 with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. He returned to Europe in 1954 and eventually settled in Sweden, where the atmosphere apparently suited him well. Another American expat, drummer Joe Harris, also emigrated to Sweden in 1956, and he is heard on several tracks of this collection, which is assembled from sessions recorded between 1957 and 1959, before he was lured back to the USA by Quincy Jones.

I first became really aware of Benny Bailey when I heard Quincy's composition Meet Benny Bailey on a recording of a 1957 Lionel Hampton concert at Newport. The tune at that concert was played not by Benny Bailey but by Joe Newman, yet Quincy Jones's appreciation of Benny Bailey was evident just from that one tune.

In fact the last six tracks in this compilation come from an album of compositions by Quincy Jones, featuring Swedish trombonist Ake Persson as well as Benny Bailey and Joe Harris. Appropriately enough, the album ends with Meet Benny Bailey, with Benny's muted trumpet simultaneously hot and restrained. Arne Domnerus's melodic alto sax is also given its moment of glory.

Of the remaining tracks from this session, Fallen Feathers displays Bailey's skill at poignancy; The Golden Touch seems to be based on the chords of Liza and has some outspoken trumpet from Benny; and Plenty, Plenty Soul is just what it says on the tin: a soulful number, with bluesy solos from pianist Gösta Theselius and Benny Bailey.

The remaining tracks come from a variety of sessions originally released on 7-inch extended-play discs. The Swedish musicians generally acquit themselves well, although the main spotlight is rightly on Benny Bailey, whose perfect technique is never used for show but always at the service of musicality. It's You or No One proves that he could play bebop with the best of them, and Charlie Parker's Confirmation has him letting loose some perfectly-pitched high notes to add piquancy to his solo.

Benny Bailey has seldom been numbered among the famous stars of the trumpet, but this album suggests that he should have been.

Tony Augarde



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