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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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BUDDY FEATHERSTONHAUGH et al.

Jazz Today

Vocalion CDNJT 5314

 

 

Buddy Featherstonhaugh's New Quintet
1. Buddy's Bounce
2. Yesterdays
3. Constellation
4. Have You Met Miss Jones?

Buddy Featherstonhaugh - Baritone sax
Roy Sidwell - Tenor sax
Leon Calvert - Trumpet
Paul Brodie - Drums
Bill Stark - Bass

Buddy Featherstonhaugh: New Quintet
5. Goldfish Blues
6. Doin' the Uptown Lowdown
7. Knock Yourself Out
8. Henrietta

Buddy Featherstonhaugh - Baritone sax
Kenny Wheeler - Trumpet
Bobby Wellins - Tenor sax
Jackie Dougan - Drums
Bill Stark - Bass

Harry Klein Quartet
9. I'll Remember April
10. I Can't Get Started
11. I'm Coming Virginia

Harry Klein - Baritone sax
Max Harris - Piano
Sammy Stokes - Bass
Eddie Taylor - Drums

Harry Klein Quintet
12. Euphony
13. Monument
Harry Klein - Baritone sax
Vic Ash - Clarinet
Stan Tracey - Piano
Sammy Stokes - Bass
Eddie Taylor - Drums

14. Poinciana
15. Pentagon
Harry Klein - Baritone sax
Vic Ash - Clarinet
Dill Jones - Piano
Sammy Stokes - Bass
Eddie Taylor - Drums
Leslie Weeks - Bongoes

Vic Ash Quartet
16. Cocktails for Two
17. I Hear Music
Vic Ash - Clarinet
Eddie Thompson - Piano
Benny Goodman - Drums
Barry Hamilton - Bass

18. Jeepers Creepers
19.Blue Jeans
Vic Ash - Clarinet
Eddie Thompson - Piano
Allan Ganley - Drums
Bill Sutcliffe - Bass

Vic Ash Sextet
20. Just for the Boys
Johnny Scott - Flute
Vic Ash - Clarinet
Ian Hamer - Trumpet
Dave Pearson - Drums
Alan Branscombe - Piano
Spike Heatley - Bass

Kenny Baker's All Stars
21. Poll Winners
Kenny Baker - Trumpet
George Chisholm - Trombone
Tony Coe, Bruce Turner - Alto saxes
Dill Jones - Piano
Eddie Taylor - Drums
Lennie Bush - Bass

Melody Maker All Stars
22. Hark Dog
Tubby Hayes - Tenor sax
Ronnie Ross - Baritone sax
Bill Le Sage - Vibes
Dave Goldberg - Guitar
Johnny Hawksworth - Bass
Allan Ganley - Drums

 

With a surname like that, Buddy Featherstonhaugh might have been an English aristocrat whose chums called him "Fanshaw". Instead, he was a skilful saxophonist who played for the likes of Ambrose, Spike Hughes and Benny Carter, as well as touring Britain with Louis Aremstrong's backing band in 1932. He was also a motor-racing driver - a sport which occupied much of his time in the late 1940s. He had mainly been a tenor-sax player but, when he returned to jazz in the 1950s, he switched to the baritone sax and formed his own quintet, which is what we hear on the first eight tracks of this collection.

Like the famous quartet which Gerry Mulligan formed in 1952, Buddy's quintet dispensed with the piano. Buddy's playing here shows that he could match Mulligan in dexterity on the cumbersome baritone sax. He was also a talented composer and arranger. Four of the eight pieces by his quintet are his own compositions, and his arrangements make the most of the small band, judiciously employing harmony, counterpoint and unison passages. One of the fascinating features of this album is the number of young musicians who would go on to become better known. When these quintet recordings were made, Kenny Wheeler and Jackie Dougan were both 26, and Bobby Wellins was only 20, although he had already acquired that rather shrouded tone on the tenor sax.

Like Buddy Featherstonhaugh, Harry Klein was a baritone saxist who could challenge the best of the Americans. The seven tracks by his quartet and quintet illustrate his more trebly tone than Buddy's but also his dexterity and invention. The groups again contain some young musicians who later became better known. Stan Tracey, Vic Ash and Eddie Taylor were all in their twenties. I'm Coming Virginia is a particularly attractive performance, with agile baritone from Harry Klein and swinging piano by Max Harris. The quintet tracks add the sound of Vic Ash's clarinet, with Leslie Weeks giving Poinciana and Pentagon a Latin-American rhythm with his bongoes - especially in the latter tune, which sounds like Constantinople turned upside down.

Vic Ash's clarinet takes centre stage on the four tracks by his quartet, which includes such future stars as Eddie Thompson and Allan Ganley. Vic Ash's clear tone comes through well in such numbers as Cocktails for Two, where his resemblance to Buddy DeFranco is noticeable. Vic was only 24 when these sides were recorded but in recent years he could still be heard playing as well as ever with the BBC Big Band. Benny Goodman (no, not the American clarinettist!) takes some neat drum breaks in I Hear Music.

All the tracks from one to 19 come from five different EPs, and they are supplemented by three items from a 1959 LP called All the Winners. Just for the Boys is by a sextet led by Vic Ash, with the rather shrill flute of its composer Johnny Scott. Johnny Dankworth wrote Poll Winners for Kenny Baker's All Stars, with punchy trumpet by the leader and contrasting saxophone styles from Tony Coe and Bruce Turner. Ken Moule's Hark Dog spotlights the Melody Maker All Stars, who included the excellent Dave Goldberg on guitar, yet another great British baritone saxist - Ronnie Ross, the adept Bill le Sage on vibes, and tenorist Tubby Hayes already cramming in lots of notes.

Once again, the Vocalion label has dug out some buried treasure from the archives and made it available for our enjoyment. The recording quality is remarkably good, and the playing time (more than 76 minutes) is exceedingly magnanimous.

Tony Augarde



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