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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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PAUL MEYERS QUARTET

Featuring Frank Wess

Miles High Records MHR 8609

 

 

1. Snibor
2. Blue Lantern
3. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
4. One for Miss D
5. Lazy Afternoon
6. Menage à Bleu
7. Just One of Those Things
8. My One and Only Love
9. Who Cares?
10. I Cover the Waterfront

Paul Meyers – Acoustic nylon string guitar
Frank Wess – Tenor, flute
Martin Wind – Acoustic bass
Tony Jefferson – Drums
Andy Bey – Vocals (track 5)

 

Anything with Frank Wess is a must for me. Having learned his craft with the Count Basie Band, like so many of the other great tenor players, he never fails to delight: great tone, wonderful phrasing and improvisation on both tenor sax and flute, a real jazz giant whose abilities have not diminished with age.

It was an inspired move by Paul Meyers to book Frank for this session. The trio is a fine backing unit and everyone sounds very relaxed and happy, the only way good-quality jazz is ever produced.

The programme choice is wide and varied. There is a nice Strayhorn opener in Snibor, and I have never heard it played by anyone except Ellington, for whom it was written.

Blue Lantern is a blues which has Frank on flute as does The Wee Small Hours, which is done as a bossa nova.

On first hearing I was not sure about One For Miss D, which sounded a bit like Tea for Two played in two different keys at once! After a couple of hearings however it seems to fit together OK. The drum solo over the walking bass works well.

Just One of Those Things is taken at a fast pace, but no-one seems fazed at that and the rhythm section holds everything together well. My One and Only Love is a very special tune and it suits Frank very well, giving him an opportunity to display his luscious tone. It is a shame, but this beautiful style of ballad playing seems to be disappearing from the repertoire of many of the newer guys on the block. Frank’s cadenza at the end is a thing worth special praise.

Who Cares? is not a tune that is frequently played. It is a Gershwin tune from the show “Of Thee I Sing.” The star this time is Paul Meyers, whose guitar work throughout is exquisite, whether comping or soloing.

I Cover the Waterfront has been around a long time and will always be associated with Billie Holiday. Frank’s great sound against a neat minor vamp from Paul makes for very pleasant listening.

This record is a must for listeners who prefer their jazz straight ahead. A top tenor man with a class rhythm section will always be a buy for me!

Don Mather



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