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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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COLEMAN HAWKINS /
ZOOT SIMS / PHIL WOODS

Saxes Inc. / Trombone Scene

Phoenix Records 131504

 

 


Saxes Inc.
1. Fugue For Tinhorns
2. Broadway
3. The Gipsy
4. A Night In Tunisia
5. Four Brothers
6. Sometimes I'm Happy
7. Tickle-Toe
8. Sweet And Lovely
9. Jumpin' With Symphony Sid
10. Early Autumn
11. Axmobile

Tracks 2-4, 9
Hal Mc Kusick - Soprano sax
Phil Woods, Gene Quill, Herb Geller - Alto saxes
Coleman Hawkins, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Morty Lewis, Seldon Powell, Georgie Auld - Tenor saxes
Sol Schlinger, Gene Allen - Baritone saxes
Shelly Gold - Bass sax
Dick Katz - Piano
George Duvivier - Bass
Osie Johnson - Drums
Tracks 1, 7-8, 11
Omit Coleman Hawkins; Al Epstein replaces Gene Allen
Tracks 5-6, 10
Omit Herb Geller

Trombone Scene
12. Slim Jim
13. It Could Happen To You
14. Sorta Rumbish
15. Hackin' Around
15. Indiana
17. Plungin' In
18. Hambone
19. Out Of Nowhere
20. Sonny's Side
21. Up And Out

Tracks 14-16
Eddie Bert, Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, Willie Dennis - Trombones
Tom Mitchell - Bass trombone
Elliot Lawrence - Piano
Buddy Jones - Bass
Sol Gubin - Drums
Tracks 17-20
Sonny Russo and Jimmy Knepper replace Frank Rehak & Willie Dennis
Tracks 12-13, 21
Jimmy Cleveland replaces Sonny Russo

 

This captivating two-for-one set issued by Phoenix Records, brings together two ignored and somewhat forgotten albums from the mid to late 1950s for which listeners should rightly be thankful: Saxes Inc. which, in addition to everything else, has a couple of tracks by Coleman Hawkins worth the price of the ticket, and Trombone Scene, which brought together some recognized and up-and-coming trombonists from the period.

Coleman Hawkins at the time of this 1959 recording was still the master of his instrument with that superb crusty tone. The Gipsy is a wondrous track with Hawkins in ecstatic ballad form. On Jumpin' With Symphony Sid, Hawkins is matched with Georgie Auld, a 1930s stylist who had been with Artie Shaw's band, and they feed off one another through several blowing choruses. A couple of tunes from the Woody Herman band book take full advantage of the stellar assembled cast. In Four Brothers Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Sol Schlinger, and Morty Lewis reprise the Four Brothers' parts with authenticity that Stan Getz, Herbie Steward, Zoot Sims (13 years earlier) and Serge Chaloff did in the original version. The Early Autumn rendered here cannot hope to replicate the eight-bar tenor sax solo that brought Stan Getz to fame, but nevertheless with Sims and Cohn each sharing four bars, this beautiful standard is faultlessly delivered. A couple of other commendable tunes include Tickle-Toe, where Al Cohn and Zoot Sims are matched up, and Sweet and Lovely, that gives Georgie Auld an opportunity to show his gentle side.

Trombone Scene was originally recorded for the long defunct Vik label in 1956 and fortunately Elliot Lawrence was the music producer for the label at the time. Lawrence was an ex-bandleader and pianist whose contemporary arranging talents were well known, and thus he was attached to this project. Taking advantage of eight trombonists all with varying playing styles was no easy undertaking. However Lawrence put together arrangements to display both individuals and stylish ensembles. Slim Jim leads off with an exciting turn by Jimmy Cleveland and then Urbie Green is featured on It Could Happen To You. Eddie Bert, who had spent time with both Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, delivers a performance with subtle surprises on his own composition Hambone. Frank Rehak, who also had been with the Herman Herd, shows his versatility on Hackin' Around. All the other tracks are performed with equal invention.

Finally, although the provenance of Phoenix Records is somewhat of a mystery, as they have chosen not to provide any identifying information either in the liner notes or album jewel case, they are to be congratulated for the release of this unheralded gem.

Pierre Giroux



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