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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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ROY ELDRIDGE

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1024

 

 


CD1
Roy And Diz
1. I've Found A New Baby
2. I Can't Get Started
3. Trumpet Blues
4. Algo Bueno
5. Pretty Eyed Baby
Little Jazz
6. A Foggy Day
7. Blue Moon
8. Stormy Weather
9. Sweethearts On Parade
10. If I Had You
11. I Only Have Eyes For You
12. Sweet Georgia Brown
13. The Song Is Ended

CD2
Swing Goes Dixie
1. That's A Plenty
2. Royal Garden Blues
3. Jazz Me Blues
4. Tin Roof Blues
5. Struttin' With Some Barbecue
6. Black And Blue
7. Bugle Call Rag
8. Ja-Da
Coleman Hawkins and Roy Eldridge At The Opera House
9. Bean Stalkin'
10. The Nearness Of You
11. Time On My Hands
12. The Walker
13. Tea For Two
14. Blue Moon
15. Cocktails For Two

Roy Eldridge - Trumpet, vocals with:
Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet, vocals (tracks I/1-5)
Oscar Peterson - Piano (tracks I/1-13)
Herb Ellis - Guitar (tracks I/1-13)
Ray Brown - Bass (tracks I/1-13)
Louie Bellson - Drums (tracks I/1-5)
Buddy Rich - Drums (tracks I/6-13)
Benny Morton - Trombone (tracks II/1-8)
Eddie Barefield - Clarinet (tracks II/1-8)
Dick Wellstood - Piano (tracks II/1-8)
Walter Page - Bass (tracks II/1-8)
Jo Jones - Drums (tracks II/1-8)
Coleman Hawkins - Tenor sax (tracks II/9-15)
John Lewis - Piano (tracks II/9-15)
Percy Heath - Bass (tracks II/9-15)
Connie Kay - Drums (tracks II/9-15)

 

Despite the title, this double CD comprises almost four classic albums, as it includes most of the tracks from the LP Coleman Hawkins And Roy Eldridge At The Opera House.

Eldridge was said to be one of the most competitive musicians in jazz, so there were bound to be fireworks when he played alongside Dizzy Gillespie - the trumpeter who was greatly influenced by Roy. Both of them were capable of hitting the high notes, so their duets contain some ear-splitting moments. The competition at bursting the sound barrier is evident right from the first track, where the rhythm section keeps things cooking while the two trumpeters show off.

One breathes a sigh of relief when the tempo is moderated for I Can't Get Started. The trumpeters are blessedly muted for Trumpet Blues, where Oscar Peterson keeps the rhythm bubbling. Dizzy Gillespie's composition Algo Bueno is played with a relaxed beat, starting in Latin-American mode, and the trumpeters join in a good-humoured vocal duet on Pretty-Eyed Baby. This LP was recorded in October 1954 and the next LP - Little Jazz (a nickname for Roy Eldridge) - was taped the previous month. These tracks are generally more subdued, as Eldridge displays his more lyrical side, backed just by the rhythm section.

Eldridge could usually be classed as a modernist but Swing Goes Dixie (dating from 1956) gets him to perform some Dixieland numbers in the company of a group which includes three members of Count Basie's band. Roy is in the position of taking the lead in a Dixieland sextet, playing well-worn Dixie tunes, although his solos are often closer to bebop than trad. At any rate, this is an exhilarating session, with drummer Jo Jones driving the band along and contributing animated solos. Eddie Barefield plays some plangent clarinet solos.

The last seven tracks were recorded in 1956 at Chicago's Opera House, with the rather unexpected rhythm section from the Modern Jazz Quartet. Perhaps because he is playing with this normally polite rhythm team aplos Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge is fairly restrained, although both frontmen enjoy themselves on up-tempo pieces like Bean Stalkin' and The Walker. Roy is particularly effective in the gentle Blue Moon with discreet backing from John Lewis (whose piano generally gets little exposure during this session). This is followed by an equally sensitive reading of Cocktails for Two from Coleman Hawkins. The Hawk was probably the outstanding player at this concert, with that wonderful fluency - a master of legato.

The recording quality throughout these remastered sessions is fine, especially the "live" atmosphere of the final concert, and the price is incredibly low for such high-quality music.

Tony Augarde



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