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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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SHORTY ROGERS

Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1041

 

 


CD1
The Big Shorty Rogers Express
1. Blues Express
2. Pink Squirrel
3. Coop De Graas
4. Infinity Promenade
5. Short Stop
6. Boar-Jibu
7. Pay The Piper
8. Home With Sweets
9. Tale Of An African Lobster
10. Contours
11. Chiquito Loco
12. The Sweetheart Of Sigmund Freud
Shorty Rogers And His Giants
13. Morpo
14. Bunny
15. Powder Puff
16. Mambo Del Crow
17. Joycycle
18. The Lady Is A Tramp
19. The Pesky Serpent
20. Diablo's Dance
21. Pirouette
22. Indian Club
23. The Goof And I
24. My Little Suede Shoes

CD2
Wherever The Five Winds Blow
1. Hurricane Carol
2. Breezin' Along In The Trades
3. Marooned In A Monsoon
4. The Chinook That Melted My Heart
5. Prevailing On The Westerlies
Chances Are It Swings
6. Chances Are
7. No Such Luck
8. It's Not For Me To Say
9. Lilac Chiffon
10. I Just Don't Know
11. Who Needs You
12. Everybody Loves A Lover
13. Come To Me
14. My Very Good Friend In The Looking Glass
15. You Know How It Is
16. A Very Special Love
17. Teacher, Teacher

Shorty Rogers - Trumpet, flugelhorn, plus:
Tracks I/ 1, 2, 7, 8
Conte Candoli, Pete Candoli, Harry Edison, Maynard Ferguson - Trumpets
Bob Enevoldsen, Milt Bernhart, Frank Rosalino, George Roberts - Trombones
John Graas - French horn
Paul Sarmento - Tuba
Charlie Mariano, Art Pepper - Alto saxes
Bill Holman, Jack Montrose - Tenor saxes
Jimmy Giuffre - Baritone sax
Lou Levy - Piano
Ralph Pena - Bass
Stan Levey - Drums

Tracks I/3-6, 9-12
Conrad Gozzo, Maynard Ferguson, Tom Reeves, John Howell - Trumpets
Milt Bernhart, John Halliburton, Harry Betts - Trombones
John Graas - French horn
Gene Englund - Tuba
Art Pepper, Bud Shank - Alto saxes
Jimmy Giuffre - Tenor sax
Bob Cooper - Baritone sax
Marty Paich - Piano
Curtis Counce - Bass
Shelly Manne - Drums

Tracks I/13-16, 19-22
Milt Bernhart - Trombone
Art Pepper - Alto sax
Jimmy Giuffre - Tenor sax
Gene Englund - Tuba
John Graas - French horn
Hampton Hawes - Piano
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Shelly Manne - Drums

Tracks I/17, 18, 23, 24
Jimmy Giuffre - Clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax
Pete Jolly - Piano
Curtis Counce - Bass
Shelly Manne - Drums

Tracks II/1-5
Jimmy Giuffre - Sax, clarinet
Lou Levy - Piano
Ralph Pena - Bass
Larry Bunker - Drums

Tracks II/6-17
Don Fagerquist, Pete Candoli, Conte Candoli, Ollie Mitchell, AI Porcino, Ray Triscari - Trumpets
Bob Enevoldsen, Harry Betts, Dick Nash, Ken Shroyer - Trombones
Paul Horn, Bud Shank - Clarinets, flutes, alto saxes
Bill Holman, Richie Kamuca - Tenor saxes
Chuck Gentry - Baritone sax, bass clarinet
Gene Estes - Vibes
Pete Jolly - Piano
Howard Roberts, Barney Kessel - Guitars
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums
Tracks II/10, 13, 16, 17
Red Norvo - Vibes and Monty Budwig - Bass replace Estes and Mondragon

 

This double album shows two sides of Shorty Rogers - as leader of a small group and a big band. In fact there were many sides to Shorty Rogers, who was equally notable as a composer, arranger and trumpeter (or flugelhorn player). His years with the bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton were good training grounds, and many Kenton alumni joined him in Los Angeles, where he recorded these four LPs in the 1950s.

Shorty's arrangements and compositions were adventurous and varied, embracing big-band strength and small-group subtlety. His arrangements were generally tight, matching his own trumpet style, which was somehow clipped but also capable of stratospheric notes. And the musicians he employed were capable of loud and soft, extroverted and introverted. A good example is reedman Jimmy Giuffre, whose tenor-sax style could be outspoken but whose clarinet sound could seem intimate and cerebral.

This compilation is a typically generous Avid selection, containing many of Rogers' best-remembered recordings. The first LP, The Big Shorty Rogers Express, included the swinging close harmony of Short Stop and The Sweetheart of Sigmund Freud - the latter an ironical metamorphosis of the 1912 song The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi. Such tracks may seem like a reaction against the "cool school" but Rogers was also capable of cool numbers like Tale of an African Lobster. And a certain coolness is detectable in Coop De Graas, a feature for John Graas's French horn - an unusual instrument to find in a modern jazz group, as is Gene Englund's tuba.

One of my favourite Rogers tracks, Morpo, opens the second LP, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, which uses two smaller groups. Morpo is rather like One Note Samba in four-four time, and John Graas again solos on French horn. Four of the tracks stripped the small group down to a quintet, where Shorty Rogers and Jimmy Giuffre worked together in attractive counterpoint.

A similar quintet made the third LP, Wherever The Five Winds Blow, which opens the second CD with five numbers, all written by Rogers, picturing various windy conditions. Jimmy Giuffre's thoughtful clarinet is heard in all its tender refinement on Breezin' Along In The Trades. It's back to the big band with the last LP, Chances Are It Swings, devoted to compositions by Robert Allen, including Everybody Loves A Lover (a hit for Doris Day). These tracks certainly swing, as drummer Mel Lewis kicks the group along. Vibists Gene Estes and Red Norvo bring a new sound to the band. As on the other tracks, one's attention is continually drawn to the imaginative voicings with which Shorty Rogers found new sounds for his bands. So-called "West Coast Jazz" has received unwarranted criticism from some reviewers but this well-packed album illustrates its novel sounds and great soloists, fully justifying the genre.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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