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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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BUCK CLAYTON

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1036

 

 

CD1
Songs For Swingers
1. Swinging At The Copper Rail
2. Outer Drive
3. Swingin' Along On Broadway
4. Night Train
5. Mean To Me
6. Buckini
7. Moonglow
8. Sunday
Buck Clayton All-Stars At Newport
9. You Can Depend On Me
10. Newport Jump
11. In A Mellotone
Buck Meets Ruby
12. I Can't Get Started
 
Tracks 1-8
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Emmett Berry - Trumpet
Dickie Wells - Trombone
Earl Warren - Alto sax, clarinet
Buddy Tate - Tenor sax
Al Williams - Piano
Gene Ramey - Bass
Herbie Lovelle - Drums
 
Tracks 9-11
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Coleman Hawkins - Tenor sax
J.J. Johnson - Trombone
Dick Katz - Piano
Benny Moten - Bass
Gus Johnson - Drums
 
Track 12
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Ruby Braff - Trumpet
Benny Morton - Trombone
Buddy Tate - Tenor sax
Jimmy Jones - Piano
Aaron Bell - Bass
Steve Jordan - Guitar
Bobby Donaldson - Drums
 
CD2
Buck Meets Ruby
1. Love Is Just Around The Corner
2. Just A Groove
3. Kandee
Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton
4. Memories For The Count
5. Come With Me
6. Critic's Delight
7. Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Afternoon
8. Medley: It All Depends On You; Charmaine; How Long Has This Been
Going On; Makin' Whoopee
Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars
9. Royal Garden Blues
10. Sunday
11. Dinah
12. Deed I Do
 
Tracks 1-3
Same as track 12 CD1
 
Tracks 4-8
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Harry Edison - Trumpet
Jimmy Forrest - Tenor sax
Jimmy Jones - Piano
Freddie Green - Guitar
Joe Benjamin - Bass
Charlie Persip - Drums
 
Tracks 9-12
Buck Clayton - Trumpet
Vic Dickenson - Trombone
Pee Wee Russell - Clarinet
Bud Freeman - Tenor sax
George Wein - Piano
Champ Jones - Bass
Jake Hanna - Drums

 

Buck Clayton was a trumpeter with a clear, crisp tone who created melodic singing lines. He originally made a name for himself as a member of the Count Basie band of the late 30s and early 40s. This Avid Jazz 2-CD set is from the mid to late 1950s when Buck Clayton had begun to distinguish himself as a master of small-group jam sessions.

CD1 starts off with the album Songs For Swingers and it is that and more. This is an octet session filled with Basie alumni and features four Clayton original compositions all of which are swinging delights. Up until now this album had not been reissued on CD and thus makes this collection all the more interesting. Whether it is Swinging At The Copper Rail, Outer Drive, Buckini or Swinging Along On Broadway, the arrangements give all the players plenty of room to shine individually, as well as featuring some front-line harmony that makes the group sound like a big band. Buddy Tate on tenor sax is in especially forceful shape, along with Earl Warren on alto sax and clarinet. If there is one complaint about this session, it is that some of Clayton's muted trumpet solos are so under-recorded and faint as to be almost inaudible.

Buck Clayton All-Stars At Newport was recorded on July 6, 1956 which was just two years after the Newport Jazz Festival was inaugurated in the summer of 1954. This Clayton sextet outing benefited from having a live audience which encouraged outstanding performances from the musicians. The three tunes You Can Depend On Me, Newport Jump (a Clayton original) and In A Mellotone were not bound by studio time constraints and thus each of the players fed off each other with extended solos. The inclusion of J. J. Johnson was somewhat unusual, as he was not considered a swing-style player. Nevertheless he fitted right in, complementing the playing style of the others. Coleman Hawkins was in particularly good form, rolling out chorus after chorus in his inimitable style. Clayton swung hard throughout but was particularly forceful on his own composition, the B-flat blues Newport Jump.

Buck Meets Ruby both finishes CD1 and starts CD2. This album was originally recorded for Vanguard Records in 1954 and supervised by John Hammond. Ever the innovator, Hammond looked to re-create those great sessions of the 30s and 40s using a single overhead mike, thereby setting up a relaxed atmosphere for the musicians. He managed to find a perfect location at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn NY where this and other similar sessions were recorded. This jam session had four tracks: I Can't Get Started, Love Is Just Around the Corner, Just A Groove, and Kandee, with the latter two tunes Clayton originals. This first-time paring of Clayton and Braff generated the appropriate tension between these two different stylists and pushed them accordingly.

Harry Edison Swings Buck Clayton is a terrific album on many fronts. Firstly it brings together two ex-Basie band members who had not played with each other since the early 40s. Also along for this session was ex-Basie guitarist Freddie Green who helps to anchor a swinging rhythm section. Apart from the four-song medley, all the other tunes are Edison originals. Clearly in each of these cuts, Edison and Clayton show that they were kindred spirits, swinging along in the same fashion. There are a couple of pleasant surprises in this release. Tenor man Jimmy Forrest, composer of Night Train, shows he is no slouch when it comes to a big-tone sound. The pianist Jimmy Jones, who had for years been Sarah Vaughan's accompanist, takes some well-deserved solos, demonstrating he is fully capable of pushing themes and ideas, all the while driving a tough rhythm section.

The final selections come from an album entitled Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars. This session brought together an eclectic mixture of styles: the Kansas City tradition of Buck Clayton and Vic Dickenson, and the Chicago gang represented by Pee Wee Russell and Bud Freeman. The result is more Dixieland than mainstream swing. Nevertheless it is still great jazz. The song selection of Royal Garden Blues, Sunday, Dinah, and Deed I Do sets up the musicians to perform at their best. Whether it is the idiosyncratic clarinet style of Pee Wee Russell, the slurs and glissandos of trombonist Vic Dickenson, the swinging tenor of Bud Freeman, or the biting trumpet of Buck Clayton, the outcome is marvellous.

This Avid release will not only please Buck Clayton fans, but will also appeal to those jazz aficionados who want to hear musicians who have something special and fascinating to say.

Pierre Giroux



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