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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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PETER APPLEYARD
AND THE JAZZ GIANTS

The Lost Sessions 1974

Linus LINUS 270135

 

 

1. Studio Dialogue 1
2. Ellington Medley
3. Studio Dialogue 2
4. After You've Gone
5. Studio Dialogue 3
6. Tangerine
7. Studio Dialogue 4
8. You Don't Know What Love Is
9. Studio Dialogue 5
10. But Beautiful
11. Studio Dialogue 6
12. You Go to my Head
13. Studio Dialogue 7
14. Indiana
15. Studio Dialogue 8
16. A Smooth One
17. Studio Dialogue 9
18. Dancing on the Ceiling
19. Bonus Tracks - Out-takes.

Peter Appleyard - Vibes
Hank Jones - Piano
Zoot Sims - Tenor sax
Slam Stewart - Bass
Bobby Hackett - Cornet
Mel Lewis - Drums
Urbie Green - Trombone

 

Canadian vibist Peter Appleyard is not particularly well-known, even among jazz fans. I encountered him, swinging like mad, on a marvellous LP by the Calvin Jackson Quartet (which has regrettably not been transferred to CD). If you wanted to categorize him, you could say that Appleyard is close to Lionel Hampton in his vibes style. In 1974 he was playing with Benny Goodman, and Peter had the idea of recording the musicians who were in Benny's group at that time. Drummer Grady Tate was not available, so Peter brought in Mel Lewis to complete the line-up which Appleyard justifiably calls "The Jazz Giants". The result is as prodigiously enjoyable as you would expect from such a starry personnel.

Peter Appleyard opens the Ellington Medley with a shimmering Sophisticated Lady, followed by Zoot Sims caressing I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good, Bobby Hackett playing Prelude to a Kiss with small amounts of variation (Hank Jones fills in the middle eight), and Urbie Green's furry trombone delivering Mood Indigo.

Bobby Hackett starts After You've Gone at a medium bounce but Appleyard takes over at twice the speed. Zoot Sims supplies a swirling tenor solo and then Peter's dextrous solo keeps the pot boiling, with Hackett, Green, Jones, Stewart and Lewis also swinging effortlessly. This is the first track on which Slam Stewart does his trademark humming along with the double bass.

Tangerine has a noteworthy solo from Urbie Green and some neat contrapuntal playing between Appleyard and Sims. All the musicians seem to come in when they feel like it, making for relaxed interplay. The next few tracks appear to be features for individual musicians. You Don't Know What Love Is spotlights Bobby Hackett's graceful cornet, with Hank Jones maintaining the delicate air. Urbie Green embraces But Beautiful, Zoot Sims breathes affectionately through You Go to my Head, and Slam Stewart mixes skill and irony in his hummed-bass Indiana.

The ensemble re-unites for the Goodman favourite A Smooth One and Hank Jones rounds things off with a lovely reading of Dancing on the Ceiling. The inclusion of some "Studio Dialogue" before each track adds nothing to the album's effect, as most of it consists of brief instructions from the recording booth. The CD ends with 24 minutes of out-takes which provide more of the studio atmosphere, with chatter between the players and some segments of music, including some tasty slices of Tangerine.

The whole group plays as if they have been playing together for years (well, they had been performing for Benny Goodman, possibly at Carnegie Hall, the night before) and we can be grateful that Peter Appleyard got them together for this memorable recording session.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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