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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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VICTOR FELDMAN

Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1045

 

 


CD1
Transatlantic Alliance
1. Four
2. The Gypsy
3. Get Up
4. Stomp
5. Wail
6. Ballad Medley: Together / Darn That Dream / I Surrender, Dear / I've Lost Your Love
7. Wailing Wall

Victor Feldman - Piano, vibes
Tubby Hayes - Baritone sax (tracks 1, 2, 6)
Ronnie Scott - Tenor sax (tracks 1, 2, 6)
Dizzy Reece - Trumpet (tracks 1-4, 6)
Lennie Bush - Bass (tracks 1, 2, 6)
Tony Crombie - Drums (track 1)
Benny Goodman - Drums (tracks 2, 6)
Lloyd Thompson - Bass (tracks 3, 4)
Phil Seamen - Drums (tracks 3-5, 7)
Jimmy Deuchar - Trumpet (tracks 5, 7)
Terry Shannon - Piano (tracks 5, 7)

Victor Feldman Modern Jazz Quartet
8. Suite Sixteen: Monody/Minore/Habanera/Epilogue
9. Duffle Coat
10. Deep In A Dream
11. Easy To Love
12. Time Will Tell

Victor Feldman - Vibes
Tommy Pollard - Piano (tracks 8, 10, 12)
Eric Peter - Bass (tracks 8, 10, 12)
Tony Crombie - Drums, piano (tracks 8, 10, 12)
Norman Stenfalt - Piano (tracks 9, 11)
Lennie Bush - Bass (tracks 9, 11)
Phil Seamen - Drums (tracks 9, 11)

The Arrival Of Victor Feldman
13. Serpent's Tooth

CD2
The Arrival Of Victor Feldman (cont.)
1. Waltz
2. Chasing Shadows
3. Flamingo
4. S'posin'
5. Bebop
6. There Is No Greater Love
7. Too Blue
8. Minor Lament
9. Satin Doll

Victor Feldman - Vibes, piano
Scott LaFaro - Bass
Stan Levey - Drums

Victor Feldman In London (Volume 2)
10. Blues In Two Modes
11. Jennie
12. One Momentum
13. Karen
14. Wood Work
15. It Ain't Necessarily So
16. Short Circuit

Victor Feldman- Vibes, drums
Jimmy Deuchar - Trumpet (tracks 10-16)
Dizzy Reece - Trumpet (tracks 10-15)
Bobby Pratt - Trumpet (tracks 10-13)
Ken Wray - Trombone, bass trumpet (tracks 10-15)
Derek Humble - Alto sax (tracks 10-15)
Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes - Tenor saxes (tracks 10-15)
Joe Temperley - Baritone sax (tracks 10-12
John Burden - French horn
Jim Powell - Tuba
Norman Stenfalt - Piano (tracks 10-15)
Lennie Bush - Bass (tracks 10-15)
Phil Seamen - Drums (tracks 10, 11, 13, 16)
Pete King - Baritone sax (track 13)
Terry Shannon - Piano (track 16)
Kenny Napper - Bass (track 16)

 

I'm old enough to remember when Victor Feldman was hailed as a child prodigy, doing his first gigs as a drummer at the age of seven. He started playing the piano when he was nine and the vibes at the age of 14, and he was recording and sitting in with well-known bands from the early 1940s.

So he was already an experienced musicians when he emigrated to the USA in 1955. As with another emigré, George Shearing, his talent and experience enabled him to start soon making a name for himself in the States, where he worked with such stars as Woody Herman, Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis. The four LPs reissued on this double CD comprise three albums recorded in London with British musicians in the middle fifties and a trio album recorded in Los Angeles in 1958.

These tracks illustrate his talents on piano, vibes and drums. Although the first LP was called Transatlantic Alliance, it was actually made by an entirely British group. It is unusual to hear Tubby Hayes playing the baritone sax but he plays with agility in his solo on Four. The Gypsy and Get Up feature Dizzy Reece's rather unsteady trumpet, although at his best he sounds reminiscent of Clifford Brown. Dizzy also gets to solo on Stomp which fades out unexpectedly before the end. Victor Feldman's vibe-playing on this disc resembles that of Milt Jackson in a bluesy but more understated manner.

The Ballad Medley opens with a delicate reading of Together by Feldman at the piano, followed by an equally tender Darn That Dream by Hayes' baritone. Wail and Wailing Wall feature Jimmy Deuchar's trumpet, which sounds more at ease than Dizzy Reece's. Feldman's vibes are again understated.

You might have thought that someone like Victor who started as a drummer would stress the percussive capacity of the vibes but his playing continues to be restrained on the second LP - by the Victor Feldman Quartet. So this session leaves me underwhelmed, especially as most of the numbers are slow or, at least, no faster than mid-tempo.

The third LP finds Victor in the prestiguous company of two great Americans: bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Stan Levey, recorded in 1958 - before LaFaro became famous as part of the Bill Evans Trio. Both Scott and Stan stimulate Feldman to play more vigorously than in the preceding LP. Victor's improvising - both on piano and vibes - exhibits more muscularity. In fact the results are as invigorating as some of the recordings that Red Norvo made with his trio of Tal Farlow and Charlie Mingus. Waltz is an adaptation of a Chopin composition, although it doesn't stick to waltz time. Bebop is a tour de force, taken at a furious tempo, with Scott keeping up heroically and Stan adding a brilliant drum solo.

The final LP - Victor Feldman in London Vol. 2 - presents Victor leading a big band, with extra tracks by a nonet and a quintet. Feldman wrote the arrangements but they don't spotlight him very much, although he gets to play the drums (in the background) on Wood Work. He is also listed as playing the drums on It Ain't Necessarily So but he seems to be on vibes, at least for a solo. Tubby Hayes again impresses on baritone sax, and Jimmy Deuchar supplies some heartfelt solos. The big-band tracks are better than the wishy-washy sounds heard from some British bands of the time.

This collection contains some good examples of Victor Feldman's work before he reached his mid-twenties, although I would have liked to have heard more of his playing as a featured drummer, which is what knocked us out when he first appeared on the scene.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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