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Traditionalism Revisited

Phoenix Records 131595



  1. Louisiana
  2. Santa Claus Blues
  3. Truckin'
  4. Some Sweet Day
  5. Sweet Like This
  6. Ja Da
  7. Don't Be That Way
  8. Honeysuckle Rose
  9. Brook's Blues
  10. Slow Freight
  11. The Sheik of Araby
  12. Pony Express
  13. Down Home

Bob Brookmeyer - Valve trombone, piano

Jimmy Giuffre - Clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax

Jim Hall - Guitar

Joe Benjamin - Bass (tracks 1, 2, 4-7, 11)

Ralph Pena - Bass (tracks 3, 8-10)

Dave Bailey - Drums (excl. tracks 12, 13)

Brookmeyer fans - and I am definitely one! - will be familiar with most of these tracks as they were originally issued on an LP on World Pacific in the late 50s. This welcome reissue contains three tunes not on the original LP (Brook's Blues, Slow Freight and The Sheik of Araby) as well as two tracks - the last two - from a TV session in 1958 by the trio of Brookmeyer, Giuffre and Hall.

All the tunes on the original LP are Dixieland/Swing classics, given a modern twist but firmly underscored with four beats in the bar, Basie-style. Several of the tracks feature Brookmeyer on piano, sounding remarkably Basie-like at times, especially on Truckin'. One can visualise him with a big grin on his face as he tinkles away. On Honeysuckle Rose, Hall contributes some Charlie Christian-influenced licks while Brookmeyer appears to play piano and trombone simultaneously! Giuffre switches between breathy tenor and reedy clarinet, being particularly effective on the latter on the slow blues, Sweet Like This. On Don't Be That Way, taken at a much more leisurely pace than in the famous Goodman recording, he rumbles away on baritone with Brookmeyer again on piano.

Of the three additional tracks recorded at the same sessions, two sound largely like an unrehearsed bit of fun but The Sheik of Araby is given a high-spirited makeover with Giuffre sounding as if he could have outblown Paul Gonsalves given more time!

I have a slight problem with the two trio tracks. I always want this line-up to play The Train and the River and am slightly disappointed when they don't!

Brookmeyer described the recording some years afterwards as `a labour of love'. From the first few bars of Louisiana, the music precisely and happily reflects that comment.

George Stacy

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