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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Fresh Sound FSR-CD 724



1. Lulu's Back in Town
2. Playtime
3. Will You Still Be Mine?
4. Fascinatin' Rhythm
5. Makin' Whoopee
6. Marbles
7. Misty
8. Cheek to Cheek
Unissued Argo album
9. The Night Is Young and You're So Beautiful
10. Little Susie
11. R.B.
12. Angel Eyes
Unissued Argo album
1. The Be-Bop Irishman
2. Foxy
3. The Surrey with the Fringe on Top
4. The Way You Look Tonight
5. Doxy
6. Mountain Greenery
Let's Go to Town
7. Cheek to Cheek
8. Lulu's Back in Town
9. Baubles, Bangles and Beads
10. Mountain Greenery
11. Misty
12. Sweet Georgia Brown
13. Little Girl Blue
14. After You've Gone
Buddy Rich - Drums
Sam Most - Clarinet, flute, alto sax
Mike Mainieri - Vibes
John Morris - Piano
Wilbur Wynne - Guitar (tracks I/1-8)
Richard Evans - Bass (tracks (I/1-8)
Don Goldie - Trumpet (tracks I/2, 6)
Wyatt Ruther - Bass (tracks I/9-12, II/1-14)
Vinny Marino - Congas (tracks I/9-12, II/1-14)


This double CD contains not only the 1960 LP Playtime but also an unissued Argo album from c1961 and a recording of several 1961 NBC radio broadcasts entitled Let's Go to Town. The whole package comprises about 114 minutes of fine small-group music, driven by Buddy Rich's stimulating drums.

Buddy was equally useful in big bands and small groups but one advantage of his small-group recordings is that you hear more of Buddy, especially playing four-bar breaks. Skilful arrangements (by Mike Mainieri on the first eight tracks and some others) make the best use of the small band, as in Makin' Whoopee, where the relaxed arrangement ends with a series of jokey double notes.

Buddy Rich doesn't hog the limelight, although he does some fantastic solos. His longest solo is probably on The Surrey with the Fringe on Top, a performance at top speed which also illustrates Mike Mainieri's agility. But Rich is equally good at spurring the band with just-right emphases and accents, as in Cheek to Cheek. As well as Buddy, the most prominent soloist is Sam Most, whose versatility is evident on the first eight tracks, where he plays three instruments (he stays with the flute for the remainder of the album). Vibist Mike Mainieri also gets well-deserved solo space. Mainieri was given his first big opportunity by Buddy Rich, and Mike certainly was a find: not only a skilful arranger but also a talented vibes-player.

The front cover says "Featuring Sam Most, Mike Mainieri and Don Goldie" but Goldie only appears on two tracks. He produces an acceptable solo on Playtime and a sparklingly fast muted solo on Marbles.

The mixture of Buddy Rich's extrovert drumming with the delicate flute and vibes makes a piquant contrast. For instance, Fascinating Rhythm opens with a slow, plaintive introduction from the flute before the whole group swings into a fast tempo.As with nearly all Buddy's recordings, the music swings along irresistibly. And the combination of Mainieri, Most and Rich is irresistible.

Tony Augarde

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