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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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DAVE PELL OCTET

Jazz Goes Dancing

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 739

 

 

Prom to Prom
1. Look Who's Dancing
2. East of the Sun
3. You
4. Young and Healthy
5. The Continental
6. Dance for Daddy
7. When I Take My Sugar to Tea
8. If I Had You
9. Cheek to Cheek
10. Let's Face the Music and Dance
11. Prom to Prom
12. Walkin' My Baby Back Home
 
Dave Pell - Tenor sax
Don Fagerquist - Trumpet
Ray Sims - Trombone
Marty Berman - Baritone sax
Arnold Ross - Piano
Tony Rizzi - Guitar
Bob Bates - Bass
Irving Kluger - Drums
 
Campus Hop
13. Java Junction
14. You're My Everything
15. Forty-second Street
16. By the River Sainte Marie
17. I Know Why and So Do You
18. We're in the Money
19. Cheerful Little Earful
20. Would You Like to Take a Walk
21. Lulu's Back in Town
22. I'll String Along with You
23. Remember Me
24. Summer Night
 
Dave Pell - Tenor sax
Jack Sheldon - Trumpet
Bob Enevoldsen - Valve trombone
Med Flory - Baritone sax
Paul Moer - Piano
Tommy Tedesco - Guitar
Buddy Clark - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums

 

Dave Pell was a saxophonist who worked in Les Brown's band on the American West Coast from 1947 to 1955. In 1953 he formed his octet, which included some musicians who had played for Les Brown, such as Don Fagerquist and Ray Sims. Dave Pell won considerable popularity by playing in colleges and for high school proms, concentrating on jazz which was suitable for dancing. The music was of high quality, thanks especially to the talented arrangers that Pell employed, including Bill Holman, Marty Paich, Shorty Rogers and Jack Montrose.

The Octet made two LPs called Jazz Goes Dancing, the first in 1956 sub-titled 'Prom to Prom' and the second in 1957 subtitled 'Campus Hop'. This CD contains both albums. They consist of tight, disciplined arrangements which make the most of the eight musicians. Each track contains a good deal of ensemble writing, leaving limited room for jazz solos. What solos there are seldom last for more than 16 bars. Only four of the dozen tracks on the first LP last for longer than three minutes.

One danger of such short, clean arrangements is that they can seem soulless, but that tendency is kept at bay with interesting treatments of the tunes. For instance, Let's Face the Music and Dance is taken at an unusually slow tempo, and Forty-second Street is updated from its old-fashioned mood to sound like a cool modern arrangement.

Dave Pell himself had a clipped style on the tenor sax, without much vibrato - somewhat similar to the style of altoist Lee Konitz. The trumpeters on both LPs are excellent, with Jack Sheldon particularly notable on We're in the Money and Would You Like to Take a Walk. Med Flory's solos on baritone sax are well worth hearing.

This album is certainly well-suited to dancing but also to listening, as it is full of musical subtleties.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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