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CLARK TERRY

Four Classic Albums

AVID JAZZ AMSC 1102

 

 

CD1

Introducing Clark Terry

1. Swahili

2. Double Play

3. Slow Boat

4. Co-Op

5. Kitten

6. The Countess

7. Tuma

8. Chuckles

Clark Terry (trumpet), Cecil Payne (baritone sax), Jimmy Cleveland (trombone), Horace Silver (piano), Oscar Pettiford (cello & bass), Wendell Marshall (bass), Art Blakey (drums)

rec. 4 January, 1955

One Foot In The Gutter

9. One Foot In The Gutter

10. Well You Needn’t

11. Sandu

The Dave Bailey Sextet: Clark Terry (trumpet), Junior Cook (tenor saxophone), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Horace Parlan (piano), Dave Bailey (drums), Peck Morrison (bass)

rec. 19-20 July, 1960

CD2

In Orbit

Clark Terry Quartet with Thelonius Monk

1. In Orbit

2. One Foot In The Gutter

3. Trust In Me

4. Let’s Cool One

5. Pea-Eye

6. Argentia

7. Moonlight Fiesta

8. Buck’s Business

9. Very Near Blue

Clark Terry (fluegelhorn), Thelonius Monk (piano), Sam Jones (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)

rec. New York, 7 & 12 May, 1958

It’s About Time Jimmy Hamilton with Clark Terry & Britt Woodman

1. Two For One

2. Mr. Good Blues

3. Peanut Head

4. Stupid But Not Crazy

5. Nits and Wits

6. Gone With The Blues

Jimmy Hamilton (tenor saxophone & clarinet), Clark Terry (trumpet & fluegelhorn), Britt Woodman (trombone), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Wendell Marshall (bass), Mel Lewis (drums)

rec. 21March, 1961

AVID JAZZ AMSC 1102 [79:59] [79:35]

 

Following his discharge from the Army in 1945 Clark Terry played variously for the likes of Lionel Hampton, George Hudson, Charlie Barnet, Count Basie and Duke Ellington and was all of 34 before the first album on this two CD set was released. It the first full LP on which he was able to give full vent to his undoubted talents. For my money Terry is one of the most immediately identifiable trumpet players in jazz with innate musicality and an extremely personal voice. The very first track on the album Introducing Clark Terry proves this point beautifully since Swahili is built around him throughout its 6 minute length and his unique voice is displayed in all its colours. This first album has a band of true all star names including the drummers’ drummer Art Blakey and the wonderfully mellow bassist Oscar Pettiford as well as Wendell Marshall while the great Horace Silver is the dream pianist. Co-Op gives us a couple of lovely but all too short solos from baritone sax player Cecil Payne and trombonist Jimmy Cleveland though we get to hear more of Payne’s superbly fat sound in Kitten which also has a classic Art Blakey burst in his unique style, again surely the most easily discernible in all jazz drumming. The gloriously dreamy Tuma has Terry in reflective mood with muted trumpet mirrored beautifully by Silver. The fast and furious Chuckles ends this first album with blistering solos from Payne and Terry with interventions from Jimmy Cleveland and Silver with the rhythm section providing the solid backing.

Reading the booklet notes by Dave Bailey of his sextet’s 1960 recording date which produced the second album on the first CD here it appears that it was very much a party atmosphere that prevailed at the session and represents single takes in each case which alone shows how much of a good time they must have had. Opening with Terry’s own penned tune, which the band settled on as album title, One Foot In The Gutter, we have a lovely and oh so musical lead in from Terry before the rich sounds of Junior Cook’s tenor sax take over and the laid back way of playing is just fabulous. It would be difficult to think of a better trombonist to include in this band than Curtis Fuller and Dave Bailey clearly thought the same when he invited him to be part of this date. Horace Parlan is as mentioned above about Blakey a pianist’s pianist and his contribution on this first track is as tuneful as one would expect.

Thelonius Monk’s wonderfully wacky Well You Needn’t is the second of the three tracks on this album and the tune proves as robust as ever to being interpreted yet again in a new and wonderfully relaxed way (how many covers of this tune can there possibly be – it must run into hundreds but then that’s what gives a standard it’s place in history). What is especially pleasing about discs with long tracks is the amount of time that can be given over to solos and at eleven and a half minutes enables this one to deliver some remarkably satisfying moments from all concerned. That is even more the case with the disc’s final track since Clifford Brown’s Sandu lasts just short of 20 minutes and that really gives us some serious solo spots and Curtis Fuller’s is the first lasting all over 6 minutes and eliciting applause from both Terry and Junior Cook as well as from the small audience. Clark Terry’s solo comes next and is a beautifully measured and wonderfully tuneful contribution with his trademark warmth of sound; no raucous sounds from this man just playing that is gloriously soft and gentle making for a thoroughly impressive and satisfying experience. Junior Cook’s spot is again in keeping with the relaxed nature of the session in which each band member was given his head to do his own thing as the moment dictated and the result is pure undiluted pleasure. Parlan’s solo is brilliantly understated yet perfect in the context of the whole while Bailey himself and Peck Morrison provide that rock solid backing so absolutely imperative in all the best bands. Everyone comes together to round off this classic track and an album that delivers in every respect.

When it comes to the second CD we have an extremely rare example of an album on which the inimitable and idiosyncratic Thelonius Monk is employed as a sideman. In addition it was possibly the first time that the fluegelhorn was used as a lead instrument in a jazz recording session, or so Orrin Keepnews said on his original sleeve notes back in 1958, and he should know. That said the album stands in its own right as a really grooving disc full of wondrous things kicked off by the driving In Orbit in which Terry shows he has tamed the fluegelhorn into a biddable instrument that delivers a very special and truly rich sound closer to a French horn than a trumpet.

In the same year that he was piano award-winner in the Down Beat Critics’ Poll Monk shows, contrary to oft repeated stories that he was not happy to play ‘second fiddle’ to anyone else, that he settled in nicely to accompanying Terry and produces some characteristically ‘Monkish’ pianism that makes his style so immediately recognisable. Highlights in that department include a second rendition on this 2 CD set of Terry’s own One Foot In The Gutter and Let’s Cool One though any disc with Monk playing is always a winner for me.

Terry’s playing of his own material on the fluegelhorn shows the extent to which he had mastered the instrument; many trumpeters would find it hard to get round his fast tempos regardless of what they were playing and Pea- Eye is a good case in point. Sam Jones a then up-and-coming young bass player has some lovely solos as numbers such as Argentia amply prove. Also on this disc Philly Joe Jones who had made his name with Miles Davis fulfilled his ambition to record with Monk and shows why he was such a star among Jazz drummers.

Terry’s eloquent playing on the last track Very Near Blue is a tribute to his abilities on this then unusual instrument that once resided solely in the ‘austere symphonic brass sections’ as Orrin Keepnews wrote. The album is a real gem in the history of recorded jazz for several reasons and jazz lovers will readily respond to it.

The fourth album on the 2 CD set sees Terry co-leading a sextet with tenor saxophonist and clarinettist Jimmy Hamilton and trombonist Britt Woodman, all three of whom, together with bassist Wendell Marshall, were fellow musicians from Duke Ellington’s band. Mellow and beautiful sounds abound here on these six originals with Hamilton’s truly gorgeous clarinet solo in the opening number Two For One a case in point. Britt Woodman also encourages his trombone to sound as soft and relaxed as the clarinet – no mean feat! A note tells us that the unusual sound that comes from Terry’s trumpet is the result of using a buzz mute “like Frankie Newton used to use” he explained.

It’s a joy to hear Tommy Flanagan’s laid back dreamy piano in Mr. Good Blues on which Hamilton gives us some of each of his instruments to great effect. I don’t know about you but I like to hear quotes from other tunes buried in whatever is being played which always makes me smile and in Peanut Head I detected a small snatch from Lullaby Of Broadway from Terry shortly after which Jimmy Hamilton held a note on his clarinet for as long as 17 seconds – wow! There’s plenty to enjoy on this album as there is on the whole set and Gone With The Blues is a great signing off number which has Hamilton’s tenor mainly soaring and moaning delightfully while both Terry and Woodman play alongside, encouraging with short bursts of sound as punctuation.

Avid Jazz is a brilliant source of great jazz especially when it comes to these wonderful double CD sets on which they cram as much marvellous music as they possibly can and at budget prices. This set can take its place alongside their other releases and is one not only for trumpet aficionados in particular but for anyone who wants more proof that the 1950s and 60s were great eras for jazz during which some of the best interpreters came into flower to give us memorable music of real quality.

Steve Arloff

 



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