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



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CLARK TERRY &
BOB BROOKMEYER QUINTET

Complete Live Recordings 1962-1965

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 800

 

 

CD1

1. Simple Waltz

2. Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

3. Just An Old Manuscript

4. Stolen Moments

Clark Terry – Trumpet, flugelhorn

Bob Brookmeyer – Valve trombone

Eddie Costa – Piano

Joe Benjamin – Bass

Osie Johnson - Drums

5. Hymn

6. Straight No Chaser

7. Pretty Girl

8. Hum

9. Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

10. Tete-a-tete

11. Hymn

 

Clark Terry – Trumpet, flugelhorn

Bob Brookmeyer – Valve trombone

Laurie Holloway – Piano

Rick Laird – Bass

Allan Ganley - Drums

 

CD2

1. Sometime Ago

2. Incoherent Blues

3. Straight No Chaser

4. Weep

5. Hum

6. Pretty Girl

7. On The Alamo

8. The King

 

Clark Terry – Trumpet, flugelhorn

Bob Brookmeyer – Valve trombone

Roger Kellaway – Piano

Bill Crow – Bass

Dave Bailey - Drums

 

One of my favourite albums is The Power of Positive Swinging, a 1965 LP featuring a quintet led by Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer. They formed the group in 1961, when Brookmeyer was asked to assemble a band to play at the Half Note club in New York. Bob wanted to use Clark Terry, but Clark’s contract with NBC forbade him to play outside engagements unless he was the leader, so the quintet was formed with his name first. Brookmeyer wouldn’t have minded, because he and Terry were close friends, as their playing on these sessions reflects.

Their instruments combine mellifluously together, and their styles were similar. Both men could play quietly and smoothly as well as more powerfully with the occasional growl, and they could both (especially Clark) bend notes as if there was a glissando button on their instruments. They also shared a sense of humour, which may be detected in the curves of Just An Old Manuscript. On this track Terry plays a duet with himself, andIncoherent Blues is very like Clark’s famous Mumbles parody of the blues. He even adds a comical vocal to the second version of Things Ain’t What They Used To Be, with bluesy lyrics of his own devising.

These live recordings date from 1962 and 1965, and all were recorded at the Half Note, except for tracks 5 to 11 on the first CD which come from a Jazz 625 programme recorded by the BBC in London with a local rhythm section. The London tracks disprove the ancient belief that British rhythm sections of the period couldn’t swing, although a few of Allan Ganley’s drum breaks are awkward.

The quintet’s repertoire was a tasty mixture of jazz standards and originals by Terry or Brookmeyer. Stolen Moments is a good example of what the sleeve-note calls Clark Terry’s “characteristic dancing figures”, which make a neat contrast to Brookmeyer’s more earthy improvising.

I marginally prefer the second of the two CDs because it uses a more adventurous rhythm section: the same one as that on The Power of Positive Swinging. It is interesting to compare the version of Straight No Chaser here with the interpretation on the first CD, which illustrate the group’s adaptability. The second one is almost twice as long as the first. While the first one ends with a series of staccato notes, the second one begins with these. Roger Kellaway’s piano is consistently fascinating but here he excels himself, while Bill Crow and Dave Bailey keep things moving.

The recording quality varies throughout the various sessions, with the sound sometimes muddy or mingled with audience chatter. But the musicianship is continuously first-class.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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