CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger


Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux,, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thomson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]



BUY NOW
AmazonUK   AmazonUS


MICHEL LEGRAND

Legrand Jazz / Legrand Piano

PHONO 870266

 

 

 

 

 

CD1

Legrand Jazz (tracks 1-11)

  1. Wild Man Blues

  2. Round Midnight

  3. Jitterbug Waltz

  4. Django

  5. Nuages

  6. Rosetta

  7. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

  8. Blue And Sentimental

  9. Stompin' At The Savoy

  10. A Night In Tunisia

  11. In A Mist

    Michel Legrand - Arranger, conductor

    Miles Davis - Trumpet (tracks 1-4)

    Art Farmer, Donald Byrd, Ernie Royal, Joe Wilder - Trumpet (tracks 9-11)

    Frank Rehak, Jimmy Cleveland - Trombone (tracks 5-11)

    Billy Byers, Eddie Bert - Trombone (tracks 5-8)

    Herbie Mann - Flute (tracks 1-8)

    Jerome Richardson - Clarinet, baritone sax (tracks 1-4)

    Jimmy Buffington - French horn (tracks 9-11)

    Major Holley - Tuba (tracks 5-8)

    Phil Woods - Alto sax (tracks 1-4, 9-11)

    Gene Quill - Alto sax (tracks 9-11)

    John Coltrane - Tenor sax (tracks 1-4)

    Ben Webster - Tenor sax (tracks 5-8)

    Seldon Powell - Tenor sax (tracks 9-11)

    Teo Macero - Baritone sax (tracks 9-11)

    Betty Glamann - Harp (tracks 1-4)

    Eddie Costa - Vibes (tracks 1-4)

    Don Elliott - Vibes (tracks 9-11)

    Bill Evans - Piano (tracks 1-4)

    Hank Jones - Piano (tracks 5-8)

    Nat Pierce - Piano (tracks 9-11)

    Barry Galbraith - Guitar (tracks 1-4)

    Paul Chambers - Bass (tracks 1-4)

    George Duvivier - Bass (tracks 5-8)

    Milt Hinton - Bass (tracks 9-11)

    Kenny Dennis - Drums (tracks 1-4)

    Don Lamond - Drums (tracks 5-8)

    Osie Johnson - Drums (tracks 9-11)

    Michel Legrand Big Band Plays Richard Rodgers (tracks 12-22)

  1. Falling In Love With Love

  2. People Will Say We're In Love

  3. Bali Ha'i

  4. Have You Met Miss Jones?

  5. It Might As Well Be Spring

  6. This Can't Be Love

  7. Some Enchanted Evening

  8. There's A Small Hotel

  9. Getting To Know You

  10. My Funny Valentine

  11. The Lady Is A Tramp

    Michel Legrand - Conductor (tracks 13, 18, 20, 21), arranger

    Billy Byers - Conductor (tracks 12, 14-17, 19, 22)

    Clark Terry, Al Desiri - Trumpet

    Ernie Royal, Snooky Young - Trumpet (tracks 13, 15, 17, 20-22)

    Wayne Andre, Bill Elton, Urbie Green - Trombone

    Willie Dennis - Trombone (tracks 13, 18, 20, 21)

    John (Jack) Rains - Trombone (tracks 12-14, 16, 18-21)

    Bob Brookmeyer - Trombone (tracks 15, 17, 22)

    Tom Mitchell - Trombone (tracks 15, 17, 22), bass trombone (tracks 12-14, 16, 18-21)

    Dick Lieb - Bass trombone (tracks 12-14, 16, 18-21)

    Ray Alonge, Earl Chapin - French horn

    Dick Berg - French horn (tracks 12-14, 16, 18-21)

    Julius Watkins, Bob Northern - French horn (tracks 15, 17, 22)

    Phil Woods - Alto sax, flute, clarinet

    Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax (tracks 15, 17, 22)

    George Berg, Tony Castallano, Harold Feldman, Don Hammond, Al Howard, Walt Levinsky, Al Klink, Danny Bank, Sol Schlinger – Reeds, woodwinds (tracks 12-14, 16, 18-21)

    Lou Stein - Piano (tracks 13, 18, 20, 21)

    Hank Jones - Piano (tracks 12, 14, 16, 19)

    Tommy Flanagan - Piano (tracks 15, 17, 22)

    Milt Hinton - Bass

    Gary Burton - Vibes, percussion (tracks 13, 18, 20, 21)

    Bill Costa, Warren Smith - Percussion (tracks 13, 18, 20, 21)

    Sol Gubin - Drums (tracks 12, 14-17, 19, 22)

    CD2

    Legrand Piano (tracks 1-13)

  1. I Love Paris (From Can Can)

  2. Autumn Leaves

  3. Under The Bridges Of Paris

  4. Paris In The Spring

  5. Paris Canaille

  6. April In Paris

  7. Ŕ Paris

  8. La Vie En Rose

  9. Under Paris Skies

  10. Paris je t'aime (Paris, Stay The Same)

  11. The Song From Moulin Rouge

  12. The Last Time I Saw Paris 2

  13. I Love Paris (From Can Can) (Reprise)

    Michel Legrand - Piano

    Guy Pederson - Bass

    Gus Wallez - Drums

    Broadway Is My Beat (tracks 14-27)

  1. There's A Boat That's Leavin' Soon For New York

  2. On The Street Where You Live

  3. A Wonderful Guy

  4. Yesterdays

  5. Make Believe

  6. Summertime

  7. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

  8. Bewitched

  9. I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'

  10. If I Loved You

  11. Oh What A Beautiful Mornin'

  12. Old Devil Moon

  13. With A Little Bit Of Luck

  14. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

    Orchestra conducted and arranged by Michel Legrand - personnel unknown.

    Many of those who recognise the name of the French pianist, arranger, songwriter, and conductor Michel Legrand, probably associate him with his work as a film and television composer. Melodies as memorable as I Will Wait For You from the filmThe Umbrellas Of Cherbourg andThe Windmills Of Your Mind fromThe Thomas Crown Affair or indeed What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? from the 1969 movie, The Happy Ending helped to build an enviable reputation in this role. There's even a recording of the latter song available on You Tube, which reveals to him to be no mean balladeer. What may be less obvious to the unitiated is his contribution to jazz. Now 85 years old, Legrand was born into a musical family in Paris. At least five members of his family were musicians, including his father Raymond who was a bandleader and his sister Christiane who was a singer. His mother, meanwhile, managed a music publishing firm. No wonder the young Michel was hailed as a prodigy! On and off during his career, Legrand has conducted, wrote for or recorded with jazz giants such as Stan Getz, Sarah Vaughan, Phil Woods, Stephane Grappelli, Shelly Manne and Bud Shank. At the time of Legrand Jazz, the most notable of the four albums included in this collection, he was only 24.

    Legrand Jazz assembles fifteen of the most talented jazz musicians of their day (some of them, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Bill Evans among the most gifted of all time). Constituting three different groups across eleven tracks, the result is a triumph. The musical material is drawn from the classic jazz repertoire, ranging from traditional sources, through the swing era to bebop and beyond. 'Round Midnight features Miles Davis at his wistful best, alongside Herbie Mann on flute and harpist Betty Glamann, among others. Miles is muted perfection on Django. Duke Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore has some positively Kentonesque trombones while the excellent George Duvivier impresses on bass and Herbie Mann, as usual, contributes in that light-hearted, quirky style of his on flute. And how about that rousing ensemble on A Night In Tunisia? In fact, the only track on this first album that I wasn't enamoured of was Blue And Sentimental. I appreciate Ben Webster's qualities on tenor sax but, on occasions, find his lush tone a little rich for my taste.

    The other jazz album among four offerings contained in this two CD set is Legrand Piano where Legrand goes through his paces as part of a piano trio. With the odd exception (i.e. Autumn Leaves), the bulk of the melodies are about Paris, Legrand's home city. Occasionally a tad gimmicky but with unusual arrangements and a strong dash of romanticism, much of the content I would describe as cocktail jazz. There are hints of Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, for instance, in Legrand's playing but the pianist that most came to mind was George Shearing, especially onŔ Paris, La Vie En Rose andThe Song From Moulin Rouge (otherwise known as Where Is Your Heart?). The latter, by the way, is an arrangement a mile away from the rather dreamy, slow treatment the tune normally receives. The other resemblance I noticed was to André Previn - try I Love Paris, for instance, where the intial gently swinging improvisation is embellished with more trenchant moments. There's a fine trio collaboration on The Last Time I Saw Paris 2.

    As for the Michel Legrand Big Band Plays Richard Rogers, which provides the rest of the first CD, despite the presence of talents such as Clark Terry on trumpet and Paul Gonsalves on tenor sax in the band, this is pretty average fare. Exceptions can be found on Have You Met Miss Jones?, This Can't Be Love and The Lady Is A Tramp, all of which benefit greatly from Terry's contributions. Which brings us to the other bonus album, Broadway Is My Beat, a make-weight on the second CD. All the tunes have jazz potential but only one receives that kind of treatment. Old Devil Moon with an arrangement in the Nelson Riddle style is the sole redeeming feature from a jazz perspective. Otherwise, lovers of show tunes played by Mantovani, Ray Conniff or (more recently) the John Wilson Orchestra may disagree, but for this listener the corn was indeed as high as an elephant's eye!

    The collection as a whole is worth having for Legrand Jazz and, to a lesser extent, Legrand Piano. After that, pickings are slim.

    James Poore

 


Return to Index