Thad Jones/Mel Lewis

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Rudy

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Anyone know of a good starting point, or a good classic TJ/ML album I can begin collecting with?

Came across an MP3 file online, of the song "Ahunk, Ahunk", which we used to play in our jazz band class. A couple other tracks I'd heard sound interesting. These may have come from that recent Mosaic set, which I think is now sold out. (Had I known...) There's usually a prime era for any band or artist--I'd sort of like to get one or two good albums to see what I like.

I still don't regret getting the 10-CD Roulette Maynard Ferguson set--IMHO, that had to be one of his best eras, with some of his best ensembles and arrangements. Don Ellis...I only have a few, but they're always interesting.

I'm still beginning to explore Stan Kenton, too. I guess I'm too young, but to me, the Kenton big band approach still sounds very fresh, and could have been recorded merely a year or two ago, not three or four decades ago. I can see how the Kenton band would have been considered ahead of its time. One of the Kenton CDs I have features Pat Senatore flying up and down the upright bass. :wink: (That would be Adventures In Jazz.)

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Captain Bacardi

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Rudy said:
Anyone know of a good starting point, or a good classic TJ/ML album I can begin collecting with?

I don't know if it's classic or not, but a couple of their albums I enjoy are Potpourri on the Philadelphia International label, and either Suite For Pops or Live In Munich on Horizon. I've played several of their charts in various stage bands, but at the moment I can't recall the titles. They were all blues-based tunes, though, and kind of funky.

Rudy said:
I still don't regret getting the 10-CD Roulette Maynard Ferguson set--IMHO, that had to be one of his best eras, with some of his best ensembles and arrangements.

I was just listening to his Si, Si, MF the other day. Lots of bravado in that trumpet section! :cool:

Rudy said:
Don Ellis...I only have a few, but they're always interesting.

I still have a sealed copy of Tears Of Joy that I've been meaning to put on CD. Just can't seem to find enough time... :confused:

Rudy said:
I'm still beginning to explore Stan Kenton, too. I guess I'm too young, but to me, the Kenton big band approach still sounds very fresh, and could have been recorded merely a year or two ago, not three or four decades ago. I can see how the Kenton band would have been considered ahead of its time. One of the Kenton CDs I have features Pat Senatore flying up and down the upright bass. :wink: (That would be Adventures In Jazz.)

I can't remember if I already mentioned this, but there was a reissue from last year called Kenton Showcase, which featured two albums, one of the music of Bill Russo, the other the music of Bill Holman. Some great solos by Frank Rosolino and Lee Konitz. It's from the 1953-54 era. Great stuff!

BTW, there's also a DVD out called The Jazz Scene, which was an old TV show hosted by Oscar Brown, Jr (of "Work Song" fame). Each DVD has two shows on it, and the one I have has Rosolino's group, plus the Kenton band playing some rather intriguing things. It has the mellophones in the band. High brow TV from that time. :cool:


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Rudy

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I was reading that the mellophoniums were quite controversial in their day:

http://52ndstreet.com/kenton/mellophonium.htm

Can't say I would know if any of the recordings I own would fall into the mellophonium era. It's just another color--like Mancini using French horns on some of his big band recordings.

Si! Si! M.F. is one of the better Roulettes. I also like the album Straightaway which, apparently, was a soundtrack for a TV show about auto racing. The Roulette set is interesting in that it also includes Maynard's "dance albums". Back then, the big band would record the more challenging music, but would also make albums that could be used for dancing, featuring more covers of standards and a more steady, danceable rhythm. If you've ever seen the albums like Maynard '61 (with a year on them), they were all recorded within the span of a couple of weeks. The band recorded these in a flurry of activity to fulfill the Roulette contract, and the label released them over the next couple of years.

I realized I could also ask Bob Mintzer about some good TJ/ML albums--he played with the band for awhile, before putting his own band together. They sometimes get overlooked in the big scheme of things, but I've heard a lot of other artists have been influenced by the band, even non-jazz musicians like Brian Setzer, who used to sneak into the Village Vanguard to hear the band before he was legally old enough to enter.

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jimac51

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Neil-There ain't much out in print on Jones/Lewis-however-BlueNote just released "Consummation",which contains "Ahunk,Ahunk" and the original "A Child Is Born". "Child" is a personal favorite,having played my original LP over and over the day my firstborn came into the world,nearly 30 years ago. I've collected versions of "Child" and probably have over 20 versions,including a complete album by Dick Hyman with just that one piece. He has used it as a lecture in explaining the history of jazz piano from Scott Joplin to Cecil Taylor. "Child" was also my theme somg when doing volunteer radio shows at a local college station and with so many different styles to choose,I could come out of most sets with a version to match the previous style. But the original is the best and "Consummation" is where it came from. The album overall is probably the best Jones/Lewis studio venture,featuring all Thad compositions and arrngements. What a band! Jerome Richardson,Eddie Daniels,Jerry Dodgion on winds. Snooky young,Al Porcino, & Marvin Stamm in the trumpet section. .Gnd the rhythm section of Sir Roland Hanna on piano,Richard Davis on bass and Mel on drums. Guests for the recording include A&M's David Spinozza,Howard Johnson,Pepper Adams and Joe Farrell. Oh,and another reason to purchase-the Sonny Lester compression has been eliminated(a problem on all the Solid State originals)wiith remixing by Malcom Addey when he did the box for Mosaic.(The Mosaic box goes for $$$hundreds on ebay nowadays) Currently available in BMG's record club,too. I ordered it and they sent a Kenton("Standards") by mistake-got to keep that one and they quickly sent out the right selection. Mac
 

Rudy

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Mac: had I known about that Mosaic box, I might have saved up for it. I've been out of touch with Mosaic for a few years, and only came across mention of it on the Blue Note forum...messages from months ago that mentioned supplies were running low. But it sounds like Consummation might be what I'm looking for, and I could branch out from there if I wanted.

Ironically, I got ahold of the Kenton Standards CD recently myself and haven't played it yet. We must be on the same wavelength. :wink:

The only Mosaic box I'd ever purchased was the Ferguson Roulette set. Well worth it! And I believe I bought it just before they raised their CD prices by a buck each.

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jimac51

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Neil-my other Mosaic purchases have included-surprise!-the Complete Thad Jones on BlueNote,United Artists & Roulette(original BlueNote "deep groove" Thad's go for over a grand on ebay-truly an overlooked player in his time) and the Complete Gerald Wilson on Pacific Jazz(including Bob Edmundson on trombone)which I have waxed rhapsodically here on the old forum-still love his spin on Latin Jazz and still working into his eighties. I have never felt that Mosaic was anything but a good deal,"you gets what you pays for" proposition at the price. I just don't have the cash outlay for all my wants. I wish I had picked up the Jimmy Smith,Larry Young,Paul Desmond/Jim Hall and Tina Brooks sets that are gone forever. What a label! Mac
 

Rudy

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Although I wasn't into him at the time, I really wish I'd gotten my hands on the Complete Nat "King" Cole Trio set. The Bud Shank set sounds interesting, but is listed as "last chance."

One artist I'd like to see them cover is George Shearing (his studio recordings).

-= N =-
 
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