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

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Fresh Sound FSR 620



1. Sunday
2. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
3. Tea for Two
4. Ballad Medley: 'Round Midnight/You Don't Know What Love Is/How Can We Be Wrong?/Lullaby of the Leaves/Yesterdays
5. Blue Lou
6. Funky's Oncle
Live Date!
7. Oh, Lady Be Good!
8. Satin Doll
9. My Funny Valentine
10. Blues for Space Travellers

1. Tin Reed Blues
2. Ballad Medley: I'm Glad There is You/There's No You/These Foolish Things
3. Crazy Rhythm
4. Just Squeeze Me
5. Undecided
6. Ja-Da
7. Ballad Medley: Now I Lay Me Down to Dream/Honey/This Love of Mine/Darn That Dream
8. Lulu's Back in Town
9. Ballad Medley: Old Folks/How Long Has This Been Going On/Please
10. Witty

Buddy DeFranco - Clarinet
Harry "Sweets" Edison - Trumpet
Bob Hardaway - Tenor sax
Jimmy Rowles - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Curtis Counce - Bass
Alvin Stoller - Drums

Live Date!
Buddy DeFranco - Clarinet
Herbie Mann - Flute, bass clarinet
Victor Feldman - Vibes
Pete Jolly - Piano, accordion
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Scott LaFaro - Bass
Frank De Vito - Drums

Buddy DeFranco - Clarinet
Harry "Sweets" Edison - Trumpet
Herbie Mann - Flute, bass clarinet
Jimmy Rowles - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Mel Lewis - Drums


After the prominence it received during the 1930s from Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, the clarinet suddenly became unfashionable with the arrival of bebop. Perhaps the instrument tended to sound thin when compared with the saxophone or trumpet, and only a few clarinettists were bold enough to tackle the new trends in jazz.

The outstanding clarinettist at this time was Buddy DeFranco, who had the facility to play complex sequences while keeping one foot in the mainstream camp. This double CD has the subtitle "Complete 1959 Septette Recordings" and comprises three whole LPs which put Buddy in a mainstream setting. DeFranco had paid his dues in the bands of Charlie Barnet and Tommy Dorsey, as well as being the first white man employed by Count Basie for his small group.

Buddy is quoted in the sleeve-note as saying that the idea of these sessions was "to get together with some of the swinging guys...who came up with the best days of the swing period, as opposed to fellows from the contemporary or out-and-out bop school". In other words, we have a typical set of sessions produced by Norman Granz, leaving the musicians free to play as they pleased. Like many Granz productions, there is a ballad medley, enabling most of the musicians the chance to show their paces at a gentle tempo. In fact this album contains three such medleys, with DeFranco stretching out on 'Round Midnight, I'm Glad There is You and the seldom-heard Now I Lay Me Down to Dream.

Other highlights include Oh, Lady Be Good! which is dressed in new chords; Just Squeeze Me, for which DeFranco devised neat harmonising by trumpet, clarinet and flute; and Buddy's composition Witty, a minor blues. DeFranco's tone might sound cool but these sessions show that he believed in putting soul as well as intellect into his playing. This is clear in the unusually fast version of Blue Lou, introduced with a storming drum solo by Alvin Stoller and including a really hot solo by Buddy. There are also many swinging contributions from Harry Edison. Indeed, all the musicians supporting Buddy DeFranco make worthwhile contributions, including British vibist Victor Feldman, guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Scott LaFaro (just past his 22nd birthday). It is interesting to hear flautist Herbie Mann playing the bass clarinet - rather well.

The arrangements - presumably by Buddy - are ingenious but the recording quality is occasionally foggy. Listening to this album may convince you that the clarinet never really went away, as Buddy DeFranco kept alive the tradition of virtuoso clarinettists which continued with such musicians as Eddie Daniels and Paquito D'Rivera.

Tony Augarde

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