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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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Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1037



The Swinger
1. Pussy Willow
2. The Very Thought Of You
3. Nasty
4. The Strollers
5. Sunday
6. Fair Ground
Mr Swing - Harry Edison
7. Love Is Here To Stay
8. Short Coat
9. Baby, Won't You Please Come Home
10. Impressario
11. Ill Wind

Gee, Baby Ain't I Good To You
1. Blues For Piney Brown
2. Blues For The Blues
3. Blues For Bill Basie
4. Gee, Baby Ain't I Good To You
5. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
6. Taste On The Place
7. Moonlight In Vermont
8. Hollering At The Watkins
9. Used To Be Basie
10. How Deep Is The Ocean
11. Studio Call
12. Love Is Here To Stay
13. K. M. Blues
14. Walkin' With Sweets

Harry Edison - Trumpet with:

Jimmy Forrest - Tenor sax
Jimmy Jones - Piano
Freddie Green - Guitar
Joe Benjamin - Bass
Charlie Persip - Drums

CD2 - Tracks 1-7
Ben Webster - Tenor sax
Oscar Peterson - Piano
Barney Kessel- Guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5)
Herb Ellis - Guitar (tracks 3, 6, 7)
Ray Brown - Bass
Alvin Stoller - drums

Tracks 8-14
Ben Webster - Tenor sax
Jimmy Rowles - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Joe Mondragon - Bass
Alvin Stoller - Drums


I have already reviewed several albums by Harry Edison, so perhaps there is not much more to say. I've pointed out his liking for certain clich‚s which recur frequently in his solos. These include the repetition of pairs of notes, downward glissandi, and a long-held note which eventually rises then falls. These phrases are well in evidence on this double CD consisting of three original LPs plus seven tracks from the album Sweets.

Despite the clich‚s, Harry Edison can charm the birds out of the trees with his unique style, possibly perfected during his long years with the Count Basie Orchestra. His methods are relaxed and seldom assertive. He has a gorgeous tone which is subdued when he adds a mute to the trumpet and he always swings easily, knowing that swing is achieved by the subtle use of syncopation and leaving spaces in the music.

Tenorist Jimmy Forrest switches adroitly from mellow and breathy to a more extrovert sound reminiscent of his rhythm-and-blues hit Night Train. The rhythm chugs along nicely on the first CD, thanks largely to the inimitable guitar of Freddie Green and the steady bass of Joe Benjamin. All the tracks on the first CD were recorded at the same session in September 1958 and the musicians sound entirely at ease. Harry Edison rightly described this set as "an old Basie-type thing. Uncomplicated, and plenty of room to solo".

The first seven tracks on the second CD come from a 1957 LP called Gee, Baby Ain't I Good to You. Edison had the advantage here of being joined by the superb tenorist Ben Webster and perhaps the best rhythm section available: the Oscar Peterson Trio plus drummer Alvin Stoller. It is no accident that three of the seven tracks are blues numbers, which allow the musicians to feel comfortable without being complacent. Listen, for example, to Ben Webster's growling solo on Blues For The Blues or his slightly more restrained but still gutsy playing in Taste On The Place.

The last seven tracks come from the 1956 album called simply Sweets. Of course, the title refers to Lester Young's appropriate nickname for Harry Edison. The line-up is roughly the same as on the previous LP except that Jimmy Rowles is at the piano and Joe Mondragon is on bass. Six of the compositions are originals by Edison, displaying his versatility. Used To be Basie is his tribute to the Count, and Jimmy Rowles' piano solo is in the economical Basie style. Ben Webster's seductive tenor almost steals the laurels from Edison but Harry continues to swing attractively.

Once again, the Avid label is offering us a bargain which needs to be snapped up before it disappears from the racks.

Tony Augarde

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