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

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California Jazz

Catbone UnReleased Music &
Film-MVD Audio CB 2009-2



1. Asphyxiated Swing
2. Back Home In Indiana
3. Bolero de Mendez
4. Darn That Dream
5. Groove Juice
6. Polkadots And Moonbeams
7. The Great Lie
8. The Turk
9. Tom a nd Jerry
10. Where Can I Go?
11. Wouldn't You
12. Sao Palo
13. Baily's Boogie
14. Reflections

Jack Millman - Flugelhorn, trumpet
Maynard Ferguson - Flugelhorn
Buddy Collette - Flute, alto sax, tenor sax
Jimmy Giuffre - Baritone sax, clarinet
Bob Harrington - Piano
Don Friedman - Piano
Claude Williamson - Piano
Gerald Wiggins - Piano
Jack Costanzo - Congas
Artie Anton - Congas
Mike Pacheco - Congas
Fred Aguirre - Timbales, gourd
Don Paterson - Bass
Harry Babasin - Bass, cello
Curtis Counce - Bass
Red Mitchell - Bass
Ralph Pena - Bass
Howard Roberts - Guitar
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Don Overberg - Guitar
Red Norvo - Vibes
Chico Hamilton - Drums
Shelly Manne - Drums


Who was Jack Millman you may well ask? Active primarily in the 1950s, Millman is now an indefinable figure who played both trumpet and flugelhorn, but who was able to gather about him, some well-known and active jazz players of the period to record a series of albums of West Coast jazz. This current compilation entitled California Jazz brings some of these tracks together, and remarkably they do stand the test of time.

The main challenge for both the reviewer and listener, is that the individual players are not identified on a track-by-track basis. So unless one has a well-attuned ear and is a master of understanding the nuances of style, assigning the players to each track is sheer guesswork. In addition there are far too many track listing mistakes including: track 2 is not Back Home (Again) In Indiana but some other tune I do not recognize; track 4 is not Darn That Dream but some other composition with which I am not familiar; track 6 is not Polkadots and Moonbeams but the Dizzy Gillespie composition Woody'n You; track 10 is not Where Can I Go? but Back Home Again In Indiana; track 12 is not Sao Polo but Darn That Dream; and finally track 14 is not Reflections but Polkadots and Moonbeams. Furthermore there are several spelling mistakes and inaccurate attributions in the liner notes and CD cover page that should not happen.

Despite these glaring errors, the music is pleasant, in the West Coast counterpoint style with plenty of musical lyricism. Millman himself is not a West Coast horn-man heavyweight, but he has a close and accenting approach. His solos are brief and he does not get in the way of the charts.

If Catbone UnReleased plans on continuing in this reissue market, they need to spend some time and money on ensuring the many faults that are evident in this release do not continue in future projects.

Pierre Giroux

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