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"The Tiger":
Portrait of a Great Alto Player

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 667



1. Introduction By Al "Jazzbo" Collins
2. Flying Down To Rio
3. The Things We Did Last Summer
4. Darn That Dream
5. Sid Meets Haig
6. Blues For The Camels
7. Lover Man
8. Achilles' Heel
9. Everything Happens To Me
10. Rubbin' The Genie
11. If I'm Lucky
12. The Deacon
13. It Could Happen To You
14. Stompin' At The Savoy
15. Round Table
16. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
17. I Don't Know
18. Tangerine

Gene Quill - Alto sax
Dick Sherman - Trumpet (tracks 1-10)
Argonne Thornton - Piano (tracks 1-5)
Buddy Jones - Bass (tracks 1-5)
Sol Gubin - Drums (tracks 1-5)
Dick Katz- Piano (tracks 6-10)
Teddy Kotick- Bass (tracks 6-10)
Osie Johnson - Drums (tracks 6-10, 15-18)
Terry Pollard- Piano (tracks 11-14)
Dick Garcia - Guitar (tracks 11-14)
Bill Anthony- Bass (tracks 11-14)
Frank Isola - Drums (tracks 11-14)
Hank Jones - Piano (tracks 15-18)
Barry Galbraith - Guitar (tracks 15-18)
Milt Hinton - Bass (tracks 15-18)


Many saxophone players were influenced by Charlie Parker - alto saxists naturally most of all. Yet it is strange that, among those musicians, Gene Quill is not better known. This CD, containing four sessions from 1955 and 1956, displays his virtuosity clearly. Even in mid-tempo numbers he tended to double the tempo, soloing with startling ease.

The Parker influence is evident in the bebop idiom that Quill adopted, although he was equally well known for playing with big bands, notably Claude Thornhill's and (later) Gerry Mulligan's. Dick Sherman, who had played in some of the same bands as Gene, is featured on two of these sessions and his playing is as smooth and dextrous as Quill's.

The influence of Charlie Parker is most noticeable in tracks 2 to 5, taken from a live performance at the Pythian Temple in New York. Although he was influenced by Parker and bebop, on these sessions Gene chose to play jazz standards and originals by members of his groups rather than bebop classics.

Tracks I would single out as being especially listenable include Dick Katz's Blues For The Camels, an easy-going bounce with excellent solos from all involved, not least drummer Osie Johnson; a tenderly soulful Lover Man; and If I'm Lucky, in which Quill plays a ballad with a delicate tone which approaches that of Paul Desmond. Dick Garcia does some good work on guitar in this last number and the two succeeding tracks.

From these impressive recordings, one can understand why Gene Quill's colleagues called him "Tiger".

Tony Augarde

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