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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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Four Classic Albums




1-12: `Recorded Fall 1961'
1. Minuet Circa '61
2. Who Could Care
3. Nice Work If You Can Get It
4. Thump, Thump, Thump
5. A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square
6. Love Jumped Out
7-14: `Brookmeyer'
7. Oh, Jane Snavely
8. Nature Boy
9. Just You, Just Me
10. I'm Old Fashioned
11. Gone Latin
12. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
13. Big City Life
14. Open Country
1. Confusion Blues
2-9: `Tonite's Music Today'
2. Mr. Moon
3. I Hear A Rhapsody
4. The Chant
5. Blues
6. Zoot's Tune
7. How Long Has This Been Going On
8. Bobby's Tune
9. Blue Skies
10-15: `The Blues Hot And Cold'
10. Languid Blues
11. On The Sunny Side Of The Street
12. Stoppin' At The Savoy
13. I Got Rhythm
14. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
15. Hot And Cold Blues
Bob Brookmeyer Quartet, and featuring Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Gene Quill, Steve Kuhn, Jimmy Rowles, Hank Jones, Milt Hinton, Roy Haynes, Mel Lewis, Gus Johnson and others


Time and again one returns to Brookmeyer's bands or those co-led by him with a sense of coming home. The arrangements are supple, clever and full of wit, and the solos and ensemble sounds are both practised and exciting. These albums were all recorded between 1956 and 1961 and feature a stellar collection of fellow musicians in addition to Brookmeyer. Getz and Brookmeyer star on the first tracks, evincing a wide range of attacks and colours, taking in a ballad, and allowing Steve Kuhn to show some allegiance to Bill Evans. The album called simply Brookmeyer features not only top class soloists but superbly voiced orchestrations, moments of Basie-like sweep, and Latino infiltration. Throughout, inspiration operates at a very high level. Brookmeyer plays piano on Open Country with cor anglais accompaniment - a very plangent Hopperesque opus.

Tonite's Music Today witnesses a remarkable exhibition of Brookmeyer the chameleon. With smears, rasps and pawky humour - Vic Dickenson meets J C Higginbotham, maybe - he reinvigorates traditionalism, or, perhaps, reinvents modernism in tradition's direct glare in such a way that you'd never know it was him. In The Blues Hot and Cold the lexicon of back-to-basics `boning even increases yet further to include Gospel-drenched richness and blues preaching. Far before contemporary composers experimented with leather clad trombonists and Harley Davidson noises, Brookmeyer was doing something like a motor bike exhaust noise in On The Sunny Side Of The Street. If you've thought of him as a rather rarefied stylist, prepare to be royally disabused. On the title track of this album, even a cimbalom seems to be evoked.

This superb double, with reproduced original LP notes, offers a window on Brookmeyer's stylistic brinkmanship. There's never a dull moment, and never a sloppy one.

Jonathan Woolf

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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