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

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Four Classic Albums





Tenors West

1. Tenors West

2. There's No You

3. The Dragon

4. Shorty George

5. Paichence

6. At The Mardi Gras

7. Take The "A" Train

8. Ballet Du Bongo

9. Line For Lyons

10. Jacqueline

11. Con-Spirito

Take Me Along

12. Overture-Take Me Along

13. Nine O'Clock

14. Little Green Snake

15. Promise Me A Rose

16. But Yours

17. Sid, Ol' Kid

18. Patience Of A Saint

19. Staying Young

20. Thinkin' Things

21. We're Home


The Picasso of Big Band Jazz

1. From Now On

2. Walkin' On Home

3. Black Rose

4. Tommy's Toon

5. New Soft Shoe

6. What's New

7. Easy Listnin'

8. Martyni Time

9. Nice And Easy

Lush, Latin and Cool

10. Honky Tonk Train

11. Invitation

12. Autumn Leaves

13. Honeysuckle Rose

14. Stella By Starlight

15. Cumana

16. Sabre Dance

17. Canadian Sunset

18. St. Louis Blues Boogie Woogie

19. Little Rock Getaway

20. Miserlou

21. One O'Clock Jump

Marty Paich Octet; Marty Paich and His Jazz Piano Quartet: The Marty Paich Piano Quartet

Recorded 1955-60 [79:23 + 75:29]

The punchy swing of Marty Paich’s 1955 Octet inaugurates the first of the four LPs decanted into Avid’s twofer. Smooth voicings ensure that West Coast niceties are upheld and with blues-encoded work from Conte Candoli and a sax section dripping with talent – Giuffre, Bob Cooper, Bob Enevoldsen, Harry Klee and Jack Dulong – these eleven tracks lack for little in either sophistication or vitality. Basie-ish musings infiltrate Shorty George, hardly surprising as it’s a Count co-composition, and Paich’s own modish fun on Ballet Du Bongo (where his piano sounds rather reminiscent of Nat Pierce) extends the stylistic variety on offer. It’s by far the longest track. Playful Classicism can be savoured on Con-Spirito, another Paich original, where the solos, if somewhat too tidy, are nevertheless eloquent. Paich, let it not be forgotten, took composition lessons from Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

The Paich Jazz Piano Quartet is a jazz concept based on Bob Merrill’s music for the show Take Me Along. The fellow ivory ticklers are Pete Jolly, Jimmy Rowles and Johnny Williams. Vic Feldman is less audible on vibes, though he has his moment amidst the geniality of Patience of a Saint. Despite the ‘jazz concept’ there’s no improvisation here, and this will be of significantly less interest to out-and-out aficionados. Paich’s Big Band, with a raft of West Coast denizens, produced nine excellent cuts on the Picasso of Big Band Jazz album made in California in June 1957. I suspect that the idea of Picasso the Jazzman was old hat even then, though it’s a decent enough peg on which to hang these moody, cleverly textured peaches all of which, with the exception of the Burke-Haggart What’s New are from Paich’s busy pen. The crisp, cool voicings – French horn, clarinet amongst them - generate plenty of colour and finesse. Rhythms are easy swinging, sometimes indeed loping and there’s nothing anaemic about this date, though its heat is of the under-floor rather than wall mounted kind; implied rather than boiling. The last album sees a return of the Piano Quartet this time accompanied by the Usual Suspects – including Art Pepper and Bud Shank – amongst brass and reeds. A very elevated string quartet is part of the ensemble as well. Plenty of genres are covered, from Chi-Chi to Boogie, festive Latino to mood music, lush strings to piano roulades, a knees-up Little Rock Getaway to a glittering but exciting One O’Clock Jump. Not subtle, no, but enjoyable.

Paich admirers will know that the jazz content of the two Piano Quartet albums is low and that Tenors West and Picasso are the main focus of interest here. Booklet reproduction is excellent and the transfers are good.

Jonathan Woolf

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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