How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
And Strings Redux
. A number of jazz reissues using strings have been finding their way beneath my laser. I reviewed Chet Baker and Strings last month in these virtual pages ( AJJ, September, 1998, Issue #11). Cleverly disguised as a standard jazz date, Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Peterson Play George Gershwin is a with strings recording and turns out to be a surprise on several other levels. First, I bought the disc because of Buddy DeFranco and thought how I wished I had bought the Buddy DeFranco/Sonny Clark Verve recordings on Mosaic when it was available. Oscar Peterson may have been the most formidable pianist in the late 1950s, but I always considered him too busy to be a complete accompanist. A second surprise stems from this first prejudice, both Peterson's and DeFranco's playing is lyrical, tasteful and evenly paced. I expected a bebop free-for-all and I heard almost a throwback to the swing era.
A Meager Wage
. The list of available Buddy DeFranco discs is very short. There are currently only three other discs: Born to Swing (Hindsight 00701), Chip Off The Old Bop (Concord 04527), and Mr. Lucky (Original Jazz Classics 00938). There have also been several Terry Gibbs-Buddy DeFranco collaborations. It would be so fine if Verve would re-release the Buddy DeFranco/Sonny Clark recordings, in spite of the Mosaic set, the same way that Blue Note re-released the complete quartets of Grant Green and Sonny Clark in spite of a similar (thought not identical) Mosaic set.
George at 100.
Undoubtedly this disc was re-released with George Gershwin's 100th birthday in mind. The performances remind me more of period pieces for swing era mavens than white-hot Bop from two splendid practitioners. These arrangements remind me of the Gershwin cacophony that permeated the Gene Kelly/Oscar Levant movie, "An American in Paris." All finely performed and wistfully transparent. An exceptional reissue.
I Wants to Stay Here, I Was Doing All Right, 'S Wonderful, Bess, You Is My Woman Now, Strike Up The Band, They Can't Take That Away From Me, The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm, Someone To Watch Over Me, It Ain't Necessarily So, I Wants to Stay Here (Alt), Someone To Watch Over Me (Alt)
Personnel: Buddy DeFranco (clarinet); Oscar Peterson (piano); Joe Pass (guitar); Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass); Martin Drew (drums).