Who wouldn't enjoy a nice trip overseas in Europe? Certainly many jazz musicians enjoyed a sojourn overseas because of the enthusiastic audiences, lack of prejudice, and, of course, the ability to see all the sights. Altoist/flautist Bud Shank and tenorist/oboist Bob Cooper, two West Coast musicians who formed a friendship in the Stan Kenton band that turned into a successful musical partnership, were two who went overseas for several concerts.
These 1958 recordings are part of a series documenting the duo's tours overseas. The first tour from 1957 found the pair fraternizing with the local musicians; here they are featured on a series of radio broadcasts with the rest of their quintet: pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and drummer Jimmy Pratt. The sound quality is suspect in all the usual ways for this sort of thing, and there's a fair amount of duplication from set to set. However, on all occasions the quintet are in top form, earnest beboppers at one moment and passionate balladeers the next.
Shank and Cooper became somewhat infamous in jazz circles for their recordings featuring flute and oboe, both of which are featured here (an oboe reading of "'Round Midnight is particularly bizarre in a way that Monk may have favored.) All in all, everyone seems invigorated by the opportunity to play to enthusiastic crowds from Denmark to Germany. Must be the fresh mountain air.
Rounding out the set are a few bonus tracks. One features the Lighthouse All Stars recording in Los Angeles; both Shank and Cooper are on the bandstand along with trumpeter Shorty Rogers, trombonist Frank Rosolino and pianist Victor Feldman for a true meeting of great West Coast minds. Finally, Bud Shank appears with his quartet from a broadcast for Bobby Troup's Stars of Jazz TV show on a few tracks, and a recording from Basin Street East featuring Shank with Russ Freeman on piano. One could quibble that by eliminating the bonus tracks and the duplicated tracks from the radio broadcasts one could have a manageable single disc instead of the two CD set. However, Lone Hill is smart enough to know that enthusiasts will want every recording available, and much of this is in release for the first time.
Personnel: Bud Shank: alto sax, flute; Bob Cooper: tenor sax, oboe; Claude Williamson: piano; Don Prell: bass; Jimmy Pratt: drums; various others.