In this brassy volume of Original Jazz Legends,
1201 Music presents the three-fingered horn work of Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich, Joe Newman and Donald Byrd. Though Rich and Cole may not be best known for their horn-y aptitude, one of their bandmates lets go some fiery squeaks in the Rich-ly percussed jitterbug "Laguna Jump." "Black Market Stuff," on the other hand, is more playful than parching and "I’ll Never Be The Same" is a romantic slow dance more than anything else.
Newman’s "Midgets" remains true to its title, with its muted squawks and tiny steps and some circusy samples of "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," but there is little fire-eatingbeing done under this big top. "East of the Sun" offers some Basin St. bandstand swing, but it is not until "King Size" fanfares in that the horns really heat up. Though Newman leads the charge, his partners in pep are not given any credit at all. Byrd’s third take of "Child’s Play" opens like a nursery rhyme, but soon grows into a multi-horn theme which teases Byrd and his play-ground pals into a tuneful game of tag. Take four of "Smoothie" sounds like its title implies, but with some stiff arpeggiations added for flavor. "Friday’s Child" is full of grace, with Byrd’s breathy broken moans making the most of grace notes as well. Though few of the tracks offered here may truly fit the series’ title, there are moments of hot brass hidden among the milder stuff. Unfortunately, the lack of liner notes make it difficult to give credit to the musical arsonists in the crowd.