Chuck Wayne: Morning Mist (2004)
What a find!
Guitarist Chuck Wayne was a member of George Shearing's original quintet, and he played on Shearing's 1949 breakthrough hit "September in the Rain." For much of the '50s he was Tony Bennett's musical director. He later was a staff musician for CBS television and radio. 1964's Morning Mist was one of only four albums he recorded as a leader.
This is an outstanding guitar trio album, 29 minutes long, with ten songs (three of which are Wayne compositions). Wayne is well supported by Joe Williams on bass and Ronny Bedford on drums. His tone is rich and smooth, and he plays the most difficult passages with ease.
Only "The Song Is You" is taken up-tempo, making those taken at a moderate pace seem more lively. For example, Neal Hefti's "Li'l Darlin'" and Wayne's "See Saw" swing with ease. Both "Alone At Last" and Wayne's "I'll Get Along" are given latin beats. Wayne's "Shalimar" has an eastern sound. Duke Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" is taken a little more forcefully than the other songs, with perhaps a Tal Farlow feeling.
The album features two somber pieces: Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" and the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me," which is as melancholy as one would expect. The last selection, Stephen Sondheim's "Lovely," is played on the banjo, modern jazz style!
Although the album is brief and the mood is consistent throughout, Morning Mist is a strong candidate for reissue of the year!
Track Listing: 1. Goodbye 2. See Saw 3. Li'l Darlin' 4. I'll Get Along 5. Things Ain't What They Used To Be 6. Shalimar 7. Someone to Watch Over Me 8. The Song Is You 9. Alone At Last 10. Lovely
Personnel: Chuck Wayne (guitar, banjo), Joe Williams (bass), Ronny Bedford (drums).