All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Record Label Profiles

Fresh Sound Records and the Legacy of Recorded Jazz

By Published: November 22, 2012
Tenor saxophonist Brew Moore, who died in 1973, was one of those tragic, nomadic figures in jazz, like Bix Beiderbecke and Chet Baker, who novelists used to romanticize. Indeed, it's been said that some of Moore's more outlandish exploits inspired Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957). Moore was one of a bunch of Lester Young
Lester Young
Lester Young
1909 - 1959
saxophone
-inspired tenor saxophonists who maintained, stylistically at least, that Prez was God. Players like Al Cohn, Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
, Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
1927 - 1991
sax, tenor
, Alan Eager, Herbie Steward and several others outgrew the slavish imitation route. On the other hand, Paul Quinichette
Paul Quinichette
Paul Quinichette
1916 - 1983
sax, tenor
made a career of blowing like Prez, so much so, that he was called "The Vice Prez."

Listening to these three, live Moore sessions from 1956, 1957 and 1958—that first came out on two Fantasy LPs—it's evident that the saxophonist still had Lester Young in his heart and head but was slowly becoming his own man. What set him apart, among other things, was his technique (listen to "Them There Eyes"), ability as a blues player (demonstrated on "Them Old Blues," among others), and ease with chord changes.

San Francisco-based for most of his short career, these sessions feature backing by local and/or little known players, including trumpets Dick Mills and another tenor player named Harold Wylie. The bonus track, "Due's Blues," does have some "names" in the rhythm chairs, including Cal Tjader
Cal Tjader
Cal Tjader
1925 - 1982
vibraphone
on vibes, Vince Guaraldi
Vince Guaraldi
Vince Guaraldi
1928 - 1976
piano
on piano and Bobby White
Bobby White
b.1926
on drums.

One thing is for certain, whatever the setting or the backing, Prez influence or not, Brew Moore was one heck of a hard swinger.

The Concert Jazz Band, founded by baritone saxophonist/arranger Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
1927 - 1996
sax, baritone
has taken on celebrated proportions over the years. This "big small band of 13 pieces—as much a showcase for its lightly swinging ensemble sound as it was for its soloists—was formed in 1960. It was a steady band for only two years, though it did work sporadically until 1964 and was revived briefly circa 1978.

Enter the album name here Fresh Sound's two CD-set, Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band: Santa Monica 1960, issues, for the first time (Mosaic, a few years ago, released a Mulligan set that contained six of these tracks) the complete live shows held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium October 1, 1960. This unit was chock full of fabulous soloists and section-men, including trumpeters Conte Candoli
Conte Candoli
Conte Candoli
1927 - 2001
trumpet
and Nick Travis
Nick Travis
b.1925
, trombonist Willie Dennis
Willie Dennis
b.1926
, trombonist/arranger Bob Brookmeyer
Bob Brookmeyer
Bob Brookmeyer
1929 - 2011
trombone
, alto saxophonist Gene Quill
Gene Quill
Gene Quill
b.1927
, tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims and the incredible drumming of Mel Lewis. Given the Maestro's association with his famous, pianoless quartet from the 1950s, there is no keyboard. The inventive and utterly singular charts are by the leader and Brookmeyer, Bill Holman
Bill Holman
Bill Holman
b.1927
band/orchestra
, Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
Johnny Mandel
b.1925
arranger
and Al Cohn.

This group was so special and so individual that almost everyone wanted to write for it. On famed CJB orchestrations like "The Red Door," the extended "Blue Port" and on the Mulligan "hit" of "My Funny Valentine," the band nicely combines much of what Mulligan had done before as a player and arranger. Of course, the general sound is "cool," a la Mulligan's charts for "Birth of the Cool," and features a good deal of contrapuntal ensemble writing, clearly heard on charts like "Out of this World."

Then there is the ensemble writing and section work that, from time to time—and you never know when—really takes off, a la the leader's earlier charts for bands like Elliot Lawrence and Gene Krupa
Gene Krupa
Gene Krupa
1909 - 1973
drums
.

Not enough can be said about this release. Jordi Pujol's notes, by the way, are exemplary and easily guide the listener through the history and the music. It's a pity that this band couldn't continue. But as an interesting sidelight is that about a year after the Concert Jazz Band was history, another big band formed that continued, to an extent, the mission and legacy of the CJB. This new ensemble had the same drummer as Mulligan's band, Mel Lewis, as well as the same trombone soloist and sometimes chart-writer named Bob Brookmeryer. The new band was called The Thad Jones
Thad Jones
Thad Jones
1923 - 1986
trumpet
/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.

It is important for anyone interest in jazz and its all-important recorded history to know about Fresh Sound Records.


comments powered by Disqus