Clark Terry: Herr Ober Live at Birdland Neuburg
Too often, when reviewers write about the albums of elder statesmen of jazz, one of the first things referred to his age and how well they do despite it. There's no need for this condescending reference to Clark Terry. He continues to entertain with his clear, melodic, horns and with his humor. If anything, after more than 50 years of playing jazz, he has separated the wheat from the chaff. So what you hear is the best jazz trumpet has to offer.
Terry is working with his regular quartet avoiding the ragged playing one sometimes get at live concerts when groups are thrown together. One of the more exciting cuts is a jam session performance of a tune he played many times with Count Basie, "Jumpin' at the Woodside". While Terry has the lead, Dave Glasser kicks in with exciting, swinging alto. There's sturdy playing by the rhythm section led by Don Friedman, another jazz veteran, on piano. The nine plus minute "Herr Ober I" is one of the album's major attractions. Not only does Terry sing, much more forcefully than he usually does with his mumbles style, but everyone in the group gets the opportunity to stretch out. There's a lyrical bass solo by Marcus McLaurine where he quotes "Strangers in Paradise." Not to be outdone, Terry quotes the "Sailor's Hornpipe" during his solo. There's more fiery alto from Dave Glasser as well as a well-contrived ensemble with Terry. One More carryover from the Basie days is "Miss Thing" where as much as anywhere on the album Terry displays his virtuosity and continued command of the jazz style. Another highlight of this track is the piano solo by Don Friedman who isn't heard enough on CD these days. Too many of his albums have only been released in Japan. Our loss.
Performing before a live audience, especially one as appreciative as this one, clearly inspired the group to extend themselves. Easily recommended.
Track Listing: On the Alamo; Miss Thing; Li'l Darlin'; Herr Ober 1; Taking a Chance on Love; Jumpin' at the Woodside; My Gal; Canadian Sunset; The Nearness of You; Blue `N' Boogie; Herr Ober 11
Personnel: Clark Terry - Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Vocals; Dave Glasser - Alto Sax; Don Friedman - Piano; Marcus McLaurine - Bass; Sylvia Cuenca - Drums