Bud Brisbois is known for the time he spends in the higher ranges of the trumpet. He was with Stan Kenton Band during the late 1950's and early 60's, playing with one of Kenton's better aggregations. It's his trumpet one hears screeching on such classic Kenton recordings as "The Peanut Vendor". Brisbois also had a long relationship with Henry Mancini and is the horn on Mancini's "Peter Gunn" which is included on this album.
This memorial album compiles previously unreleased Brisbois material from 1956 - - his first recording made while still in high school - - to 1978 as he worked with a variety of groups playing a variety of jazz modes, ranging from straight forward through high falutin' compositional endeavors. The latter is represented by the modern, but shallow, jazz symphony (just a cut above Kenton at his most pretentious) "Titan Suite" recorded with the Chicago Philharmonic. Shallow or not, this piece does provide Brisbois a stage to show off his considerable virtuosity and prodigious upper register technique and powerful blowing. Love Handles is a spirited, up tempo R&B influenced cut from one of his Butane Orchestra recordings with a vocalist sounding a bit like Bobby Darin, again with Brisbois reaching for the heavens on trumpet. Yet the man with the horn could be melodically tender as he wends his way through "Embraceable You" working with a big band. Sounds of strain are apparent on the Haydn like Where Am I Going? where Brisbois is having trouble as his playing gets quite thin. Perhaps the years of concentrating on the upper reaches of his instrument had taken its toll. This cut was made in 1978, just before he committed suicide in June of that year.
The liner notes don't identify any of those with Brisbois on these tracks, which is unfortunate. But I for one found it difficult to sit through more than 70 minutes of technically excellent but, for the most part, artistically narrow trumpet playing. This will appeal to trumpet devotees, but not many beyond that circle. No player but Brisbois is identified in the liner notes.