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Alberta Clipper was the last recording of the great jazz guitarist Chuck Wayne. The CD is notable for the quality of Wayne's playing, for introducing the tenor saxophonist Tom Butts, and for reminding us that Chuck Wayne was also a composer of significance.
Wayne was one of the few jazz guitarists who was/is capable of soloing brilliantly and then effortlessly shifting into a beautiful accompaniment. It is often forgotten that Wayne was an accompanist for Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Eckstine, and Morgana King. With the fairly recent reissues of Tasty Pudding, String Fever, and the release of Alberta Clipper the jazz public is beginning to be in a position to assess the wide range of Wayne's accomplishments.
Alberta Clipper highlights Chuck Wayne the guitarist with breathtaking be-bop solo work on his own composition "Butterfingers. The double voicing of tenor Tom Butts and Wayne is reminiscent of the best of the Zoot Sims/Chuck Wayne work on Tasty Pudding. Wayne is not the only excellent soloist, Gary Mazzaroppi's bass solos are rhythmically precise and heartfelt. Tom Butts soars through the fast paced changes ïï" he is an obscure tenor of extraordinary talent.
From be-bop to "Lush Life Wayne shifts into the accompanist mode for a Getzian solo by Tom Butts. The opening is an extended duet between the two that is a highlight of the CD. Other highlights are Butts' solo cadenza on "Alone Together and Wayne's solo on the opening cut "Prospecting. On seven of the nine cuts Wayne is not the only guitarist. Augustine Digiorgio provides additional texture, and he solos on six of the CD's nine cuts. The double guitar work on Wayne's composition "I'll Get Along is especially effective. Digiorgio may not be Wayne in the solo department but he holds his own; certainly Wayne, Butts, and Mazzaroppi set a daunting solo standard.
Alberta Clipper presents four Wayne compositions: " Prospecting, " Diane, " I'll Get Along, and "Butterfingers. Since the classic "Solar is now recognized as a Chuck Wayne composition (see the Feather & Gitler: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz) it is time to look more carefully at Chuck Wayne as a jazz composer. Alberta Clipper also begins to set the record straight about two Wayne compositions: "Prospecting and "Butterfingers that were mistakenly listed as Zoot Sims compositions on the Savoy Tasty Pudding release. Chuck Wayne was a guitarist, arranger, and composer of note: this CD should help focus attention on a subtle musician/composer who has been mysteriously neglected.
Track Listing: Prospecting, Diane, Lush Life, Confirmation, Ill Get Along, Butterfingers, Alone Together, Strollin, My Old Flame.
Personnel: Chuck Wayne, first guitar; Tom Butts, tenor saxophone; Augustine Digiorgio, 2nd guitar; Earl Sauls or Gary Mazzaroppi, bass; Frank Ferreri or Tony Bartone or Ritchie DeRosa, drums. This disc is difficult to locate but is available through Cadence (315-287-2852).
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.