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The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!

The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! by Gene Krupa
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Gene Krupa

Label: Dot Time Records
Released: 2018
Views: 3,944

Track Listing

Big Noise From Winnetka ; Caravan.; Drum Boogie; Honeysuckle Rose; Moonlight in Vermont;The Shadow of Your Smile;Take the ‘A’ Train ; Alligator Crawl, featuring Dill Jones


Additional Personnel / Information

Gene Krupa, drums; Eddie Shu, saxophone; Benny Moten, bass; Dill Jones, piano

Album Description

I recall reading somewhere that this was a period, late in Gene’s career, when he really wasn’t up to much. Whether that’s fair or not I don’t know. I was lucky enough to meet him in the summer of 1965 when he was appearing at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City New Jersey. If memory serves, he got second billing to {{The Supremes.}} The band he had was, with the exception of {{Eddie Shu}} this one. I was young and impressionable and thought they played a lot of music. True enough, Gene had his warhorses, and I suspect Big Noise from Winnetka followed him everywhere, as did A Train and Drum Boogie. Since I can’t claim to have become jaded by the time I was in high school, I leave the issue of Gene’s taste for novelty in the later years of his life to someone else. He did not go through the motions, as I recall, nor did he do so here, perhaps a year or so later.

So much has been written about Krupa that I suspect this space is better devoted to two of his exceptional sidemen, neither of whom are—or perhaps were—household names. {{Dill Jones}} was his pianist, a lovely man, I recall, and a player of wide-ranging stylistic abilities. As he demonstrates on Alligator Crawl, he was at home with {{Fats Waller, and from my own memory}} recall a stunning chorus (not on this disc) that he did on Dark Eyes that just seemed to levitate the bandstand. He and Gene seemed simpatico, as they do here, and while Jones never quite achieved the notoriety of{{ John Bunch}}, Gene’s other go-to-pianist, Dill was exceptional. HE deserves to be more widely remembered.

The reed player on the Steel Pier was {{Carmen Leggio,}} who must have been coming from or going to Woody Herman at the time. Gene obviously preferred players cut out of the mold of {{Lester Young}}, and if memory serves, another stalwart he featured was {{Eddie Wasserman}}. Eddie Shu was not much more than a name to me before I heard this recording, but what a revelation. Yeah, there were Prez stylings and shadings, but Shu brought a lot more to the table. Coltrane, for one, had gotten into his ears, and if that sat a bit oddly with Krupa, you don’t really notice. What really stunned me was Shu’s facility on the clarinet (I had no idea he would or had appeared on that instrument with Louis Armstrong), and he is featured here to great advantage on Honeysuckle Rose. If anything, Shu was an even better harmonica player (I gather he started his career on it) and if that isn’t enough, comes in with a sort of swing to boppish chorus on trumpet no less during Drum Boogie. For a second I thought I was listening to the wrong recording, you know, “Where did that come from?” Talent, you know? Shu was a virtuoso player who flew under the radar, at least my radar, and now I think I have even more catching up to do.

This is another outstanding document in the Dot Time Legends series. It’s worth hearing, if only for the surprising brilliance of Dill Jones and Eddie Shu.




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