Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band: All Smiles

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band has historically been regarded as the best ensemble of its type based outside the US, and All Smiles is generally regarded as one of their finest recordings. You'll understand why with just a few listens.

Belgian pianist and arranger Francy Boland began making music with American expatriate Kenny "Klook" Clarke, the original drummer for The Modern Jazz Quartet, in 1961. The combination of their exquisite jazz sensibilities soon attracted first-call jazz musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, and they quickly stepped up to co-lead their erudite ensemble. Clarke, one of the original bebop drummers, was somewhat incredibly supported by a British drummer named Kenny Clare. "There are many who would like to get that springy kind of beat Klook gets," Clare once explained. "I would, too."

"Let's Face the Music and Dance" could not call out a better opener. It glides as elegantly as the Duke Ellington orchestra but with enough rhythmic punch (due in no small part to the tandem drums) to rumble through a Count Basie blues stomp—it's like living in the best of big-band worlds. Boland introduces "I'm Glad There is You" with a curious (almost Thelonious Monk-ish) table setting for Benny Bailey's flugelhorn solo, which he unfolds with Chet Baker's lush, cushiony ballad softness.

"By Strauss," the Gershwins' tribute to "The Waltz King," spotlights solos by Boland and tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott. While Scott's tenor can sound a bit odd in this waltz, it serves to bridge the gap between waltz and jazz; Boland's solo sounds playful without playing around, and his bright dexterity rings out the sound of Bill Evans or a stylistic admirer like Vince Guaraldi. John Philip Sousa's "High School Cadets," a quick romp through a big-band march played by one of the best big bands around, ends with a curio piece.

"You Stepped Out of a Dream" would be my alternate title for this set, which seems to have risen like a dream from an earlier, somewhat more refined and less convoluted era. Listening to this musical snapshot is sure to leave you with nothing but All Smiles.

Track Listing: Let's Face the Music and Dance; I'm All Smiles; You Stepped Out of a Dream; I'm Glad There Is You; Get Out of Town; By Strauss; When Your Lover Has Gone; Gloria's Theme; Sweet & Lovely; High School Cadets.

Personnel: Benny Bailey: flugelhorn, trumpet; Francy Boland: keyboards, piano; Kenny Clarke: drums; Tony Coe: tenor sax; Jimmy Deuchar: trumpet; Sonny Grey: trumpet; Johnny Griffin: tenor sax; Derek Humble: alto sax; Nat Peck: trombone; Ake Persson: trombone; Dave Pike: vibes; Ronnie Scott: alto sax; Sahib Shihab: baritone sax, flute; Idrees Sulieman: trumpet; Erik Van Lier: trombone; Kenny Clare: drums; Jimmy Woode: bass.

Title: All Smiles | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: MPS Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren" CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "VEIN plays Ravel" CD/LP/Track Review VEIN plays Ravel
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "In Stride" CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Recorded Live in Lafayette" CD/LP/Track Review Recorded Live in Lafayette
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin" CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017