All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

103

Bud Freeman: All-Star Swing Sessions

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Swing is one of the most venerated styles of jazz. The capital "s" differentiates it from the more abstract attribute attainable through virtually any vernacular. Age and so-called "innovation" have leavened some of music's sweep. But reissues are instructive windows into why it will likely never die.



Just as it’s easy to forget Swing’s earlier primacy, so to do its pioneering practitioners often fall by the wayside of public memory. Saxophonist Bud Freeman was one of the greats, but most casual jazz fans would likely be hard pressed to name him. This recent Prestige compilation goes a long way toward retrieving his visage from the clutches of anonymity.

Completists will likely cringe at the somewhat piecemeal structure of the program. The first eight cuts derive from the titular album. The next three come from a session under the leadership of bassist Leonard Gaskin released as Darktown Strutter’s Ball. Three more tracks by Freeman’s Windy City Five round things out, turning back the calendar to 1935. Why the producers opted for this sequence over the inclusion of complete albums is a mystery, but the quality of the music largely supercedes the question.



Freeman found a more than capable frontline foil in the form of Shorty Baker. The two horns are suitably supported by the rhythm section led by pianist Claude Hopkins. Duvivier and Heard, though often slotted as modernists, also make an ably swinging team. While the date is the outcome of a Rudy Van Gelder recording session, a questionable reverb echo saturates the horns during several of their solos. It’s an unfortunate studio trick, though not overbearingly distracting. More importantly, Freeman’s horn didn’t need it. His tone is already rich and resonating in weight and reach. “Shorty’s Blues" and “Hector’s Dance” are the only custom-penned tunes. Duvivier’s fat bass trot anchors the former as the horns riff warmly. Hopkins comps simply and the tune travels along at a buoyant bounce. It’s a delegation of duties repeated on the latter tune to fine effect.



Gaskin’s set adds hefty numbers to a quartet chassis and the increased girth creates a swinging horn choir. The brass players, four in count, achieve a particularly fulsome Nawlins feel. Oddly enough, though it says differently in the liner notes, the large ensemble also tackles “It Had to Be You” and “Farewell Blues.” On the former Freeman broad burnished tone tickles the bright melody deferring for some spectacular brass fireworks. All this atop a crackling beat set up by the leader and drummer Lovelle.



Easily on par all-star wise with the disc’s core session is the concluding time capsule. From Berigan through Cole, every man in the band is a legend. It raises another question as to why Bud Freeman isn’t more often included in their illustrious company. He, like so many others, may have fallen between the popular history book pages. But this set sounds off as a resounding reminder for those unacquainted with this Chicago tenor hero to wake up and take notice.



Visit Prestige Records on the web.


Track Listing: I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart/ S

Personnel: Bud Freeman- tenor saxophone & clarinet; Harold

Title: All-Star Swing Sessions | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Prestige Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Piano Works CD/LP/Track Review
Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Throw Tomatoes CD/LP/Track Review
Throw Tomatoes
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Reflections 2 CD/LP/Track Review
Reflections 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 26, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 25, 2018
Read Charlie & Paul CD/LP/Track Review
Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Bricks" CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Gonimoblast Live" CD/LP/Track Review Gonimoblast Live
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs" CD/LP/Track Review Ballet: The Music Of Michael Gibbs
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018