Ed Polcer is a consistently creative cornetist who has a knack for putting together first- rate bands. His playing and generous spirit are part of what makes At the Ball such an appealing recording.
Polcer is joined on the marquee by Scotland born soprano saxophonist Jim Galloway as the Ed Polcer - Jim Galloway Big Five. Both Polcer and Galloway are well known pros in the dixie/swing world. Both also compliment each other musically, demonstrating a fine, vigorous rapport throughout. The tone combination of cornet and soprano sax is a treat especially during their intertwining solos and rapid exchanges. The third "old pro" of the group, Dick Waldburger on bass, is the solid ground beat of all the action. His rapport with his fellow rhythm section players is a highlight of the session.
The youngsters of the group, Mark Shane on piano, and Joe Ascione on drums, are outstanding. Ascione is one of the most exciting drummers of the traditional jazz world. His solos are concise and intense, and his accompaniment is persistently imaginative. Check out his solo work on "This Can't Be Love." Few drummers have the combination of taste and touch that Ascione routinely displays.
Mark Shane has become so good of an accompanist and soloist that it's easy to take him for granted. He's a team player who often sets everyone else up with a subtle solo, and then provides intricately swinging comping that brings out the best in everyone. This is exactly what happens on "Doin' The New Low Down." This tune is also as interesting for Polcer's and Galloway's soloing as it is for the interaction of Shane & Ascione & Waldburger. Take a careful listen to Shane's highly intuitive rapport with Polcer on full display throughout their duet on Hoagy Carmichael's poignant composition "Judy."
Ah, to sit back and listen to a fine band play a long line-up of great old tunes - what more could a jazz fan want? At the Ball fits the bill, and is highly recommended.
Track Listing: At the Ball; Look For the Silver Lining; Song of the Wanderer; I Cried For You; Tishomingo Blues; Seems Like Old Times; Doin? The New Low Down; Judy; This Can?t Be Love; Of All The Wrongs You?ve Done To Me; Roses Of Picardy; Too Late Now; When My Dream Boat Comes Home (73:25).
Personnel: Ed Polcer, cornet; Jim Galloway, soprano sax; Mark Shane, piano; Dick Waldburger, bass; and Joe Ascione, drums.
Jazzology Records, 1206 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Lousiana, 70116.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.