Home » Jazz Articles » Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra: Basle, 1969

193

Album Review

Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra: Basle, 1969

By

Sign in to view read count
Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra: Basle, 1969
It has been 30 years to the month since this concert appearance by the Thad Jones–Mel Lewis Orchestra was recorded in Basle, Switzerland, and I’d guess that some of those who were lucky enough to be in the audience still remember the occasion fondly. Although the (unedited) sound on the CD is uneven at times, with some soloists playing off–mic or even bumping into it from time to time, the concert–goers assuredly got their money’s worth from this rip–roaring, rock ’em–sock ’em, no–holds–barred but always tasteful all–star ensemble led by the peerless composer/arranger/trumpeter Jones and the indefatigable drummer Lewis. One of the biggest problems Jones and Lewis must have faced was deciding who would solo, as everyone in the band was outstanding in that respect as well as in playing as a unit. Thad wrote four of the eight numbers — “Second Race,” “Don’t Ever Leave Me,” “The Waltz You Swang for Me,” “Don’t Get Sassy” — and arranged everything including Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” pianist Roland Hanna’s “Bible Story,” saxophonist Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant” and brother Hank’s “A–That’s Freedom.” The prancing opener, “Second Race,” features the consistently inventive Hanna, trumpeter Richard Williams (muted) and tenor Joe Henderson, even then a veteran of many a brisk skirmish. Thad’s warm and underrated flugel takes center stage on his bossa “Don’t Ever Leave Me,” and Richardson’s lyrical soprano complements another in–the–pocket solo by Hanna on “The Waltz You Swang for Me.” Trombone maestro Jimmy Knepper is the man on the medium–tempo swinger “A–That’s Freedom,” while Thad is out front again on flugel on his lovely arrangement of “Come Sunday” with Adams’ gruff baritone making a brief but effective appearance. The orchestra turns up the heat on “Don’t Get Sassy” as Williams and Henderson deliver impressive solos to punctuate Lewis’s incendiary drumming, Richard Davis’s walking bass and blazing riffs by the ensemble. Hanna’s solo piece, “Bible Story,” gives everyone some well–earned breathing space before the rhythm section leads them into the funky finale, “Groove Merchant,” whose parting solo shots are delivered by Hanna and Davis before the ensemble returns to wrap up the package. And a fine–looking package it is.

Track listing: Second Race; Don’t Ever Leave Me; The Waltz You Swang for Me; A–That’s Freedom; Come Sunday; Don’t Get Sassy; Bible Story; Groove Merchant (67:46).

Personnel

Thad Jones, trumpet, flugelhorn, arranger; Snooky Young, Al Porcino, Richard Williams, Danny Moore, trumpets; Eddie Bert, Jimmy Knepper, Cliff Heather, Ashley Fannell, trombones; Jerome Richardson, Jerry Dodgion, Joe Henderson, Eddie Daniels, Pepper Adams, saxophones; Roland Hanna, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.

Contact: TCB Music, route Cantonale 103, 1025 Saint

Album information

Title: Basle, 1969 | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: TCB Music

Post a comment about this album


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Life & Umbrella
Javier Red
In Real Time
Artemis
In the Towns
Jay Rattman

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.