193

Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra: Basle, 1969

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
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

| Record Label: TCB Music | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Portraits and Places" CD/LP/Track Review Portraits and Places
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "The Unity Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Unity Sessions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Empty The Headbin" CD/LP/Track Review Empty The Headbin
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Josh At Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Josh At Midnight
by James Nadal
Published: July 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!