339

Bob Brookmeyer: 7 x Wilder

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
What has hampered Brookmeyer these days from getting any kind of residual acclaim is the fact that so many of his early masterpieces are simply unavailable.
Although he never really received much of the recognition due to him at the time, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer developed a distinctive catalog in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s that asserted the lighter strains of West Coast ‘cool’, but below the surface burned with a hale and hearty flame that owed just as much to the bebop language. What has hampered Brookmeyer these days from getting any kind of residual acclaim is the fact that so many of his early masterpieces are simply unavailable. His spate of activity for Verve Records alone includes the mainstream brilliance of The Blues, Hot and Cold and the wistfully melodic strains of Trombone Jazz Samba. In addition, one would have to add the United Artists release Kansas City Revisited to the list of quintessential Brookmeyer sides yet to see the light of day on CD.

For our purposes this month, we focus on another Brookmeyer gem from the Verve era, namely the 1961 release 7 x Wilder. Working in a quartet setting, Brookmeyer matches personalities flawlessly with guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Mel Lewis, while paying homage to iconoclast composer Alec Wilder. One of the best and most memorable tunes from the Wilder cannon is “While We’re Young,” treated here as a waltz and finding Brookmeyer playing piano with a minimalist approach. The other line which might be familiar is “It’s So Peaceful In the Country,” rendered ever so delicately this time with our leading man on trombone. Not lost on today’s astute musicians, this melodic jewel can also be heard in a more recent version by pianist Bill Charlap.

Brookmeyer would pen “Blues For Alec” and it serves as one of the lengthier cuts, Hall and the trombonist stretching out in a bluesy vein that brings out the best solos of the set. It’s also here that you really notice the way this ensemble breathes as one, Lewis and Crow never intruding on the generally restrained mood, but not failing either to support the soloists firmly. A sublime gem that deserves a reissue, along with the rest of his Verve sides, 7 x Wilder is Brookmeyer at his finest with an obscure performance from Jim Hall to boot.


Shop

More Articles

Read Best Jazz Reissues of 2005 Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Best Jazz Reissues of 2005
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: January 3, 2006
Read Artie Butler: Have You Met Miss Jones? Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Artie Butler: Have You Met Miss Jones?
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 29, 2005
Read Moacir Santos: Maestro Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Moacir Santos: Maestro
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 31, 2005
Read Bobbi Humphrey: Flute-In Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Bobbi Humphrey: Flute-In
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 29, 2005
Read Ronnie Foster: On the Avenue & Cheshire Cat Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Ronnie Foster: On the Avenue & Cheshire Cat
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 24, 2005
Read Best Reissues of 2004 Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard Best Reissues of 2004
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: December 31, 2004
Read "Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce" Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette... Death By Banjo, Playing With Emotion, and Musical Divorce
by Mr. P.C.
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years in Mono" The Vinyl Post Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years in Mono
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In" Profiles Paul Winter Sextet: Count Me In
by Duncan Heining
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "An Evening with Pat Metheny at The Barre Opera House" Live Reviews An Evening with Pat Metheny at The Barre Opera House
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "John Sharpe's Best Releases Of 2016" Best of / Year End John Sharpe's Best Releases Of 2016
by John Sharpe
Published: December 25, 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!