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If the name Bobby Burgess sounds vaguely familiar, you may remember him as an outstanding trombonist with the Stan Kenton and Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestras and big bands led by Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and others before he moved to Germany in the early ’70s. Bobby played with a number of Germany’s leading ensembles, chiefly the South German Radio Big Band, and when he formed his own band in 1987 it followed logically that he would create it in their dynamic image using many of the most capable big–band musicians that country had to offer. He called his ensemble the Bobby Burgess Big Band Explosion, and led it until his premature death last year. The band recorded twice, and Butters Idea, from 1994, is the earlier of the two. The title derives from Bobby’s nickname, Butter, which in turn alludes to the velvet–smooth sound of his trombone. The band’s buoyant frame of reference is bound securely to the swinging legacy of Kenton, Herman and Rich with radiant compositions and/or arrangements by Don Menza, Bill Holman, Mike Barone, Bill Dobbins, Frank St. Peter (“Burgess Surges”) and sidemen Paul Heller (“Waltz for Alexandra”), Stephan Zimmermann (“Healing Forces”) and Martin Schrack (“Without Words”). Burgess, always the unassuming anchor, grants almost everyone else a moment or two in the sun while taking only two relatively brief solos himself, muted on Holman’s fiery “Butters Idea” and open on “Shuffle Kings,” which was also written and arranged by Holman. Menza contributed the loose–limbed opener, “Groove Blues,” and Dobbins arranged Ellington/Irving Mills’ “In a Sentimental Mood” as a luminous feature for baritone saxophonist Steffen Schorn. That precedes the truly inspired finale, fellow trombonist Mike Barone’s sparkling samba–like treatment of a most unlikely but no less absorbing Jazz vehicle, Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” Equally entrancing are Schrack’s whimsical “Words,” St. Peter’s high–powered “Burgess Surges” and Heller’s lyrical “Waltz for Alexandra.” The ensemble is strapping and blemish–free, the rhythm section (Schrack, Wiedmann, Höfler, Nell) sharp and supple, and the soloists — including Schorn, Wiedmann, Heller, Schrack, Zimmernann, Malle, Graf, Strempel, Sauerborn, Hesse and trombonists Petzold and Mears — bright–eyed and resourceful. In sum, the very model of an explosive modern big band.
Track listing: Groove Blues; Burgess Surges; Waltz for Alexandra; Butters Idea; Healing Forces; Shuffle Kings; Without Words; In a Sentimental Mood; My Heart Belongs to Daddy (56:17).
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!