5

Larry Dickson Jazz Quartet: Donora Autumn

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Baritone sax, trumpet, bass and drums: a lineup that may seem more than passably familiar to fans of small-group jazz in general and West Coast jazz in particular. The first of many piano-less quartets—and the one that remains the gold standard— was the Gerry Mulligan / Chet Baker Quartet, formed in the early '50s with Bob Whitlock on bass and Chico Hamilton on drums. While Cincinnati-based baritone Larry Dickson's roster is the same, there is no attempt on Donora Autumn to replicate the sound and spirit of the Mulligan / Baker ensemble, nor should there be—even though there are random traces of Jeru in Dickson's broad-shouldered baritone and Baker in Hank Mautner's expressive trumpet and flugelhorn.

For his third salute to the changing seasons (following Second Springtime and Summergold Promises), Dickson has chosen five of his own compositions, Thad Jones' well-grooved "Three and One," the standards "Autumn Leaves" and "Laura," and one of the loveliest seldom-heard tunes ever written, Lionel Newman / Dorcas Cochran's "Again," from an all-but-forgotten 1948 film noir, Roadhouse, which starred Ida Lupino (who introduced "One for My Baby" in that same film), Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark. Oh, and there's one song by Mulligan, "Out Back of the Barn," whose devil-may-care down-home vibe is hardly typical of his cool West Coast persona.

Dickson wrote the cleverly named "Yes, We Have No Piano" (and, presumably, no bananas), the carefree samba "Rocket Surgeon," an earnest "Letter to Lars" (as in Gullin, the peerless Swedish baritone), "Iron Nori" (for his friend, the late trumpeter Al Nori) and "Born on Third," which, he writes, "refers to those privileged people who were born on third base and went through their whole lives thinking they'd hit a triple." David Raksin / Johnny Mercer's enduring standard, "Laura," played as a bossa, is a showcase for Mautner's flugelhorn, "Again" the same for Dickson's baritone. Besides comprising a stalwart rhythm section, bassist Michael Sharfe and drummer Jim Leslie map out engaging solos whenever the chance presents itself.

Although its implicit purpose is to depict a Donora Autumn (Donora, by the way, refers to the street on which Dickson lives, not the Pennsylvania home of baseball legend Stan Musial), this bright and buoyant session may be shared and admired during any season of the year.

Track Listing: Yes, We Have No Piano; Rocket Surgeon; Again; Three and One; Autumn Leaves; Letter to Lars; Iron Nori; Laura; Out Back of the Barn; Born on Third.

Personnel: Larry Dickson: baritone sax; Hank Mautner: trumpet; Michael Sharfe: bass; Jim Leslie: drums.

Title: Donora Autumn | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Baritaunic Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Introducing...Rubén González" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing...Rubén González
by James Nadal
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Signals
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Everybody Loves Angels" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Loves Angels
by Henning Bolte
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor