272

Manny Albam: Jazz Workshop

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Manny Albam: Jazz Workshop Behind the scenes Manny Albam contributed to the books of Charlie Spivak, Count Basie, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. Like many other arrangers, he was also inspired to strike out on his own and record albums as a leader. This set from Lone Hill Jazz collects his first two sessions as a leader.

The first session, from 1955, collects a large group of prominent musicians—Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers, Milt Hinton, Urbie Green, and Thad Jones to name a few—for the typical program of standards and originals. Interestingly, Albam dispenses with the piano, feeling that it makes a group sound smaller. He may have a point; these eight or nine musicians certainly fill up the space.

The arrangements are slightly more daring than one would find on the bandstand of Albam's employers. He features bold counterpoint and imaginative riffs that transform even well-worn standards like "Anything Goes into fresh readings. Albam's originals fit in nicely with the standards, with the moody "Urbanity the only one that threatens to become something a little more special that the Van Huesen and Porter tunes.

For his second release a year later, Albam delves into the realm of concept for the "Drum Suite (again, many arrangers can't resist the lure of something that hints at high art). Each track features the drums prominently through introductions and breaks, and spotlights four jazz drummers. One might think that the overabundance of percussion would weigh down the bandstand, but Albam has carefully arranged each drum part to ensure this doesn't happen (and to be fair, he's working with a much larger orchestra this time that can handle it.) Once again, wonderful players are on hand like Conte Candoli and Al Cohn, all of whom contribute stellar solos while holding down the fort in the ensembles.

Both sessions are a lot of fun, yet lacking in the personality that both Herman and Kenton brought to their music. Albam's work is certainly as deserving of attention as anything else put out by earnest arrangers, and a fine example of big band orchestration from the 1950s.


Track Listing: Anything Goes; Headstrong; Black Bottom; The Changing Scene; The Turning Point; Charmaine; Diga Diga Doo; Royal Garden Blues; Swingin' On A Star; Intermezzo; Ferris Wheel; Urbanity; The Drum Suite: First Movement: Dancers On Drums; Second Movement: Bristling; Third Movement: Chants of the Witch Doctors; Fourth Movement: Skinning the Valves; Fifth Movement: Cymbalisms; Sixth Movement: The Octopus.

Personnel: Manny Albam and His Orchestra: Joe Newman: trumpet; Thad Jones: trumpet (1-12); Conte Candoli: trumpet (13-18); Bob Brookmeyer: trombone (1-12), Urbie Green: trombone; Jimmy Cleveland: trombone (13-18); Al Cohn: alto sax; Milt Hinton: bass (1-12); Osie Johnson: drums; Jimmy Cleveland, Urbie Green: trombone; Al Cohn: alto sax; Hank Jones: piano (13-18); Freddie Green: guitar (13-18); Eddie Costa: vibes (13-18); Don Lamond: drums (13-18); Gus Johnson: drums (13-18); Ted Sommer: drums 13-18).

Title: Jazz Workshop | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Lone Hill Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited 1, Live at Catalina's
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "The Art Pepper Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review The Art Pepper Quartet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "This Is The Uplifting Part" CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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