Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

109

The Harry Smallenburg Quartet: Live at the Balzac

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The musicians on this album are all new to me, but they're clearly not new to Jazz, as each one carries out his assignment with the dexterity and assurance of players who've been around the block more than once. Vibraphonist Harry Smallenburg, who leads the quartets (guitarist Allen Kelinski, bassist Bill Casale and drummer Jim Miller replace the regulars on Miles Davis' "All Blues"), has an easygoing, Milt Jackson-like style that serves him well on this program of well-known Jazz and pop standards recorded in concert at a coffee / sandwich restaurant, The Balzac, in Azusa, CA (immortalized by the incomparable Mel Blanc [a.k.a. Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, et al] on Jack Benny's radio program in the '40s with the memorable announcement, "Train now leaving on track nine for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc . . . amonga . . ."). If you?re old enough to remember that you must be a retiree, as I am. The session evinces an impromptu spirit, much as one would expect when a group of like-minded musicians comes together to jam. Smallenburg and his colleagues tarry long enough to examine closely each of the seven tunes (Henry Mancini's "Moon River" is the briefest at 6:47), giving everyone ample blowing space. The songs are familiar, tempos generally moderate to leisurely (with Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" taken at the fastest clip), the music's flow interrupted only occasionally by polite applause. Recording quality is good, playing time acceptable, but there are no liner notes to speak of, nor is there a label or any contact information, which could make finding a copy arduous, as it's unlikely to be stocked by Tower Records or any of the other popular retail outlets. This is a good-natured blowing session, certainly better than some we've heard, but other than serving as a keepsake for those who were there, it's hard to understand why it was recorded.

Title: Live at the Balzac | Year Released: 2002

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Flesh & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Blue Maqams" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Maqams
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Glow of Benares" CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Quantum Man" CD/LP/Track Review Quantum Man
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 29, 2017