Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

313

Louie Bellson and Clark Terry: Louie & Clark Expedition 2

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Louie & Clark Expedition 2 marks the historic reunion of legendary drummer Louie Bellson and trumpeter Clark Terry. While the title references the 1803 Lewis & Clark expedition, it's actually a reprisal of the big band effort Live From New York (Telarc, 1994), which featured the composition "Louie & Clark Expedition. Expedition 2 is more than an encore or swan song for the robust 83 year-old Bellson and 87 year-young Terry; it is, indeed, a celebration of life and a musical tribute to big band jazz.

The duo fronts a seventeen-piece ensemble and, with inspiration from Terry, invites drummers Kenny Washington and Sylvia Cuenca to make a special appearance on Bellson's "Two Guys and A Gal, a drum feature where the three drummers take turns soloing on this scrumptious big band number.

Bellson's thirteen compositions are arranged in part by Nat Pierce, Jack Hayes and conductor/saxophonist Albert Alva, but the majority are from the late Tommy Newsom of the Tonight Show band who, unfortunately, did not live long enough to hear this recording. Newsom's participation is of special significance to Terry, the first African-American to play with the Tonight Show band.

The music opens up with "The Chicago Suite," a four-movement sectional arrangement by Newsom and the latest entry in Bellson's ongoing salute to great American cities. Brilliant solos are heard from tenorist Steve Guerra, soprano Stantawn Kendric, and trumpeters Stjepko Gut and Greg Glassman.

Terry makes an entrance on Alva's bluesy arrangement of "Davenport Blues, blowing softly with an almost velvet touch on the horn. He is featured prominently on the brassy "Terry's Mood, with the muted horn on "Back To The Basics (Old), and on the boisterous "Now (The Young). As for Bellson, his play on the sticks is all over the place on every track. Except for "Chicago Suite 2, "Piacere and "Ballade, every piece opens with his energetic pounding of the cymbals and drums, delivering well-placed drum rolls throughout.

While this is indeed a swinging big band album, there are a couple of nice ballads that deserve mention. "Piacere moves slowly to the delicious play from baritone saxophonist Adam Schroeder who, along with pianist Helen Sung, gives a marvelous performance. Jack Hayes provides the other ballad arrangement on "Ballade, which features saxophonist Guerra's sensuous tenor voicing.

It all wraps up with the swinging "Well Alright Then, containing a slew of solos and a final measure from Terry, as the band plays loudly and with power reminiscent of the Duke Ellington bands with which both Bellson and Terry performed in the early 1950s. There is, in fact, a decidedly Ellington influence throughout the disc. There's more than swing, muscle and grace on Louie & Clark Expedition 2, there's a bit of history that marks it with greatness.


Track Listing: Chicago Suite Four Part Movement:(State Street Swing; City of Season; The Blues Singer; Lake Shore Drive); Davenport Blues; Two Guys And A Gal; Piacere; Give Me The Good Time; Ballade; Terry's Mood; Back To The Basics (Old); Now (The Young); Well Alright Then.

Personnel: Louie Bellson: composer, drums; Clark Terry: trumpet, flugelhorn; Albert Alva: conductor, alto saxophone, flute; Stantawn Kendrick: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Steve Guerra: tenor saxophone; Whitney Staten: tenor saxophone; Adam Schroeder: baritone saxophone; Stafford Hunter: trombone; Andrae Murchison: trombone; Cameron MacManus: trombone; Jack Jeffers: bass trombone; Frank Greene: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tony Lujan: trumpet, flugelhorn; Stjepko Gut: trumpet, flugelhorn; Greg Glassman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Helen Sung: piano; Marcus McLaurine: bass; Sylvia Cuenca: drums (6); Kenny Washington: drums (6).

Title: Louie & Clark Expedition 2 | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Percussion Power

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes" CD/LP/Track Review Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Without All the Chatter" CD/LP/Track Review Without All the Chatter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Planktonic Finales" CD/LP/Track Review Planktonic Finales
by John Sharpe
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Supreme" CD/LP/Track Review Supreme
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2017