Nobody's really clamoring for big band recordings from 1980 these days, and it's probably the case that no one was back then, either. But it's also true that drummer Buddy Rich never really gave a damn what anybody thought about what he did, which is what makes this live set from Ronnie Scott's worth a listen.
Many big bands went astray by incorporating modern sounds into their arsenal out of economic necessity. Rich is no different; here he brings the funk with fast paced soul rhythms, popping electric bass, and judicious use of the wah-wah pedal on the horn solos. We're far away from Tommy Dorsey and "Opus One and purists will no doubt find little to admire here. But somehow Rich makes it work.
The bandstand has the chops to pull off the music without making it sound like watered down Earth, Wind & Fire and with rhythm being the key ingredient in this type of exercise, Rich and bassist Wayne Pedziwatr pack a wallop. Long out of print, The Man From Planet Jazz accomplishes the almost unthinkable: a fiery, funky record from one the masters of big band recordings.
Track Listing: Intro/Beulah Witch; Grand Concourse; Blues A La 88; Saturday Night; Slow Funk; Good News.
Personnel: Buddy Rich: drums; Ernie Vantrease: piano; Wayne Pedziwatr: bass; Andy Fusco: alto sax; Jack Leibowitz: alto
sax; Steve Marcus: tenor, soprano sax; Kenny Hitchcock: tenor sax; Bob Coassin: trumpet; Simo Saliminen:
trumpet; Bob Doll: trumpet; Mike Plumbleigh: trumpet; Bob Mintzer: baritone sax; Roger Homfield: trombone;
Glenn Franke: trombone; Pete Beltran: bass trombone.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.