272

Buddy Rich Band: No Funny Hats

By

Sign in to view read count
Buddy Rich Band: No Funny Hats Musically, as he seemed to be in life, Buddy Rich was practically bulletproof. For that reason, Lightyear's recent release of this 1978 performance is really beyond criticism, and for Rich fans, a newly issued live recording is cause for celebration. Regardless, this set is as representative of the power and authority of the drummer and his band in prime form as anything else in his catalog.

The level of performance Rich demanded of his bands and himself is legendary, so it's expected that the performances captured here would be impossibly strong, and they most certainly are, yet No Funny Hats stands out amongst the other mid/late-'70s BR band recordings. A particularly tight ensemble, a thematically well-balanced set, and excellent recording quality are the reasons. That last attribute is certainly a welcome aspect not often expected from live recordings of "vintage performances issued on minor labels.

As might be expected, the setlist highlights the jazz/funk approach that the Rich band was known for in the '70s, and Rich associates Steve Marcus (tenor and soprano saxophones), Andy Fusco (alto saxophone), and Bob Kay (piano) are all in able attendance. Marcus in particular is in fine form, his wide-ranging near-Dolphyisms punctuating through the bass drum bombs on Kay's bluesy "Grand Concourse and his soprano careening effortlessly through Bob Mintzer's "Slow Funk, both Rich band staples.

Kay's lyricism adds additional contrast in the lone "trio" tune—the understated (but sprightly) reading of "Someday My Prince Will Come, which also features some wonderfully subtle brushwork by the leader and a lithe electric bass solo by Tom Warrington. The set ends, inevitably, with "West Side Story. Buddy Rich and crew predictably blow the doors down, though the certain calculation to the closer doesn't make the result any less jaw dropping. Throughout, Rich is Rich—no compromises, pushing relentlessly and explosively.

Why No Funny Hats is just surfacing now is a mystery. At the least it represents a welcome addition to the Buddy Rich canon, but clearly it also stands as a testament to a fine band and a leader still in peak form. Recommended.


Track Listing: Intro; Grand Concourse; Bugle Call Rag; Tales of Rhoda Rat; Slow Funk; Someday My Prince Will Come; West Side Story

Personnel: Andy Fusco: Sax (Alto); Bill Holman: Arranger; Dave Kennedy: Trumpet; Dale Kirkland: Trombone; Steve Marcus: Sax (Tenor, Soprano); John Marshall: Trumpet; Bob Mintzer: Arranger; John Mosca: Trombone; Darren Newitt: Cover Design; Gary Pribeck: Sax (Tenor); Bill Reddie: Arranger; Buddy Rich: Drums, Leader; Cathie Rich: Liner Notes; Paul Salvo: Trumpet; Chuck Schmidt: Trumpet; Greg "Frosty" Smith: Sax (Baritone); Tom Warrington: Bass; Chuck Wilson: Sax (Alto)

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Lightyear Entertainment | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Back Home" CD/LP/Track Review Back Home
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 6, 2016
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Lightyears" CD/LP/Track Review Lightyears
by Jim Olin
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "What's Wrong" CD/LP/Track Review What's Wrong
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Oratorios and Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Oratorios and Songs
by John Eyles
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Motion
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!