165

Louie Bellson's Big Band Explosion!: The Art of the Chart

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
From time to time, drummer Louie Bellson releases an album with a "theme" (Their Time Was the Greatest, dedicated to big-band drummers; Air Mail Special, to celebrated bandleaders, for example). This time around, with Art of the Chart, he has chosen to salute some of the world's finest arrangers. A wise choice, as charts are the fuel that powers the big-band engine, and without them the silence would indeed be deafening. Two of these charts ("To C. P. with Love," "With Bells On") are by Thad Jones, with one each by Bob Florence ("Your Wake Up Call"), Bill Holman ("Quiet Riot"), Jack Hayes ("Conte") and Ernie Wilkins ("3x5+16"). The other six are by Doc Severinsen's former chief arranger, Tommy Newsom. Louie has recorded at least three of them before, two ("With Bells On," "Quiet Riot") with a big band, the other ("Berne, Baby, Berne!") with a septet. Louie wrote that one with Remo Palmier, with whom he also collaborated on "To C. P. with Love" and "The Admiral," a lissome and long-overdue feature for the underrated baritone saxophonist Jack Nimitz. Bellson and Hayes co-authored "Conte," "Quiet Riot" (with Holman) and "Ike, Mike and Spike," which showcases the sassy trombone trio of George Bohanon, Jimmy Zito and Andy Martin. Louie wrote "Who Brings You the Good News?" with Newsom, "Summer Love" with Buddy Baker, and "3x5+16" by himself. As usual, Bellson, the consummate professional, has surrounded himself with some of the most accomplished big-band musicians on the planet, as a glance at the personnel affirms. Candoli, Graham, Saunders, Johnson and Szabo in the trumpet section; Lozano, Reed, Christlieb, Woodard and Nimitz comprising the reed section; the aforementioned trombonists; the rock-steady bassist Chuck Berghofer - and of course, Louie himself. In a blindfold test, no one would guess that the band is powered by a 73-year-old drummer, as Bellson radiates the energy and drive of those many years his junior (I'd love to see a cutting contest between him and octogenarian Barrett Deems). While none of the charts is less than respectable, "Wake Up Call," "The Admiral," "To C. P." "Summer Love," "Good News" and "Ike, Spike and Mike" are perhaps a notch above the others. Candoli (muted) is outstanding on his feature, as are Nimitz and Lozano ("Summer Love") on theirs. Another standout is pianist Ross Tompkins, who comps marvelously on his only number, Billy Strayhorn's "Intimacy of the Blues." Bellson, one of the most "musical" of drummers, is the lone soloist on "Berne" and "3x5+16." While it is no more impressive than some of the other fine albums he has recorded, Art of the Chart won't displease any of Louie Bellson's legion of admirers.

Track listing: Berne, Baby, Berne!; The Intimacy of the Blues; To C. P. with Love; Summer Love; Who Brings You the Good News?; Your Wake Up Call; Conte; With Bells On; Quiet Riot; The Admiral; Ike, Mike and Spike; 3x5+16 (64:21).

Personnel:

Louie Bellson, drums; Mike Lang, piano; Ross Tompkins, piano (2); Chuck Berghofer, bass; Conte Candoli, George Graham, Walt Johnson, Carl Saunders, Frank Szabo, trumpets; George Bohanon, Andy Martin, Dave Ryan, Mike Wimberly, Jimmy Zito, trombones; Sal Lozano, Ray Reed, alto sax; Pete Christlieb, Rickey Woodard, tenor sax; Jack Nimitz, baritone sax; Jack Arnold, percussion.

| Record Label: Concord Music Group | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "The Book of Transfigurations" CD/LP/Track Review The Book of Transfigurations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Rub Out The Word" CD/LP/Track Review Rub Out The Word
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 21, 2016
Read "Spirit Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Spirit Forward
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Swan Song" CD/LP/Track Review Swan Song
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio To Wayne Shorter
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.