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Peter Appleyard And The Jazz Giants: The Lost 1974 Sessions

Edward Blanco By

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Canadian vibraphonist, percussionist and composer Peter Appleyard has spent most of his professional career in Toronto. He has hosted his own radio and television programs, and was made an Officer of The Order of Canada in recognition of his musical accomplishments. He drew international acclaim as a member of Benny Goodman's jazz sextet during the early '70s, with whom he performed at Carnegie Hall in 1974. Appleyard saw a once in a lifetime opportunity, and reassembled most of the group under the name The Jazz Giants for a concert on the stage of the outdoor amphitheater at the Ontario Place Forum the following night. Afterwards, the vibraphonist had the good fortune to record the group at the RCA Studios in Toronto. The music remained in the can for decades until finally being revealed to the world as The Lost 1974 Sessions.

Why was this session one of a kind? Why was it important to capture the moment for prosperity? The answer is, of course, the lineup. With musicians of this caliber performing standards known to every serious jazz artist, the music and subsequent album is bound to hold a place in jazz history. Joining the vibraphonist for this auspicious date were pianist Hank Jones, saxophone great Zoot Sims, bassist Slam Stewart, trombonist Urbie Green and cornetist Bobby Hackett from Goodman's band. Drummer Grady Tate was unable to make the trip and was replaced at last minute by the legendary Mel Lewis.

This is a unique recording for many reasons. One of them is the inclusion of a few seconds of studio session outtakes presented as a separate track before each piece. The "Studio Dialogue" tracks, as they are labeled, capture the musicians' last minute preparations and/or instructions given right before each take, providing a glimpse of what happens just before a recording. The session gets started with an "Ellington Medley" containing choruses of "Sophisticated Lady," "I've Got It Bad And That Ain't Good," "Prelude To A Kiss" and "Mood Indigo."

The "Jazz Giants" play hard and heavy on "After You've Gone," with furious solos from Lewis, Appleyard and others. Hackett does a wonderful job, especially on "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "But Beautiful." Tenor man Sims is expressive throughout, but particularly on "You Go To My Head." Pianist Jones works his magic on each piece, and takes center stage with a solo performance on "Dancing On The Ceiling."

The album concludes with a 25-minute bonus track of outtakes featuring dialogue and musical introductions for several of the selections. Though lost for quite some time, it is indeed fortunate that Peter Appleyard has finally chosen to unearth and revive The Lost 1974 Sessions, offering new jazz audiences everywhere an opportunity to hear and enjoy what he took so much pleasure in recording—the music of giants.

Track Listing: Studio Dialogue 1; Ellington Medley; Studio Dialogue 2; After You've Gone; Studio Dialogue 3; Tangerine; Studio Dialogue 4; You Don't Know What Love Is; Studio Dialogue 5; But Beautiful; Studio Dialogue 6; You Go To My Head; Studio Dialogue 7; Indiana; Studio Dialogue 8; A Smooth One; Studio Dialogue 9; Dancing On The Ceiling; Bonus Tracks-Out Takes.

Personnel: Peter Appleyard: vibraphone; Hank Jones: piano; Zoot Sims: tenor saxophone; Slam Stewart: bass; Bobby Hackett: cornet; Mel Lewis: drums; Urbie Green: trombone.

Title: The Lost 1974 Sessions | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Linus Entertainment

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