A gem of a discovery, vibraphonist Peter Appleyard's The Lost 1974 Sessions
is an important record, both artistically and a historically. Appleyard assembled most of clarinetist Benny Goodman
's group in RCA's Toronto studios for a one of a kind opportunity when band in town for a concert. He called the ad hoc band the Jazz Giants, and this is perhaps the only place to hear these masters play and interact with one another.
The perfect host and leader, Appleyard uses his clean and crisp mallet strikes to introduce, support and direct the others while staying out of the spotlight most of the time. His give and take with Zoot Sims
on the surprisingly modernistic "Tangerine" allows the tenor man's characteristic thick vibrato and exact phrasing to take center stage, buoyed and anchored at once by Appleyard's unique approach to the vibraphone. He mirrors Hank Jones
' melodic piano lines on "Ellington Medley." Here, he also punctuates Urbie Green
's smooth and agile trombone, just as Jones does for Bobby Hackett
's muted trumpet solo.
Green and Jones are the more advanced improvisers of this legendary group. The former's lyrical horn glides gracefully over the melody of "But Beautiful," introducing fresh and new ideas with each bar. Jones, on the other hand, lets loose on the "Dancing On the Ceiling," where he is the sole featured musician on an extended, Art Tatum
-like piano extemporization.
Other highlights include Slam Stewart
's scatting, accompanied by his own arco bass on "Indiana" and "After You've Gone." The latter also features Mel Lewis
' chromatic and exuberant drums, as well as an interesting, swinging, bop-like three way exchange of musical ideas between Appleyard, Hackett and Green. The emotive and up-tempo duet between Hackett and Sims on "A Smooth One" is another memorable moment of the album.
Each tune is preceded by several seconds of studio dialogue, and the album closes with over 25 minutes of false starts, partial takes and other unedited conversations. These elements not only enhance the historical value of this handsomely packaged disc, with its mini LP design and Appleyard's informative liner notes, but they also open a proverbial window into the creative process that resulted in this extraordinary feat of musicianship.
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.
Peter Appleyard: vibraphone; Hank Jones: piano; Zoot Sims: tenor saxophone; Slam Stewart: bass; Bobby Hackett: cornet; Mel Lewis: drums; Urbie Green: trombone.