Miles Davis – Ascenseur pour l’échafaud – Lift to the Gallows (1958)

FrontCover1Ascenseur pour l’échafaud is an album by jazz musician Miles Davis. It was recorded at Le Poste Parisien Studio in Paris on December 4 and 5, 1957. The album features the musical cues for the 1958 Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l’échafaud.Ascenseur pour l’échafaud is an album by jazz musician Miles Davis. It was recorded at Le Poste Parisien Studio in Paris on December 4 and 5, 1957. The album features the musical cues for the 1958 Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l’échafaud.

Jean-Paul Rappeneau, a jazz fan and Malle’s assistant at the time, suggested asking Miles Davis to create the film’s soundtrack – possibly inspired by the Modern Jazz Quartet’s recording for Roger Vadim’s Sait-on jamais (Lit: ‘Does One Ever Know’, released as: No Sun in Venice), released a few months earlier in 1957.
Davis was booked to perform at the Club Saint-Germain in Paris for November 1957. Rappeneau introduced him to Malle, and Davis agreed to record the music after attending a private screening. On December 4, he brought his four sidemen to the recording studio without having had them prepare anything. Davis only gave the oster.jpgmusicians a few rudimentary harmonic sequences he had assembled in his hotel room, and, once the plot was explained, the band improvised without any precomposed theme, while edited loops of the musically relevant film sequences were projected in the background.

In Europe, the soundtrack was originally released as a 10 inch LP on the Fontana label. In America it was released by Columbia as side one of the album Jazz Track (CL 1268), with the second side filled by three new tracks recorded with his regular sextet (later to be re-released on the 1958 Miles CD). Jazz Track received a 1960 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Performance, Solo or Small Group. The CD edition, released internationally by Fontana/Polygram in the late ’80s, contains the original soundtrack material, versions of the original album tracks without the reverb that was added to the initial release, and several previously unreleased alternate takes.
In the opinion of Romina Daniele, the musical mood and characteristics of the soundtrack immediately preceded and introduced Miles Davis’s subsequent records Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959).

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Jazz and film noir are perfect bedfellows, as evidenced by the soundtrack of Louis Malle’s Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud (Lift to the Scaffold). This dark and seductive tale is wonderfully accentuated by the late-’50s cool or bop music of Miles Davis, played with French jazzmen — bassist Pierre Michelot, pianist René Urtreger, and tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen — and American expatriate drummer Kenny Clarke. This recording evokes the sensual nature of a mysterious chanteuse and the contrasting scurrying rat race lifestyle of the times, when the popularity of the automobile, cigarettes, and the late-night bar scene were central figures. Davis had seen a screening of the movie prior to his making of this music, and knew exactly how to portray the smoky hazed or frantic scenes though sonic imagery, dictated by the trumpeter mainly in D-minor and C-seventh chords. Michelot is as important a figure as the trumpeter because he sets the tone, as on the stalking “Visite du Vigile.” While the mood of the soundtrack is generally dour and somber, the group collectively picks up the pace exponentially on “Diner au Motel.” At times the distinctive Davis trumpet style is echoed into dire straits or death wish motifs, as on “Generique” or “L’Assassinat de Carala,” respectively. Clarke is his usual marvelous self, and listeners should pay close attention to the able Urtreger, by no means a virtuoso but a capable and flexible accompanist. This recording can stand proudly alongside Duke Ellington’s music from Anatomy of a Murder and the soundtrack of Play Misty for Me as great achievements of artistic excellence in fusing dramatic scenes with equally compelling modern jazz music. (by Michael G. Nastos)

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Personnel:
Kenny Clarke (drums)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Pierre Michelot (bass)
René Urtreger (piano)
Barney Wilen (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Générique 2.45
02. L’ Assassinat de Carala 2.10
03. Sur L’Autoroute 2:15
04.. Julien Dans L’Ascenseur 2:07
05. Florence Sur Les Champs Élysées 2.50
06. Dîner au Motel 3.58
07. Évasion De Julien 0:53
08. Visite Du Vigile 2:00
09. Au Bar du Petit Bac 2:50
10. Chez Le Photographe Du Motel 3:50

Music composed by Miles Davis

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Cyril Davies (feat. Alexis Korner) – The Legendary Cyril Davies Album (1970)

FrontCover1Cyril Davies (23 January 1932 – 7 January 1964) was an English blues musician, and one of the first blues harmonica players in England.

Born at St Mildred’s, 15 Hawthorn Drive, Willowbank, Denham, Buckinghamshire, he was the son of William Albert Davies, a labourer, and his wife Margaret Mary (née Jones). He had an elder brother named Glyn, and the family is believed to have come from Wales.

Cyril Davies began his career in the early 1950s first within Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers, then in 1955 formed an acoustic skiffle and blues group with Alexis Korner. He began as a banjo and 12-string guitar player before becoming a Chicago-style blues harmonica player after hearing Little Walter. Working by day as a panel beater, he ran an unsuccessful skiffle club before meeting Korner, then Davies and Korner opened a London Rhythm and Blues club “England’s Firstest and Bestest Skiffle Club”, later known as the “London Blues and Barrelhouse Club”. Popular with other musicians, the club hosted gigs by blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Memphis Slim.

During this period Davies and Korner worked as session musicians, and often backed Ottilie Patterson during her featured set with husband Chris Barber’s band, using amplified instruments for the first time – which did not go down well with their blues purist audience and many fellow musicians. After closing the blues club, Davies and Korner went their separate ways, and, influenced by Muddy Waters electric sound, Davies formed his own electric blues band.

In 1961, Chris Barber recruited Davies and Korner to play harmonica and electric guitar in accompanying Barber’s band regularly at its Wednesday and Friday night sets at the Marquee Club, a popular London jazz club. This opportunity granted Davies and Korner some exposure to the London music scene, but the duo wished to focus more on blues and R&B. The two decided to found their own rhythm and blues group and, in a show of support, Barber offered them the intermission slot at the Marquee on Wednesday nights.

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Korner supplied musicians for the rhythm sections, and Davies recruited Art Wood and Long John Baldry to be the vocalists. They named the group Blues Incorporated, and their initial performances at the Marquee were very well received. However, they realized the need for additional performance opportunities and, since most jazz and folk clubs in London were wary of electric guitars, Davies and Korner decided to found their own club at which they could perform. In 1962 they founded the Ealing Club, which featured performances by both Blues Incorporated and other Trad jazz outfits popular in England at the time. The club proved to be a popular sensation in the burgeoning R&B scene, and attracted such far-flung admirers and future stars as Mick Jagger and Eric Burdon. Jagger was in the audience for the second night at the club and got up to sing “Got My Mojo Working”.

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In June 1962 they recorded R&B from the Marquee,[4] actually recorded in Decca Records’ studio. After touring the UK and headlining a residency at the Marquee,[2] by October 1962 there was musical tension in the band as some members wanted to play crowd pleasers like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs while Cyril Davies and others members were blues purists who wanted to play what they saw as only genuine Chicago-style R&B.[5][6] Following his departure from Blues Incorporated in October 1962, Davies then formed the Cyril Davies All-Stars[7] in November 1962 and recorded five tracks for Pye Records, who had announced an R&B label featuring music imported from Davies’ favourite Chicago musicians (“Country Line Special”, “Chicago Calling”, “Preaching the Blues”, “Sweet Mary” and “Someday Baby”). The original line-up was largely recruited from Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages, and featured both Long John Baldry and Davies on vocals to give Davies room to play harmonica. The band, later known simply as the All-Stars was subject to frequent personnel changes.

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After contracting pleurisy in 1963, Davies began to drink heavily to assuage the pain while undergoing a heavy touring schedule. He died in January 1964,[9] after collapsing during an engagement at a night club on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham in London.[10] The official cause of death was given as endocarditis,[11] although leukaemia is often quoted. The core band was taken over by Long John Baldry and formed the basis of his ‘Hoochie Coochie Men’.

In October 2014 the compilation entitled Preachin’ The Blues: The Cyril Davies Memorial Album was finally released on GVC Records (GVC2040) in Great Britain. (by wikipedia)

Early in the morning of January 8th, 1964, I received a telephone call from John Martin: “I’m sorry to be the one who has to tell you this, John, but Cyril died last night.” Cyril had been taken to hospital at six in the evening and within five hours was dead. I just could not believe it – he had been ill for some months, that I knew, but the suddenness of his death threw me. Some days before, as we were crossing the footbridge from our old stamping ground Eel Pie Island, he had said something that flashed back into my mind at that moment. “You know, John, I think this will be the last time I’ll walk on this bridge”.

As it happened, that particular evening at the Island was to be his last public appearance.

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The first time I ever met Cyril Davies was a few weeks before the earliest tracks on this album were recorded. I was only a young kid just out of school at that time, just playing guitar and singing a little and very much in love with the blues. Although I had been listening to records by Bill Broonzy, and Muddy Waters among others since I was twelve, I had never heard English people playing and singing the blues until the evening I walked into the Roundhouse (the pub in Soho, not Arnold Wesker’s ex-railway turntable shed) and heard Cyril and Alexis Korner. I used to go every Thursday evening and they would invite me to join them on the piece of lino between the piano and the bar, which served as the bandstand, encouraging me in my desire to be part of the blues scene. Those were great days, because apart from Cyril, Alex and myself performing, there were visits to the club by Big Bill, Muddy, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Derroll Adams and many more.

Of course, Cyril was better known then as a twelve-string guitarist than as a harmonica player. But later, in the days of the “Blues Incorporated” and the All Stars”, he never played guitar on stage, so naturally became absolutely identified with harmonica. I have always thought it a great pity that his guitar playing was never utilized on his recordings for Decca and Pye. However, this situation can now be rectified as we listen to this collection of memorable recordings thanks to Doug Dobell.

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As I listen, I look back and think of the little black Alsatian Uschi (still alive and well and monstrous in Kent) that he gave me from the litter of his scrapyard watchdog Kim. The entire barful of dockers on Teesside for whom he bought drinks all night. The inimitable way he curbed a tribal civil war in the back of a Timpson’s coach outside Middlesbrough Infirmary. My sudden arrival back to sobriety one night in Burslem with a well-aimed harmonica hurled at my head from the stage. But there’s not enough room on this sleeve to tell it all. Perhaps Doug might let me record an album one day so that I can tell you the WHOLE story of the Legendary Cyril Davies. (by Long John Baldry, taken from the originaL liner notes)

It´s time to honour Cyril Davies, one of the first blues man in UK. Listn !

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Personnel:
Cyril Davies (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
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Jeff Bradford (mandolin, kazoo, guitar on 06. + 12.)
Mike Collins (washboard on 02., 10. + 11)
Alexis Korner (guitar, mandolin, vocals on 02., 03., 05., 08. – 11.
Terry Plant (bass on 02., 05., 10. + 11.)
Lisa Turner (banjo, vocals on 06 . + 12.)
Reg Turner (jug on 06. + 12.)

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Tracklist:
01 Leaving Blues (Ledbetter) 3.15
02- Roundhouse Stomp (Johnson) 2.53
03. Rotten Break (Taylor) 3.48
04. K.C. Moan (Blackman) 2.54
05. Skip To My Lou (Traditional) 1.54
06. It’s The Same Old Thing (Shade) 2.19
07. Alberta (Leadbelly) 2.43
08. Hesitation Blues (Handy) 2.29
09. Ella Speed (Traditional) 2.58
10. Good Morning (Leadbelly) 2.36
11. Boll Weevil (Brownwell) 3.25
12. Short Legs Shuffle (Bradford) 2.34

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Billie Holiday – Body and Soul (1957)

FrontCover1Body and Soul is a studio album made by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released in 1957. In their 1957 review of the album, Saturday Review wrote:

With changes in her voice which bring Miss Holiday’s singing closer to recitative has come an occasional timidity about altering a melody where before there was boldness. But she remains one of the best jazz singers, not only for her unique sound and attack, but for her straightforward, honest, musical communication.” (by wikipedia)

This session comes from close to the end of the line (1959) in the erstwhile swinging company of Barney Kessel on guitar, Ben Webster on tenor, and naysayers will be quick to point out that Lady Day wasn’t in peak form here. But Billie Holiday with some of the platinum chipped off the pipes is still way better than a buncha finger-snappin’ wannabes anyday. Her interpretations of the title cut, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” and “Darn That Dream” hold you in the palm of her hand with their gentle swing and the band support here is never less than stellar. This Mobile Fidelity reissue (also available as an audiophile vinyl pressing) features in-the-control-room sound that makes this session sound even cozier. The Lady sings and swings. (by Cub Koda)

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Personnel:
Larry Bunker (drums on 02., 04., 06. + 07.)
Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet)
Billie Holiday (vocals)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Red Mitchell (bass)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)
Alvin Stoller (drums on 01., 03., 05. +  08.)
Ben Webster (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Body and Soul (Green/Heyman/Sour/Eyton) 6.20
02. They Can’t Take That Away From Me (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 4.09
03. Darn That Dream (v.Heusen/DeLange) 6.16
04. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 3.22
05. Comes Love (Stept/Brown/Tobias) 3.58
06. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You (Razaf/Redman) 5.35
07. Embraceable You (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 6.46
08. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf/Blackburn) 3.48

 

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Herbie Mann & Bobby Jaspar – Flute Soufflé (1957)

FrontCover1Flute Soufflé is an album by jazz flautists Herbie Mann and Bobby Jaspar featuring tracks recorded in 1957 for the Prestige label.

At the time of this Prestige set , Herbie Mann was a flutist who occasionally played tenor and Bobby Jaspar a tenor-saxophonist who doubled on flute.

Two of the four songs find them switching back and forth while the other two are strictly flute features. With pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Joe Puma, bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Bobby Donaldson contributing quiet support, the two lead voices constantly interact and trade off during this enjoyable performance.

Highpoints are the haunting “Tel Aviv” and a delightful version of “Chasing the Bird.” (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Bobby Donaldson (drums)
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Bobby Jaspar (flute, saxophone)
Herbie Mann (flute, saxophone)
Wendell Marshall (bass)
Joe Puma (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Tel Aviv (Mann) 14,43
02. Somewhere Else (Puma) 5.58
03. Let’s March (Mann) 7.26
04. Chasin’ The Bird (Parker) 8.14

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Sonny Rollins – Saxophone Colossus (1956)

FrontCover1Saxophone Colossus is a studio album by American jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins. It was recorded on June 22, 1956, with producers Bob Weinstock and Rudy Van Gelder at the latter’s studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. Rollins led a quartet on the album that included pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach. Saxophone Colossus was released later that year by Prestige Records to critical success and helped establish Rollins as a prominent jazz artist.

In 2017, Saxophone Colossus was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant.”

There are five tracks on the album, three of which are credited to Rollins. “St. Thomas” is a calypso-inspired piece named after Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The tune is traditional and had already been recorded by Randy Weston in 1955 under the title “Fire Down There”. (In the booklet provided with the boxed set, The Complete Prestige Recordings, Rollins makes it clear that it was the record company that insisted on his taking credit.) In any case, the piece has since become a jazz standard, and this is its most famous recorded version.

Finally, “Blue 7” is a blues, over eleven minutes long. Its main, rather disjunct melody was spontaneously composed. The performance is among Rollins’ most acclaimed, and is the subject of an article by Gunther Schuller entitled “Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation”. Schuller praises Rollins on “Blue 7” for the use of motivic development exploring and developing melodic themes throughout his three solos, so that the piece is unified, rather than being composed of unrelated ideas.

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The original 22 June 1956 session was recorded by Rudy Van Gelder.
In a contemporary review for Down Beat, Ralph J. Gleason wrote:

“Almost as if in answer to the charge that there is a lack of grace and beauty in the work of the New York hard-swingers comes this album in which Rollins displays humor, gentleness, a delicate feeling for beauty in line, and a puckish sense of humor. And all done with the uncompromising swinging that has characterized them all along.” (by wikipedia)

Sonny Rollins recorded many memorable sessions during 1954-1958, but Saxophone Colossus is arguably his finest all-around set. Joined by pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Doug Watkins, and drummer Max Roach, Rollins debuts and performs the definitive version of “St. Thomas,” tears into the chord changes of “Mack the Knife” (here called “Moritat”), introduces “Strode Rode,” is lyrical on “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and constructs a solo on “Blue Seven” that practically defines his style. Essential music that, as with all of Rollins’ Prestige recordings, has also been reissued as part of a huge “complete” box set; listeners with a tight budget are advised to pick up this single disc and be amazed. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Tommy Flanagan (piano)
Max Roach (drums)
Sonny Rollins (saxophone)
Doug Watkins (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. St. Thomas (Rollins) 6.48
02. You Don’t Know What Love Is (de Paul/Raye) 6.29
03. Strode Rode (Rollins) 5.15
04. Moritat (Mack The Knife) (Weill) 10.06
05. Blue 7 (Rollins) 11.14

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Os Brasileiros – Na Europa (1957)

FrontCover1An all-star ensemble that was equally adept in samba, forro and choro. Trio Irakitan provide earnest vocals in front of a band that featured Abel Ferreira – clarinet, Sivuca on accordion, and solid samba rhythms by Pernambuco do Pandeiro and drummer Dimas, along with some percussion by the Irakitan crew. (by www.discogs.com)

A joyful, upbeat album by an all-star ensemble that was equally adept in samba, forro and choro. Trio Irakitan provide earnest vocals in front of a band that featured Abel Ferreira – clarinet, Sivuca on accordion, and solid samba rhythms by Pernambuco do Pandeiro and drummer Dimas, along with some percussion by the Irakitan crew. It’s all really fun stuff; in some ways I prefer the instrumental numbers where Ferreira and Sivuca deftly meld choro and forro. This album documents one of the numerous tours of Brazilian artists in Europe, and inspired the group to record at least one other album. Be great to see this in digital reissue some day!  (by slipcue.com)

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Personnel:
Abel Ferreira (clarinet)
Pernambuco do Pandeiro (percussion)
Sivuca (accordion, guitar )
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Trio Irakitan (vocals):
Edson Reis de França – Paulo Gilvan – João Manoel de Araújo Costa Netto

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Tracklist:
01. Maracangalha (Caymmi) 2.11
02. Brasileirinho (Azevedo) 2.00
03. A Fonte Secou (Monsueto/Lauar(Marcléo) 2.46
04. Carrapicho (Teixeira) 2.30
05. No Paraiso das Mulatas (de Morais) 1.45
06. Vai na Paz de Deus (Alves/Domingues) 2.39
07. Nega (Gomes/Teixeira) 2.47
08. Vai Com Jeito (de Barro) 1.49
09. O Baião Em Paris (Teixeira) 2.08
10. Zezé (Teixeira/da Rocha) 3.24
11. Mulata Mulata (Martins/Amorim) 2.16
12. Fantasia Carioca (Santiago/Vermelho) 1.43

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Severino Dias de Oliveira popularly known as Sivuca

 

 

 

Dave Pell – A Pell Of A Time (1957)

FrontCover1David “Dave” Pell (February 26, 1925 – May 7, 2017) was an American jazz saxophonist and bandleader. He was best known for leading a cool jazz octet in the 1950s.
Pell first played in his teens with the big bands of Tony Pastor, Bob Astor, and Bobby Sherwood, and then moved to California in the middle of the 1940s. There he played on Bob Crosby’s radio show in 1946, and was a member of Les Brown’s band from 1947 to 1955.

In 1953, he began working with his own ensembles, mostly as an octet: Pell on tenor sax, another saxophone (either a baritone or an alto), trumpet and trombone, guitar, and a piano-bass-drums rhythm section).[2] Among the octet players were Pepper Adams, Benny Carter, Mel Lewis, Red Mitchell, Marty Paich, Art Pepper and, early his career, John Williams. These ensembles recorded in the 1950s for Atlantic, Kapp, Coral, Capitol, and RCA Victor; alongside this, he played as a sideman for Shorty Rogers, Pete Rugolo, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa. He also produced in the 1950s and 1960s for Tops, Uni and Liberty; among his credits in production were some singles by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

In 1961, Pell switched to alto sax and clarinet for I Remember John Kirby, a tribute album to bassist/bandleader Kirby who led a successful small group in the 1930s and ’40s.

Pell was the recording session leader for the 1965 hit song “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)”, performed by Los Angeles studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew but attributed to The T-Bones.
In the 1970s, he assembled the group Prez Conference, a Lester Young tribute ensemble. In the 1980s, he returned to the octet format, and played on and off into the 1990s. (by wikipedia)

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The Dave Pell Octet was one of the great cool jazz bands of the mid- to late ’50s. This fairly rare LP found Pell altering the personnel greatly, with Pell and pianist/arranger Marty Paich being the only holdovers. In addition, the arrangements of Paich, Bill Holman, Paul Moer (who, like trombonist Ray Sims, is a substitute on three songs), and Jack Montrose are opened up, and the musicians take much longer solos than on Pell’s earlier albums. With trumpeter Jack Sheldon often starring and there being some excellent spots for baritonist Pepper Adams, this is a rather different album by the Dave Pell Octet, a bit harder-charging and more hard bop-oriented while still retaining the identity of the original group. Worth searching for. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Pepper Adams (saxophone)
Bobby Burgess (trombone)
Tom Kelly (bass)
Mel Lewis (drums)
Marty Paich (piano)
Dave Pell (saxophone)
Jack Sheldon (trumpet)
Tommy Tedesco (guitar)
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Paul Moer (piano on 02., 05. + 07.)
Ray Sims (trombone on 02., 05. + 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Jazz Goes To Siwash (Holman) 4.31
02. Suze Blues (Paich) 3.07
03. Grey Flannel (Paich) 6.41
04. Angel Eyes (Brent/Dennis) 5.38
05. G Tune (Moer) 2.42
06. Sandy Shoes (Pell) 5.18
07. Cameo (Montrose) 4.11
08. Love Me Or Leave Me (Kahn/Donaldson) 7.14
09. Them There Eyes (Tauber/Pinkard/Tracey) 5.19

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