Recorded 1955 at Fine Recording Studios, New York City, tracks 1-4 on January 3, tracks 5-8 on January 4.
Original LP issue: Clark Terry Emarcy MG 36007.
Tracks 9-12 recorded June 2, 1954 in New York City.
Original 10" LP issue, "Cats vs. Chicks" MGM E255.
Clark Terry (t) with Jimmy Cleveland (tb); Cecil Payne (bs); Horace Silver (p); Oscar Pettiford (cello); Wendell Marshall (b); Art Blakey (d); Quincy Jones (arr).
Track 2: Pettiford (b) replaces (cello).
Track 5: Add Pettiford (b).
Track 4,7, and 8: Pettiford (b) replaces Marshall.
Original LP issue "Clark Terry"
On tracks 9-12: :
Clark Terry (t); Urbie Green (tb);Lucky Thompson (ts); Horace Silver (p); Tal Farlow (g); Oscar Pettiford (b); Kenny Clarke (d).
Tracks II and 12: Percy Heath replaces Pettiford.
Track 12: Add Norma Carson (t); Terry Pollard (p); Mary Osborne (g).
Original LP issue "Cats vs. Chicks"
It might be said that the three prerequisites for jazz improvisation are sincerity, ability, and originality. Some of our contemporaries who have only the first of these virtues can be numbered among the most well-meaning incompetents on earth. Many who possess solely the second are technical giants and esthetic dwarfs. Those who can claim nothing but the third virtue are as much use as a coloratura soprano with laryngitis. The musicians gifted with all three characteristics are few and far between. Among them is Clark Terry.
This is the first time Clark has had a whole LP in which to express himself. By the time you have heard it all, if you did not know it before, you will be convinced that this is one trumpet player who not only plays as he feels, not only has complete command of his instrument, but also has something to say that is purely and delightfully personal. In the future, it will never take you more than 16 bars of any Terry solo to enable you to be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt who is playing.
Aside from a three-song session for V-Disc during the late 1940s, this CD contains Clark Terry's first recordings as a leader. Already an alumni of both Charlie Barnet's and Count Basie's bands, and a then-current member of Duke Ellington's orchestra, Terry is more focused on bop in these dates, with a terrific band including trombonist Jimmy Cleveland, baritone saxophonist Cecil Payne, pianist Horace Silver, cellist/bassist Oscar Pettiford, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Art Blakey, with charts by Quincy Jones. The infectious opener, "Swahili," was credited to Jones, though in Carl Woideck's liner notes, Terry remarks that he had a hand in its creation at the date. The loping "Double Play" features both bassists and a fine muted chorus by the leader. The easygoing bopper "Co-Op" was penned by Terry and fellow Ellington sideman Rick Henderson, with pungent statements by the trumpeter and Payne. The brisk blues "Chuckles" is a dazzling finale to his first LP, showcasing Payne and Cleveland before Terry takes over and plays a chorus in each of the 12 keys to wrap things up with a flourish. There may be a bit of confusion for anyone who owns a copy of the original LP, as many of the songs were mislabeled on it. The last four tracks came from a 1954 10" album, Cats Vs. Chicks' players include Silver and Pettiford (Percy Heath takes his place on two numbers), trombonist Urbie Green, tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson, guitarist Tal Farlow, and drummer Kenny Clarke. Terry's vocal-like muted horn is heard in "Cat Meets Chicks," while his distinctive style on open horn is prominent in his "Mamblues," which also has a tasty chorus by Farlow and a bit of Latin percussion behind the ensemble passage. "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)" is a mock battle between instrumentalists, with Mary Osborne challenging Farlow, trumpeter Norma Carson putting Terry to the test, while Terry Pollard takes on Horace Silver. There are no losers in this swinging meeting.
All Music Guide