The music on this CD is from a period when arranger Quincy Jones was a major part of the jazz world, rather than being content just to take bows for it. Six high-quality selections from a 1956 album offer logical, swinging, and often distinct arrangements with plenty of solos from the all-star cast (which includes Lucky Thompson on tenor, altoist Phil Woods, and trumpeter Art Farmer); highlights include "Stockholm Sweetnin'," "Walkin'," and "Sermonette." The remainder of the CD reissues two-thirds of a slightly odd collection led and produced (but not arranged) by Jones. Originally titled Go West, Man, the LP was designed to show off the talents of West Coast arrangers Jimmy Giuffre, Lennie Niehaus, and Charlie Mariano. Three selections feature an alto summit with Benny Carter, Art Pepper, Herb Geller, and Charlie Mariano, and there are also some numbers with a sax section; three songs with a trumpet section had to be left out due to lack of space. Although these performances are enjoyable, it is the Quincy Jones charts that are most memorable, making one regret his decision in the early '70s to leave jazz altogether.
- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)
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For the sake of the title chosen for this session, I have disregarded the established precedent of a Jazz arranger's album being mostly a display of his technique and/or craftsmanship.
This Is How I Feel About Jazz is an attempt on my part to supply the settings, select the proper cast and musically portray my feelings about some of the less cerebral and more vital or basic elements contained in Jazz.
Trying to put into words the essence of these elements has made me realize that Jazz is much easier to play than to say.
At the recent Newport Jazz Festival, one of the topics for panel discussion was "The Future of Jazz." As a member of this panel,. I stated my preference for a "natural growth" instead of a "forced or blueprinted development."
Because of the lack of time to explain this point thoroughly, it could have possibly been assumed that I was unaware of the possibilities uncovered only by advancement of Jazz techniques.
Such an assumption would be clarified, I hope, after a hearing of this album, as it has given me ample opportunity to present most of my favorite musicians and soloists in settings conducive to swinging and to their unlimited self-expression. (These latter elements comprise the most distinctive characteristics of Jazz. Original voices are created and not mapped out, meaning you can't make a race horse out of a mule.)
I would prefer not to have this music categorized at all, for it is probably influenced by every original voice in and outside of Jazz, maybe anyone from Blues singer Ray Charles to Ravel; I don't know or care, and I think the musicians here feel the same way. We aren't trying to prove a thing except maybe that "the truth doesn't always hurt."
This is one of those "tested and proven" Jazz standards introduced originally by Miles Davis and guaranteed to strike a groove. We tried to get the feeling of an informal session, using orchestral backgrounds written to sound like "Head arrangements" rather than complex lines. I think we took full advantage of our guarantee and retained a feeling of complete freedom and relaxation. Paul Chambers' bass solo descends finally into a groovy, walkin' line under Art Farmer's muted choruses followed by Lucky Thompson at his best. Urbie Green, Frank Rehak and Jimmy Cleveland play one chorus each, then take two choruses of fours, starting in the same order, with Phil Woods and Hank Jones concluding the solos, building all the way. Charli Persip never stops swinging and is developing into one of the freshest drummers on the scene today.
This is a composition I had originally written for Art Farmer and Clifford Brown when we recorded with the Swedish All-Stars in Stockholm, Sweden, 1953. As a tribute to Clifford, I have orchestrated his solo from that session. Following solos by Art Farmer, Phil Woods and Hank Jones, Brownie's chorus begins, introduced by unison trombones, and is continued for 32 bars. I consider this one of his most well constructed solos on record, and it serves as a stimulating, inspired composition. I was trying for a light, small group feeling with a large orchestra sound.
Evening In Paris
Zoot came all the way from Washington, D.C. to make this one. This was also composed while on the 1953 European tour, this time in Paris. I wanted to introduce the first part with a mixture of the French impressionistic school and free Jazz feeling-Zoot's solo is followed by Art Farmer - trumpet and Milt Jackson on vibes. Charles Mingus again reminds me of his mastery of the bass, displaying remarkable control on the opening lines.
As Dizzy used to say, "this feels like one of them good old good ones -." If you can forget your rules of "HIPology" for a moment, I think you'll dig this tune. This is where a lot of the current Jazz scene really came from and no intention of tongue in cheek was intended here. The following "Soul Brothers" were soloistically involved in conveying this spiritual message: Art Farmer-trumpet, Lucky Thompson-tenor, Milt Jackson-vibes and Gene Quill-alto. If you, perchance, do happen to receive, please pass it on!
A Sleepin Bee
This was done originally as a ballad by one of my favorite singers, Diahann Carroll, in the recent Broadway production, House of Flowers. As usual, Harold Arlen's composition here is so harmonically complete, it leaves little need for composition within the melody. I tried to get an improvised sound with the flute and bass interplay by alternating one bar ad libbed with one bar written. Solos are by Art Farmer, Phil and Mingus. (Phil's solos contain form enough to become compositions.)
This was named after "Boo" Frazier, Disc Jockey (Dizzy's Cousin), who portrayed this cute musical caricature during some of the dances we played on the recent State Department tour with Dizzy's big band. He used to do a groovy little high pockets dance, described easier by playing than by saying. Solos in following order: Phil Woods-alto, Herbie Mann-flute, Art Farmer-trumpet, Lucky Thompson-tenor, Jimmy Cleveland-trombone, and Charles Mingus-bass.
My reason for the constant use of Farmer with a mute was done purposely to emphasize his wonderfully distinctive melodic lines. He gassed me on everything!
Our prime objectives in this album were soul, groove and honesty. I am very grateful to have such musically compatible constituents (wailin' friends) to help make it possible for me to express how I feel about Jazz.
-Quincy Jones, 1957
In Southern California the evenings are cool, as many an Easterner has found out to his discomfort. But periodically the sequence of chilly dusks is broken by a hot, dry, sometimes rather nervous wind, that sweeps from the interior and changes the entire atmosphere of the area. Then you see the retired Idaho farmers sitting on their verandahs rocking back and forth and watching the traffic.
They call this wind a Santa Ana. This album is NOT called a Santa Ana, but it does bring a warm, almost hot breeze to Southern California, or West Coast; jazz which shows that it need not always be cool.
And it's time some real effort was made to demonstrate to the world that everything recorded in the Hollywood studios is not more emotionally restrained than a London native in a room full of Americans. As Betty Roche wrote to Jimmy Lyons, whose nightly KNBC, San Francisco program has been a breath of warmth in what has sometimes seemed a wilderness of cool sounds, "it's good to hear the swingers."
Quincy Jones, who produced this album, selected the personnel, picked the instrumentation and arrangers, is a West Coast product himself-he's from Chicago originally but settled in Seattle when he was 10 and was raised there. For that matter, most of the so-called West Coast musicians are originally from the East, or at least not the West, and they don't always play in that tight little style that has become known as West Coast. They can get pretty funky, especially, as Shelly Manne says, "if they've eaten enough in those all-night hamburger joints." When Quincy was commissioned by ABC-Paramount to produce this album, he decided "to show the West Coast in a more relaxed, earthy atmosphere." I think the best way to judge how well he succeeded is to listen and when you do, I am sure you will agree with me that what we have here is not West Coast or East Coast or No-Coast, but just good swinging, moving, intelligent, relaxed music that could have been made anywhere, given men of this caliber. It is individual music because the men who played it and wrote it and arranged it are individual artists. But it carries no indigenous geographical classification. It does carry the label of modern jazz, that kind of modern jazz which has been increasingly important in recent years, a jazz that is warm, vibrant, swinging, and, above all, communicates to as broad an audience as possible.
The device that Quincy Jones used here was to make separate recording dates, each with a different instrumentation. One date featured four of the best alto saxophonists on the coast -Benny Carter, Art Pepper, Herb Geller and Charlie Mariano and a rhythm section of Lou Levy, piano; Red Mitchell, bass; and Shelly Manne, drums. For this date Jimmy Guiffre and Lennie Neihaus, neither of whom play on the album, wrote the arrangements.
The second date was for saxophones and has Buddy Collette, Bill Perkins and Walter Benton on tenors and Pepper Adams on baritone (the most exciting soloist on that instrument since Serge Chaloff came up) with a rhythm section of Perkins, Vinnegar and Manne and arrangements by Guiffre and Charlie Mariano, who does play on the alto sides.
The tunes they all contributed (and each selection is an original, either outright or as a new composition on an old framework, with the exception of the ballad medley) are either outright blues or manage to have that blues feel that is essential to good, funky jazz.
As to the men involved, Quincy Jones is one of the brightest young arrangers currently operating in jazz and a man whose maturity belies his age (24) and whose work is a constant tribute to his middle name - Delight! The alto soloists, the trumpet soloists and the saxophone soloists make, on each date, an interesting series of contrasts in style and accent and the device followed on almost all tunes, of allowing them to take consecutive statements in order, adds to the interest. The rhythm section throughout performs admirably and in its members' solos, as well as in the group effort, swinging is the first order of business.
- Ralph J. Gleason, 1957 (edited in 1992)