Saturday, August 05, 2006

Modern Sax Stylists


MODERN SAX STYLISTS 1947 – 1953
( Audio Park APCD-6106 )

This CD opens with recordings Stan Getz made for the rare Sittin’ in with label October 1948 (The CD info gives November). Half a year later he’s also present on some Al Haig’s Quintet recordings for the Seeco label. Getz, who had been one of the so called Four Brothers in Woody Herman’s band started his own groups and his name was raising in the polls. His Royal Roost recordings are known and belong to the best Getz made. It is great to listen here to other, less known tunes from the same period.

Al Haig, was a skilled piano player, unknown to the general public. His exceptional technique gave him a flexibility and quickness of response that made him a fine accompanist to soloists as Stan Getz, Wardell Gray, Allen Eager and Herbie Steward, all on this CD. Haig is to be found on almost all recording on this compilation.

Wardell Gray is on five tracks. Gray, influenced by Lester Young, had experimented with the modern music styles in Benny Goodman’s small groups. He became, like Haig, undervalued, due to the fact that he died a few years later before he could make a name for himself.

Another remarkable sax player from this period is Allen Eager. He plays on this compilation in the bands of Red Rodney and Dave Lambert. Dave Lambert, one of the pioneers in bebop singing, became famous with his group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

The final tracks of this CD have been reserved for Herbie Steward’s Royal Roost recordings from the early 1950s. Like Stan Getz Steward was discovered by Woody Herman while they were in Butch Stone’s band. They became part of the Second Herd. Getz was impressed by Herbie Steward’s sax playing: Herbie’s got such beautiful soul. Even playing lead chair. His lead alto is the nearest thing to a human voice I’ve ever heard, he said about him. I like the tune Passport To Pimlico very much, a great performance with contributions of Herbie Steward, Al Haig and Jimmy Raney.

STAN GETZ QUARTETTE ( 25-26 Nov.( = Oct.) 1948) / 1. Pardon My Bop - 2. As I Live And Bop – 3. Interlude in Be Bop – 4. Diaper Pin STAN GETZ with AL HAIG QUINTET ( 12 May 1949) / 5. Poop Deck – 6. Pennies From Heaven WARDELL GRAY QUARTETTE (Late 1948) / 7. Light Gray – 8. The Toup WARDELL GRAY with BUDDY STEWART QUINTET (ca. Apr. 1949) / 9. Shawn WARDELL GRAY with AL HAIG QUINTET ( ca Apr. 1949) 10. Five Star – 11. Sugar Hill Bop ALLEN EAGER with RED RODNEY’s BE-BOPPERS ( 29 Jan. 1947) / 12. Elevation ALLEN EAGER with DAVE LAMBERT TRIO (ca. May 1948) / 13. Deedle ALLEN EAGER QUARTETTE ( Summer 1948) / 14. The Way You Look Tonight HERBIE STEWARD QUINTET ( 17 Jan. 1950 - * 9 Feb. 1951) / 15. Medicine Man – 16. Passport To Pimlico 17. T’ant No Use – 18. Sinbad The Tailor - * 19 My Last Affair – * 20. My Baby Just Cares For Me

Audio Park has create a great second item in its series of Modern Stylists (The first one was the Audio Park 6102 Modern Clarinet Stylists) and I’m anxious to hear their next Modern Stylists release.

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