Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Slaughter rule or no, each tonal personality leaves his mark
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 04/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album opened jazz history to me, exposing the tonal personalities of the great swing artists and illustrating more effectively than any other recording the meaning of having a "voice" on your horn. Consider the competitive gimmick as precisely that, a motivator to distinguish different horns from one another and different players on the same horn from each other. Yet it does provide some of the real excitement of an authentic "cutting session." The clear-cut "winner"--harmonically, rhythmically, and tonally--is, no surprise, Hawkins. (Better they had put him opposite a Chu Berry, Don Byas, Ben Webster, or Illinois Jacquet.) Equally impressive is Rex Stewart, who does things I've never heard on the trumpet while playing better (and at greater length) than on perhaps any other recording. Yet his domination of his rival, Cootie Williams, is not so apparent because of the Monk-like, sui generis quality of Cootie's playing. Lawrence Brown is always up to any task, but the recording at least enabled me to appreciate the otherwise neglected J. C. Higgenbottom. This was a risky business (just look at the album photo) that paid off."
Roberto Fernandez | Mexico City, Mexico | 04/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These men were having fun at the studio. Check Coleman Hawkins solos and tags and the rivalry between Rex and Cootie... What Joy and what memories of an already bygone era...... one of a kind. No challenge to your ears and your smile."
They came to play
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 11/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A minor triumph - who to congratulate first? The stars? The rhythm section? The arrangers? The producers? They all went all Hippocratic here and first did no harm...This is important, because the history of recording the Swing Era greats in the '50s and '60s is largely a heartbreak. Something's always wrong: either a too hip or not hip enough rhythm section, or too much trust - endless blues blowing which goes essentially nowhere, or too little trust - overloading the program with interesting repertoire choices without the time to internalize them. But none of that here. Everybody's on their game, the arrangements give just enough contrast, and the feeling of challenge is heard and felt in the friendly sparring (just for the record, between Bud Freeman and Hawkins it was no contest from the start - Bud has his thing, but it's no match for the Master...). Is this an essential disc? I lived without it long enough...No, it's not. But, for example, there's no better later recording of Cootie essaying some sort of rescoring of his "Concerto". None of the Ellington ones from the '60s come close. And that alone is worth the price of admission. If I would be VERY picky, I would say that Hank Jones is a little prissy at times for the kind of gutsy blowing that goes on here.But he is his usual discreet self, and is basically fine, if not really inspired. So, folks, this is what it is: if you love this music and these players as I do, you will enjoy hearing them creep into their fifties with their heads held high. No more than this, and no less."