Great Live Club Session
Steven Crichley | Pittsburgh, PA | 06/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Count Basie trumpeter, Joe Newman, steps out front to lead his own quintet on this 4.5 star great live session. This is a much welcomed reissue from Verve (Mercury) since the wonderful Newman released so few albums as a headliner.
This cd features four standards and two fine Newman originals. The playing is consistent and cohesive throughout. There's a definite joyfulness in Newman's playing, from his muted musings on 'Love Is Here To Stay' to his fiery open blowing on 'Midgets', he was just glad to be there. His tone is not as brassy as with Basie and is adjusted perfectly for this setting.
Oliver Nelson is in fine form on tenor. An underappreciated player, Nelson's future reputation as a composer and arranger seems to have overshadowed his playing skills which more than held their own with his contempories. He especially shines on a short, bluesy solo on Newman's own 'Wednesday's Blues'.
Drummer Ed Shaughnessy, probably best known for his 29 years with Johnny Carson and The Tonight Show Band, stands out as he opens the set with his driving rhythms on 'Caravan' to his subtle brushwork on 'Please Send Me Someone To Love'. Many of us who grew up with Carson probably didn't appreciated at the time just how great this house band was. If you ever have the chance, check out Shaughnessy, Doc Severinson and Tommy Newsome playing 'Here's That Rainy Day' in tribute to Johnny, his favorite tune, on Late Night with David Letterman. A truly moving, unself-conscious musical moment in television history.
And let's not forget the solid playing throughout from Lloyd Mayers on piano and Art Davis on bass. Kudos.
The ambient chatter and clinking of glassware heard on some cuts can either be distracting or accepted as the authentic feel of a live, intimate club atmosphere. It's the listener's perspective. I'll take the latter as the era of seeing this many great musicians playing at this caliber in a small club may be just about gone forever. But you'll always be able to savor this fantastic 1961 session. It's not to be missed."