Great Mainstream Jazz
Tad Ulrich | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The two albums presented on this cd, SAXES INC and TROMBONE SCENE are excellent examples of the type of mainstream jazz which proliferated from the mid to late 1950s. In my op, SAXES INC is the most compelling and exciting of the two and the main reason for picking up this disc. But TROMBONE SCENE is so well done, it still deserves your attention.
Lone Hill's production values are excellent and intended for the serious jazz collector. Complete liner notes, recording dates, track times and player personnel listings for each tune are presented as well as original player photos for the SAXES INC session. A very pleasing to look at production.
The player personnel for both sessions are the cream of the crop of New York based players of the time and they play up to those standards. Among my personal favorites of the SAXES INC section are Georgie Auld's great ballad rendition of "Sweet & Lovely" and a great up tempo romp for all concerned on "Tickle-Toe."
But I do have a major gripe (well, to me anyway!) The cover states SAXES INC is in stereo but it is instead remastered in mono! I already have a nice lp copy of SAXES INC in mono and the remastered mono is no better sound quality wise. I think this album is a perfect one for stereo and I wanted to be able to identify each individual soloist. I would not have purchased this cd having known this. I would not have expected TROMBONE SCENE to be in stereo given its 1956 recording date. Guess that's the main reason I gave this four instead of five stars.
Nevertheless, if this is your first trek to this music, you won't be disappointed. Excellent music."
Saxes & Bones Galore
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 05/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here's a marvelous CD that reissues two mainstream LPs from the 1950s: SAXES, INC. (Warner Brothers, 1959) and TROMBONE SCENE (Vik, 1956). Each record features a plethora of major New York jazz musicians on each of the titled instruments. The saxes include Coleman Hawkins, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Georgie Auld, Herb Geller, and many others, while the trombonists include Jimmy Cleveland, Eddie Bert, Urbie Green, Frank Rehak, and Jimmy Knepper to name just a handful. Each of the tunes on the Trombone Scene features a different trombonist in the solo spotlight, some of the best being Jimmy Cleveland on SLIM JIM, the lush sound of Urbie Green on IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU, and Eddie Bert on HAMBONE. Willie Dennis takes a beautiful solo coming out of a muted ensemble on INDIANA, and the muted round of 4-bar solos on OUT OF NOWHERE, which features just about everybody, is also nice.
There's more overlapping and teaming up in the solos on SAXES, INC. with Al and Zoot featured together on a few tracks, as expected, and Coleman Hawkins getting a ballad feature just about to himself (THE GIPSY). Alto men Phil Woods and Gene Quill, who often played as a team during this time, play well together on NIGHT IN TUNISIA, and the Four Brothers sound (Al, Zoot, Sol Schlinger, and Monty Lewis) is terrific on FOUR BROTHERS. Lester Young's classic performance of SOMETIMES I'M HAPPY is copied note for note, with Pres's famous ending being played by the above mentioned Four Brothers.
This is wonderful stuff and should delight all mainstream jazz fans. The sound is excellent, and it's good to have these two fun albums back on the scene again.
The joy of saxes, plus bonus bones
James A. Vedda | Alexandria, VA USA | 01/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the first of the two albums on this CD, arranger Bob Prince sets the stage for an all-star sax and rhythm ensemble that uses combinations of every sax from soprano to bass. The original liner notes are included along with a track summary. You'll need these if you want to follow who the soloists are on each tune. Much of the solo work has the players trading 2, 4, or 8-bar phrases, so it can go by pretty quickly. The tracks are short - the shortest is just over two minutes, and the longest only about four and a half minutes - so don't expect long solos, but do expect good ones. In addition to the great efforts involving the whole team, there are two solo features ("The Gipsy" for Coleman Hawkins and "Sweet and Lovely" for Georgie Auld) and two duet features ("Night in Tunisia" for Phil Woods & Gene Quill and "Tickle-Toe" for Al Cohn & Zoot Sims). Rather than trying to keep track of the soloists, maybe you should just sit back and enjoy some nice sax blowing from 1959.
The CD's second album, recorded in 1956, includes 10 tunes arranged for five trombones and rhythm. The group's pianist, Elliot Lawrence, penned seven of the arrangements and Al Cohn did the other three. The trombone tracks are similar in length to the sax selections, but it's easier to pick out the soloists, at least on the seven feature numbers: "Slim Jim" (Jimmy Cleveland), "It Could Happen to You" (Urbie Green), "Hackin' Around" (Frank Rehak), "Indiana" (Willie Dennis), "Ham Bone" (Eddie Bert), "Sonny's Side" (Sonny Russo), and "Up and Out" (Jimmy Knepper). Whether you're in it for the soloists or the slick ensemble playing, if you're a fan of the trombone you won't be disappointed.
Like many jazz recordings of this era, these two albums were one-time-only gatherings of top talent performing unique arrangements. This CD captures a little piece of jazz history that also happens to sound great."