One of the greatest albums in jazz history
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Talbert takes classic compositions by Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller and arranges them in a fascinating way. He is the real genius arranger of the 1950s, with all due respect to Gil Evans. The excellent ensembles play these arrangements with beauty, grace and excitement. The one Talbert composition is memorable and beautiful. This is one of the greatest albums in jazz history, and contains a fresh, unique approach to jazz which is immediately appealing as well as richly rewarding upon repeated listenings. This album absolutely belongs in every music collection."
Thomas Talbert's Bix, Duke, Fats
Dr. George Brandon | South Orange NJ | 05/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album, I believe originally released on Atlantic Records, is one of the unheralded masterpieces of the 1950s. I have always been surprised how many of those who consider themselves jazz afficionados are completely unaware of this partioular recording of Talbert's. When I was a teenager and becoming really interested in the full range of twentieth century music available to me in the early 1960s,(James Brown, Stravinsky, Boulez and Webern, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Martha and the Vandellas, Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Leonard Bernstein, Thelonious Monk, George Russell, Duke Ellington, Edgard Varese, John Cage, Bobby Darin, the Coasters etc.) Talbert's style in this recording with its small ensemble elegance, subtle use of polytonality, dissonance and impresionistic harmony, blues feeling, inventive scoring, impeccable swing, fresh arrangements and gorgeous solos from everyone but especially Joe Wilder and Jimmy Cleveland, was just an absolute knock out. I had not listened to this LP for a long time but took it up again recently, and it stands the test of time, still warm, sharp and glowing. In a way it represents a step outward from the Miles Davis-led Birth of the Cool sessions, which obviously influenced it, but it is a true gem in its own right. The only other stuff from this time period for small bands that comes anywhere near it is what George Russell was doing in his 'Ezzthetic' sessions, which offered yet another alternative. A great album that deserves to be much better and more widely known. George Brandon"