Teddy Charles

A Word from Bird

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This Koch reissue brings to light a forgotten 1957 Atlantic session from vibraphonist Teddy Charles. Although much of this material falls under the category of cool jazz, the leadoff and title track "Word From Bird" features a full ensemble and caused some controversy for its third stream approach. Commissioned for the Stuttgart Light-Music Festival in 1956, the festival directors ended up rejecting it, insisting it was too musically advanced and serious for a "light music" festival. The swinging uptempo Bob Brookmeyer composition "Show Time" features admirable soloing from Charles, Hal Stein on alto, Robert Newman on tenor, trumpeter Art Farmer, and Jimmy Rainey on guitar. The four remaining tracks feature the rhythm section only with Hall Overton on piano, Charles Mingus on bass, and Ed Shaughnessy on drums. Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things," a haunting version of "Laura," "When Your Lover Has Gone," and the midtempo "Blue Greens" lazily gallops along with Mingus receiving ample solo space. Word From Bird is an enjoyable reissue.

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