This 2002 Japanese import reissue presents Serge Chaloff's Storyville album The Fable of Mabel, recorded in Boston on September 3, 1954, in its original context. That means no alternate takes or related recordings of similar vintage were used to fill out the CD, which only clocks in at 25 minutes. This is reissuing at its most authentic, presenting the music as it originally appeared on a 10" long playing record with about 12 minutes of modern jazz on either side. Stylistically, this excellent nonet seems at times to be acting in solidarity with the rapidly evolving ensembles of Charles Mingus. This is largely due to the presence of artistically advanced alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, who composed fully half of the pieces heard here. "A Salute to Tiny" is credited to trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. "The Fable of Mabel" was conceived and written by pianist Dick Twardzik, who described it as "a satirical jazz legend" intended to provide listeners with "a welcome respite from standard nightclub fare." The heroine of the story is said to have been a "counterpoint" saxophonist whose adventures began in New Orleans and took her to Paris for "not too sad an ending." The band bustles busily through Twardzik's complex changes; one high point is a bristling duet between Mariano and tenor saxophonist Vardi Haritounian. The album closes with Al Killian's "Let's Jump," about which Chaloff said: "Now that we've proven how advanced we are, let's show the people that we can still swing."
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