Bennie Green

The 45 Session

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Trombonist Bennie Green cut four sessions for Blue Note Records, three of which were released as full-length LPs. At the remaining session, the group cut a series of eight songs that were intended for release as singles -- as reissue producer Michael Cuscuna points out, several songs fade out at the end on the master tapes, cutting off solos just as they're beginning to take off. The Japanese issue The 45 Session collects all nine masters, including one alternate take of Babs Gonzales' vocal tribute to Bennie, "Encore." Considering the strength of Green's combo -- it boasted pianist Sonny Clark, bassist Paul Chambers, tenor saxophonist Eddy Williams, and drummer Jerry Segal -- it's a bit frustrating to hear the songs in truncated form, but since that's the only way they exist, fans should cherish what we do have. And this is music to cherish. Green's Blue Note recordings are consistently fun, and this is no exception. Each song swings with energy, offering each instrumentalist a chance to shine -- the piano-handclap breakdown on "Minor Revelation" is as infectious as the blowing "It's Groovy" or the swinging interpretation of "Why Do I Love You." This is cheery, bluesy, good-natured music, and even if Gonzales' hipster salute to Green has dated a bit, the rest of the music is as appealing today as when it was recorded.

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