Jazz suffered a major loss when, in the late 1960s, Buck Clayton had to retire from playing due to problems with his lip. But instead of permanently retiring from jazz altogether, he continued to make his mark as an arranger, bandleader, and educator. Clayton doesn't play at all on A Buck Clayton Jam Session: 1975; instead, this blowing date finds him overseeing and directing a 12-piece band that includes Joe Newman and Money Johnson on trumpet, Vic Dickenson and George Masso on trombone, Buddy Tate, Buddy Johnson, and Sal Nistico on tenor sax, Lee Konitz and Earle Warren on alto sax, Tommy Flanagan on piano, Milt Hinton on bass, and Mel Lewis on drums. To be sure, that's a variety of musicians -- some have strong swing credentials, others were primarily hard boppers, and you even have a musician who came out of the Cool School (Konitz) and went on to explore post-bop. But they manage to find common ground on this swing-oriented jam, which concentrates on Clayton's own compositions and emphasizes blowing, blowing, and more blowing. Thankfully, the liner notes list the order of the solos. Originally a vinyl LP in the '70s and reissued on CD in 1995 (when Chiaroscuro added two previously unreleased bonus tracks), A Buck Clayton Jam Session is less than essential but is an enjoyable jam that die-hard swing fans will appreciate.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson