Clark Terry

Ain't Misbehavin'

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One jazz giant tips his hat to another as Clark Terry honors Fats Waller with an album of Waller's compositions, mostly co-written with his erstwhile pen partners Andy Razaf and Harry Brooks, or songs by others that Waller used to perform. Terry's trumpet and vocals fit the Waller material like a glove, having the same twinkle in the eye approach the big man was famous for. Terry not only plays horns but sings, not in his usual "mumbles" style, but pronouncing the lyrics so one can understand them. On "Your Feet's Too Big," Terry sings and growls on trumpet. The trumpet player is joined by outstanding members of the jazz community. Oscar Peterson shows off his dazzling pianism on such cuts as "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Handful of Keys," as well as his expertise with the blues on "Mean to Me." Relatively unknown alto sax/flute player Chris Woods gets the opportunity to demonstrate there's no reason he should be laboring in relative obscurity. His flute swings with a sweet, not shrill, tone on "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie." But the biggest bonus of all is the presence of Johnny Hartman, regrettably for just a single cut, the title song "Ain't Misbehavin'." Hartman was perhaps the most listenable balladeer of them all, and when he recorded a tune, it became difficult for anyone else to cover it -- no matter how good the cover was, it usually suffered in some degree when compared to Hartman's version. Terry and Woods trade fours during the vocal break. This fine album just cries out for transfer to CD.

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