Allen Eager

An Ace Face

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One of the up-and-comers of the bebop era, Allen Eager emerged before Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn as a Lester Young-inspired tenor saxophonist who had a slightly harder tone and the ability to master bop. However after 1956 (when he was 29), Eager largely lost interest in playing except for very rare returns to the scene. This British two-CD set has many of the high points from Eager's career. He is heard leading a pair of four-song quartet/quintet sessions from 1946-1947 (although a second 1947 set is bypassed altogether) and a rare live version of "Zootcase" from 1953. In addition, Eager is featured with Coleman Hawkins ("Allen's Alley"), on a previously unreleased excerpt from a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert ("Blues"), Red Rodney, the WNEW Saturday Night Swing Session, the Buddy Rich Big Band, with Barry Ulanov's Metronome All Stars, Tadd Dameron, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan (the lengthy "Mulligan's Too"), Terry Gibbs, Kenny Clarke and, on nine selections, with trumpeter Tony Fruscella. Eager holds his own with everyone including Charlie Parker (with Ulanov's group) and Fats Navarro. Although not a "complete" reissue, this two-fer covers most of the more significant moments in the all-too-brief career of Allen Eager.

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