Buddy Rich

Both Sides

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Buddy Rich's recordings for Mercury through the years have often been scarce, and many still remain out of print. This double-LP from 1976 gave listeners a sampling of the drummer's dates for the label. There are four (out of a possible eight) early big band tracks from 1946; most notable is "Op Bop Sh'Bam," which has a Johnny Mandel arrangement and a Red Rodney trumpet solo. There are eight (out of a possible nine) selections from a 1959 big band date that features Ernie Wilkins arrangements and solos from trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, altoist Phil Woods, Al Cohn and Benny Golson on tenors, and pianist John Bunch. In addition, there are five of the eight numbers made in a double quintet set with Max Roach's group (that date has since come out on CD) and three selections from a 1960 septet session that features trumpeter Irvin Markowitz, young vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and pianist Dave McKenna. Although one wishes that all of this material was available in a more complete fashion, the twofer does have its exciting moments.