Complete Metronome & Vogue Master Takes

Clifford Brown

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Complete Metronome & Vogue Master Takes Review

by Thom Jurek

The Metronome and Vogue master takes, the subject of this wonderfully zany double-disc set from Spain's Definitive label, offer a mature view of Clifford Brown in some startling company in June, September, and October of 1953. These sessions have all been out in various packages before, but together, the master takes offer a scintillating portrait of Brown not only as a stunning soloist in the company of other giants, but also as an anchor for various ensembles. First there's Brown with Art Farmer and the Swedish All Stars arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones, and then two weeks later with the Gigi Gryce Orchestra, which included Farmer, trumpeter Walter Williams, and bassist Pierre Michelot. The Gryce and Brown sextet actually made some noise on the Continent and recorded eight sides together. And they augmented these as an octet a few days later on October 11 with Clifford Solomon and Jimmy Cleveland. But the finest group here is Brown with Tadd Dameron's Big Ten. Other players on these sides -- alas, of which there are too few recordings -- include Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, Idrees Sulieman, and Benny Golson. This is truly spectacular swinging big-band and small-group work that walks the line between the innovations of 1950s hard bop and the Ellingtonian paradigm.

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