Herbie Mann

Eight Classic Albums

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The eight albums in this Real Gone Jazz set were recorded between 1955 and 1959. First up is the The Herbie Mann-Sam Most Quintet, issued by Bethlehem in 1955. It features a two-flute frontline with the rhythm section anchored by guitarist Joe Puma. The remainder of disc one, Flute Flight from 1957, was issued on New Note. It is the first of five recordings from that year included here. Despite it being a co-headline date with Belgian flutist Bobby Jaspar, Mann actually appears on only two tracks. The rest of the lineup is filled out by Eddie Costa (vibes), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Puma, Doug Watkins or Wendell Marshall (bass), and Bobby Donaldson (drums). Disc two includes Flute Fraternity, issued on Mode. Mann plays piccolo, clarinet, and tenor in addition to flute, with Buddy Collette (flute, clarinet, tenor, and alto), pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Buddy Clark, and drummer Mel Lewis. The latter half of the disc is Sultry Serenade, issued on Riverside. Five of the eight tracks feature a sextet with baritone saxophonist/bass clarinetist Jack Nimitz, trombonist Urbie Green, Puma, bassist Oscar Pettiford, and drummer Charlie Smith. Disc three commences with Flute Souffle on Prestige, which showcases the Jaspar group once more sans Watkins and Costa. Both frontline players appear on flute and tenor throughout. Yardbird Suite, the last of the 1957 recordings, was released by Savoy, with Phil Woods on alto, Mann on flute and tenor saxophone, Costa, Puma, Marshall, and Donaldson. In 1958, Just Wailin' was issued on Prestige. This is one of those common all-star jam session recordings of the period. Though it's under Mann's name, the talent is shared: Charlie Rouse on tenor, pianist Mal Waldron, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist George Joyner, and drummer Art Taylor round out this mostly blues-based date. The final album in this collection is Flautista! Herbie Mann Plays Afro-Cuban Jazz. It's Mann's first step in a life-long pursuit of global music. Johnny Rae (vibes and marimba), Knobby Totah (bass), Santos Miranda (drums, percussion), Carlos "Patato" Valdes (percussion, congas), and Jose Luis Mangual (percussion) make up the band. One consumer warning is necessary here: the cover claims that these recordings are "digitally remastered and enhanced for stereo", but they're not from master tapes; they're from vinyl sources, and in some places you can literally hear the needle hitting the record.

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