Clark Terry

Free and Oozy

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Free and Oozy is a compilation of two long unavailable LPs made for Cameo in the early '60s. Seven tracks come from Tread Ye Lightly, an octet featuring pianist Ray Bryant (listed under a pseudonym on the original release), Seldon Powell (tenor and baritone sax plus flute), guitarist Gene Bertoncini, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Dave Bailey. Terry mixes standards and his own tasty originals on this small-group date, with his distinctive style, particularly on muted horn, apparent from the first note. The lightly swinging "Georgia on My Mind" (with Terry's explosive, talkative solos) and his uptempo blues "Sapphire Blue" (featuring tenorist Buddy Lucas and the leader having fun with his trademark routine, alternating between fl├╝gelhorn and muted trumpet) are the highlights. The remaining eight tracks come from the LP More, though these selections feature a sextet with Ben Webster, Roger Kellaway, and Bill Crow joining Terry, Bertoncini, and Bailey. Oliver Nelson's "Hobo Flats" is a slow blues reminiscent of Duke Ellington's train songs, full of greasy solos by Webster, Terry, and Crow. Ray Brown's sassy "Gravy Waltz" is a lighthearted affair, while the swinging take of "Antony and Cleopatra" (written by Alex North for the film) is another lost gem. Although a total of three tracks from the combined two albums were omitted from the CD compilation, at least one song, "Sweet Juke," an odd easy listening-like feature with a Jew's harp and Terry's odd growling mute accents, is not really missed.

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