His Octet and Quintet

Cy Touff

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His Octet and Quintet Review

by Scott Yanow

Cy Touff was one of the few specialists on the bass trumpet, an instrument that does not sound all that different from a valve trombone. This 1998 reissue CD finds Touff in two different settings. The first four numbers feature an octet (comprised of trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Conrad Gozzo, Touff, tenor-saxophonist Richie Kamuca, Matt Utal on reeds, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Chuck Flores) performing three Johnny Mandel arrangements and one by Ernie Wilkins ("What Am I Here For"). "Keester Parade" uses a familiar Sweets Edison line ("Centerpiece") while Tiny Kahn's "TNT" is easily recognizable as the basis for Dave Frishberg's "Can't Take You Nowhere." Touff, Kamuca and Edison are the main soloists on the cool-toned Basie-oriented date. The remainder of the CD is from the following day and puts more of the focus on Touff's soloing in a quintet with Kamuca and pianist Pete Jolly. Touff and Kamuca blend together very well and play off each other in winning fashion. This music also tips its cap constantly to Basie (Jolly purposely plays a few phrases like Count) with "Prez-ence" finding the two horns playing Lester Young's recorded solo on "You're Driving Me Crazy." One of only 2 1/2 albums led by Cy Touff, this CD is definitive of Touff and also notable for featuring Richie Kamuca in superb form.

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