Bob Brookmeyer

Mosaic Select: Bob Brookmeyer

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The Bob Brookmeyer volume in the Mosaic Select series is one of the more enlightening issues in that it not only includes his little-known debut quartet sides for Pacific Jazz in 1954, featuring Red Mitchell, but more importantly, brings back into print his classic Traditionalism Revisited, Street Swingers, and Kansas City Revisited albums from 1957 and 1958. These sides in particular showcased Brookmeyer's fantastic compositional and arrangement skills even better than his work with Gerry Mulligan. Some of the players on these sessions include Jimmy Giuffre, Jim Hall, Ralph Pena, Jimmy Raney, Paul Quinichette, and Dave Bailey. Brookmeyer was a complete traditionalist, but an unusual harmonist. His charts extrapolated the essence and melodic purity of the earlier jazz material and read it into the advanced harmonic theories of the day on the West Coast, as well as brought it's "cool" ambience to the proceedings -- whether the tempo was up or down. In addition to this music, there are tracks that first saw the light of day on the Playboy Jazz All Stars compilation, and Brookmeyer's self-titled album on Crown. The Street Swingers disc, in particular, with its quintet setting putting Hall, Raney, and Brookmeyer on the frontline, is a masterpiece. Also from 1958 is the Stretching Out album originally issued on United Artists with Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, as well as Hank Jones, Charlie Persip, and Freddie Green on guitar. This is a smoking, wonderfully up-tempo session full of many colors and textures, and showcases Brookmeyer's charts at his developmental peak. In all, there are the four complete albums, some alternate takes, and compilation sides, making this essential for not only Brookmeyer fans, but West Coast jazz collectors as well.

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