Pete Rugolo

Ten Saxophones and Two Basses

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The third installment in what has since been regarded as Pete Rugolo's trilogy of Mercury Perfect Presence Sound albums, Ten Saxophones and Two Basses was recorded in Hollywood on November 8, 9 and 10, 1961. At least as captivating as Ten Trombones Like Two Pianos and Ten Trumpets and Two Guitars, this sax ensemble with rhythm accompaniment comes across marvelously, with Bud Shank and Buddy Collette sounding especially fine. The repertoire used here is as wildly and refreshingly diverse as anything Rugolo ever dreamt up, ranging from a frantic slaphappy rendition of Rudy Wiedoeft's "Saxophobia" (featuring Russ Cheever on C Melody saxophone) and a silly sendup of Guy Lombardo, Freddy Martin and Billy May to dignified realizations of "Sophisticated Lady," "How High the Moon/Ornithology" and "Sometimes I'm Happy." Rugolo's ensemble works wonders with Jimmy Dorsey's "Contrasts," Jimmy Giuffre's "Four Brothers," Charlie Barnet's "Skyliner," "Holiday for Strings" and "Come Back to Sorrento" (featuring tenor soloists Bob Cooper and Plas Johnson). Performed without the saxes, "Two Funky Basses" is the coolest -- and warmest -- track of all. This excellent music was reissued in 2007 by Fresh Sound on Rugolo's Exploring New Sounds.