Nat Pierce

The Ballad of Jazz Street

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Nat Pierce's only date as a leader during the 1958-1976 period, this interesting big-band set was not released until 1980. In addition to the influence of Count Basie and the Woody Herman Orchestra, Pierce hints at Duke Ellington on the three-part "The Ballad of Jazz Street," which takes up all of side two of the album. The personnel of Pierce's orchestra is particularly intriguing, for it includes trumpeters Clark Terry, Burt Collins, and Danny Stiles, trombonists Eddie Bert and Jimmy Cleveland, altoist Dick Meldonian and Paul Quinichette, and Paul Gonsalves and Dick Hafer on tenors. Pierce arranged all of the music except one song, and in addition to the suite (which builds up to an exciting level), he performs his own "Pretty Little Girl," "Melancholy Baby," a Gene Roland piece, and two Horace Silver tunes. Highly recommended, even if it took 19 years for the music to finally come out.

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