Tony Fruscella

The Complete Works

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For Tony Fruscella fans, it would be difficult to improve upon this four-CD set, for it includes every single recording that the short-lived trumpeter made in his career! Fruscella, who lived to be 42 in 1969, largely finished his career in 1955 (at 28) due to his drug problems. Before he totally lost it, he was a fine cool-toned trumpeter a little reminiscent of Chet Baker (who he actually preceded) although able to play with fire at times. This perfectly-done box from the European Jazz Factory label has two CDs apiece of Fruscella playing in the studios and in clubs. The former consists of five sessions, including a date with the even more ill-fated altoist Chick Maures (his only recording), and appearances by such players as bassist Red Mitchell, altoist Herb Geller, and tenors Phil Urso, Allen Eager, and (on two songs) Stan Getz. The live sessions feature Fruscella in a pair of quartets (pianist Hank Jones is on one date), featuring contributions from tenors Brew Moore, and (on three numbers) Stan Getz and altoist Phil Woods. The final number, "Lover Man," is a trumpet-guitar duet with Bill Keck that nicely wraps up the set. Though much of this music is available elsewhere (from Atlantic and Spotlite), this is the best way to acquire it.

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