Bob Brookmeyer

The Modernity of Bob Brookmeyer: The 1954 Quartets

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Fresh Sounds goes deep into the vaults to reissue a pair of early Bob Brookmeyer-led sessions on a single disc. Recorded in 1954 for Pacific Jazz and Verve at the height of West Coast jazz fever, Brookmeyer's early arranging and composing genius can be heard as already very sophisticated and expressive; his reputation as a soloist on the trombone had been well established by this time. The Bob Brookmeyer Quartet session recorded for Pacific Jazz over two days in July (and inexplicably sequenced on the latter half of this set) listed drummer Frank Isola, pianist John Williams, and alternate bassists Red Mitchell and Bill Anthony. The second session for Verve -- sequenced first -- was recorded in December, and features pianist Jimmy Rowles, drummer Mel Lewis, and bassist Buddy Clark. On the first six tracks (again, which make up the latter session originally titled The Modernity of Bob Brookmeyer), the leader contributes two tunes to a very modern mix that also includes very contemporary (for the time) readings of four standards, including Irving Berlin's "He Ain't Got Rhythm," Rodgers & Hart's "You Took Advantage of Me," and the Harry Warren-Yip Harburg nugget "There Will Never Be Another You." Brookmeyer wasn't afraid of a little dissonance and his own solos bear this out, as Rowles remains sweet and busy as ever. The initial Bob Brookmeyer Quartet session yields three fine pieces, including the first recording of his classic tune "Liberty Belle." In addition, there are some standards and a pair of Mitchell tunes, as well as a compelling reading of "Body and Soul." As is typical of a lot of Fresh Sounds releases, while there are decent liner notes, the mastering job is far from audiophile, so collectors and other jazz fans should be aware.

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