The Thinking Man's Trombone

Al Grey

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The Thinking Man's Trombone Review

by Scott Yanow

A great if little-known LP, this set by trombonist Al Grey features him with other Count Basie sidemen (Eddie Higgins fills in on piano) playing three standards and tunes by Frank Foster, Thad Jones, and Grey himself. A boppish trombonist who was a master at using the plunger mute (crossing over into swing), Grey holds his own on this set with trumpeter Joe Newman, tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, and fellow trombonist Benny Powell. Among the high points of this enjoyable set are "Salty Papa," "Don't Cry Baby," "King Bee," and a very pretty version of "Tenderly" that is taken by the horns a cappella. Swinging and witty music.

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