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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Oliver Nelson's Big Band, Live from Los Angeles

(monaural), EMI / Impulse MIPL 510 (UK), 1967 (UK release of Impulse A 9153 1967 (USA))

Working at Wallich's Music City, Hollywood, in 1967, I vividly remember often hearing Frank Strozier, one of the featured soloists herein, when he played with Shelly Manne & His Men at Shelly's Manne-Hole on North Cahuenga Blvd, as didMonty Budwig, the bassist here.  So I made the trek up to Marty's-On-The-Hill for this awesome big band's engagement in June, 1967. The band was made up of the crème de la crème of L.A.'s top session players, and as Oliver Nelson himself says in the album notes, "I never before had a trumpet section where each player could do everything - from playing lead to improvising jazz.  For that matter, we had that kind of flexibility throughout the band."  The personnel includes Oliver Nelson, arranger conductor, soprano saxophone; Buddy Childers, Bobby Bryant, Freddy Hill, Conte Candoli, trumpets; Billy Byers, Pete Myers, Lou Blackburn, Ernie Tack, trombones; Gabe Baltazar, Tom Scott (not even 20 when this was recorded), Bill Perkins, Jack Nimitz, Frank Strozier, reeds; Frank Strazzeri, piano; Monte Budwig,bass; Mel Brown, guitar, and Ed Thigpen, drums.  The selections include: 'Miss Fine' (Oliver Nelson), 'Milestones' (Miles Davis), 'I Remember Bird' (Leonard Feather), 'Night Train' (O. Washington - J. Simpkins - Jimmy Forrest), 'Guitar Blues' (Oliver Nelson), 'Down By The Riverside' (trad., arr. Oliver Nelson), and 'Ja Da' (B. Carleton).  Strozier solos effectively on alto on 'Milestones', also featuring Tom Scott on tenor sax,  and Strozier makes 'I Remember Bird' his own.  Guitarist Mel Brown is featured on both 'Night Train' and 'Guitar Blues', sounding 'down-home' and funky.  on 'Down By The Riverside', all the trumpets engage in chase choruses, and very exciting it is, too.  A fine 'live' big band tour de force.

1 comment:

  1. I was there for this session! Lemme tell ya, there were a whole lota niggers on the stage that night!!!! Heh heh heh heh heh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!