Multiple Reviews: Benny Goodman / Cannonball Adderley Quintet / Gerry Mulligan Sextet


Some times you just wake up and ask yourself, “Do I feel lucky today?”

The German label Jass Haus Records has been around for quite some time, but they just reached into a treasure trove of material that is going to keep you salivating for years. Dozens of live recordings from the top of the line jazz musicians that came to Europe in the 50s-70s have been unearthed, and like free agents in baseball, will be let out slowly to make each one all the more valuable. Here is the first salvo from a series that is going to joyfully break your bank.

Benny Goodman: Big Bands Live: Benny Goodman Orchestra Featuring Anita O’Day

The Benny Goodman team was in good form on this October 1959 gig. A score of years had passed since he was the King of Swing, but he was still able to pick an all star supporting team: Russ Freeman/p, Red Norvo/vib, Jack Sheldon/tp, Flip Phillips/ts, Bill Harris/tb, Jerry Dodgion/fl, Jimmy Wyble/g, Red Wootton/b, John Markham/dr and Anita O’Day to deliver some deliciously delightful vocals. Goodman’s in excellent form as he solos behind the riffing horn section on “Air Mail Special” and “Breakfast Feud” O’Day and Sheldon rip apart “Let Me Off Uptown” while she enchants the crowd on “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Some people criticized Goodman for playing the same style, but would you say the same thing of Haydn? Everyone gets a chance to solo, and they sound amazingly fresh, much better than modern guys trying to sound like ESP imitators.

Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Legends Live: Liederhalle Stuttgart March 20, 1969

Cannonball Adderley rolled into town on 1969-keeping it in perspective, it’s post hard bop, and just at the start of fusion bands like Weather Report or Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. Joe Zawinul was on the keyboards on both of those latter sessions, and his presence here bridges the musical gap with the dexterity of a circus juggler. The experimental side comes out on outside and moody during the adventurous “Rumpelstiltskin” which has the band sounding like someone dropped a can of paint onto a spinning wheel. “The Painted Desert,” meanwhile, captures Zawinul toying with keyboard sounds with a murky atmosphere, while Cannonball sears on a tortured “Somewhere,” and has the ban spinning on tumble dry on a caffeinated take of “Blue and Boogie” that will make your ears tingle. Some soul, some stratosphere hitting, some agony and some ecstasy. Ah! Late 60s jazz!

Gerry Mulligan Sextet:Legends Live: Liederhalle Stuttgart November 22, 1977

It’s recordings like this one from 1977 that make you realize how much you miss baritone maestro Gerry Mulligan. Not only did he have one of the most gorgeous tones on the behemoth of a saxophone, as he displays on “My Funny Valentine” and “Satin Doll,” but he was an accomplished arranger and composer, which so many of us forget. After all, he did put together the Birth of the Cool sessions; it shows here all through this luminous evening of music. The team of Dave Samuels/vib, Thomas Fay/p, Mike Santiago/g, George Duvivier/b and Bobby Rosengarden/dr play like an Olympic synchronized swim team on “For An Unfinished Woman,” with each solo enveloping subtly into the next. Likewise the opus “K-4 Pacific” takes you on a sonic panorama of vistas, with changes of mood, scene and atmosphere, while everyone gets a chance to deliver a mini aria. Timeless music.

Jazz Haus Records


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