****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Quincy Jones And His Orchestra: Live In Ludwigshafen 1961

Yes, Quincy Jones was actually a swinger before he made a gazillion dollars producing Michael Jackson’s Thriller among other pop and rap albums. Don’t forget he was the musical director for the classic Frank Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie as well as recording Miles Davis’ last album at Montreux. He’s also a big talent scout these days, as you will be able to tell from this concert from 1961 where he’s leading a big band with some of the HOTTEST players around

To set it in perspective, the music here comes around the time that Jones had a bunch of hot albums form the Newport Jazz Festival, and was about to release his classic The Quintessence. The jazz orchestra here boasts of all stars like Benny  Bailey/tp, Freddie Hubbard/tp, Melba Liston/tb, Curtis Fuller/t, Eric Dixon/ts, Phil Woods/as, sahib Shihab/bari, Les Spann/g, Julius Watkins/fr-h and Budd Johnson/ts. Talk about drooling!

Jones and Ernie Wilkins share in the arrangements, and the music is smoking hot! You have a rapid fire “Air Mail Special” as well as a frenetic “Caravan” with a razor sharp display of the sections on “The Birth of a Band.” The rhythm section sizzles on “Lester Leaps In” and a swaggeringly hip “Stolen Moments” have both Eric Dixon and Freddie Hubbard blowing smoke rings. A sizzling “Ghana” includes Les Spann’s flute and Sahib Shihab’s baritone, and Woods glows like an ember on a luscious “The Midnight Sun Will Never Set.”

Benny Bailey, forgotten these days, has his evening in the spotlight with glistening solos on “I Remember Clifford” and “Moanin’.” The recording itself is not razor sharp crystal clear, but with these artists and solos, you’re nit picking. This is a gem to give to friends to show what a big band can sound like. Dare I say it, the album is a “THRILLER”!

Jazz Haus Records


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