BASIE SWING! Joe Newman Sextet featuring Frank Wess: The Happy Cats

Trumpeter Joe Newman and tenor sax/flutist Frank Wess were two of the most important elements of Count Basie’s “Atomic” Band of the mid fifties. This album features the two in smaller settings, with arrangements by Basie-ites Al Cohn, Quincy Jones and Ernie Wilkins, making for a swingin’ affair.

Johnny Acea/p, Eddie Jones/b Connie Kay/dr and Frank Rehak/tb round out the 12 song session with Wess on flute for a toe tapping “The Happy Cats” with Newman on Harmon mute, a sweet toned open  horn on “Buttercup,” a bluesy “Later for the Happenings” and a suave “Cocktails for Two.” Wess’ tenor is glorious on “Robbins Nest” whle the blues are loose for the two on “Joes’ Blues.” Wess sticks to tenor for three tunes in Paris 1956 with Jones, Sonny Payne/dr, Maurice Vander/p, Henry Coker/tb and Bill Graham/bs for a languid “A Girl Named Rigmor” and they really stretch out on a 13 minute romp of “Blues on the Champs-Elysees.” Newman has an  inherent steady groove to his delivery, and his tone is not only unmistakable, but unmistakably glowing. These guys had 4 steady beats to the bar in their dna.

Fresh Sound Records


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