SWINGERS! The Herdsmen & The Kentonians: Paris Sessions 1954-1956

What did big band sidemen between tours? Why, they went to Paris, of course, as these two cds filled with all stars and Left Bank locals demonstrate.

The first disc has members of Woody Herman’s Third Herd of Dick Collins/tp, Cy Touff/btp, Bill Perkins/ts, Dick Hafer/ts, Jerry Coker/ts, Ralph Burns/p, Jimmy Gourley/g and Chuck Flores/dr team up with the beret-wearing Jean-Louis Viale/dr, Jean-Marie Ingrand/b  and  Henri Renaud/p. Touff is wonderfuly on “The Gypsy” and the team swings with Hafer and Perkins on “Pot Luck” and “Thanks For You.” A nine minute “Ballad Medley” features a breathy Perkins as well as gracious Touff, while the rhythm team is lithe and supple.

The Kentonians of Carl Fontana/tb, Curtis Counce/b, Mel Lewis/dr, Vinnie Tano/tp, Don Rendell/ts, Dick Mills/tp and Wels Ilcken/dr join with Gaul  pianists Martial Solal and Henri Renaud for a pair of bright swing. With Renaud, Fontana leads three bluesy boppers that stretch out from 7-12 minutes, with Renaud in rich form on “Daniel’s Blues” and the team sizzling on “Scrapple From the Apple.” Some fun polyphony takes place with the Solal-lead team on “The Way You Look Tonight” with the Frenchman in rich form on “I Remember You.” The team gives a Basie feel to “Jive At Five” with a snapping Counce and Lewis and the horns shine brightly on “Why Not” and “Steeplechase.”


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