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Album Review

Bassist Red Mitchell joined forces with tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh for a duo engagement at the Fasching Club in Stockholm, with music from two separate nights being recorded and subsequently issued on two separate CDs. This release combines all of the music in one set. The combination of these two instruments without additional accompaniment is not unheard of, and as Don Byas and Slam Stewart revealed during their meeting at Town Hall in 1945, there are viable possibilities for this pairing if the players are on the same wavelength. Mitchell was a virtuoso bassist who also knew his way around the piano very well, so he was skilled at conversing on his instrument with his partners, rather than just playing traditional lines. The saxophonist — along with Lee Konitz — was one of Lennie Tristano's best-known students, so he was adept at creating intricate reworkings of familiar chord changes. That said, most of the material consists of standards and jazz compositions by others, with only one original by either musician (Mitchell's introspective "Undertow," a dazzling reworking of "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise." They find surprising new ground with the popular "Lady Be Good" and come up with an inventive route through "You Stepped Out of a Dream," while some of the lesser-known tunes (Jimmy McHugh's "South American Way" and guitarist Billy Bauer's "Background Music") also are of great interest. Even though this is a live recording, the audience is extremely respectful, focusing exclusively on the intimate performances.

Biography

Born: September 20, 1927 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

A talented bassist who was always in great demand, Red Mitchell was originally a pianist and he doubled on piano on an occasional basis throughout his career. He switched to bass when he was a member of an Army band in Germany. Mitchell played with Jackie Paris (1947-1948), Mundell Lowe, Chubby Jackson's big band, and Charlie Ventura (1949); toured with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1949-1951); and was a member of the popular Red Norvo Trio (1952-1954). He played with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1954)...
Full Bio
Big Two Vol. 1, Red Mitchell
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 20, 1996

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