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The Last Session (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions)

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Album Review

Trumpeter Charlie Shavers made his last studio recordings at the Studio Monestier in Bordeaux for the Black & Blue label on February 7 and 8, 1970, with Budd Johnson handling tenor and soprano saxophones in front of pianist Andre Persiany, bassist Roland Loblegeois, and drummer Oliver Jackson. Six tracks amounting to about 40 minutes of jazz were released a few years later on vinyl as The Last Album, and the 2002 CD reissue added "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "In a Mellow Tone," as well as an alternate take of "Nature Boy." Shavers was always a fascinating character whose abilities as trumpeter, composer, and vocalist made him a valuable addition to any band, most famously perhaps the John Kirby Sextet. His final recordings are wonderfully intimate and at times dazzling in their depth and intensity. This album should be sought out for the amazing nearly ten-minute jam on "Moten Swing," complete with a quote from "The Lady in Red" during the out chorus; for the remarkable interplay amongst all of the participants throughout, and for two extra fine examples of Shavers as blues singer. During "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," he works himself up into a knot while soliciting well-timed explosions from the drummer to emphasize his sorry state of mind. The slower and even funnier "Daddy's Got the Gleeks" takes the same set of emotions to more pathological extremes, with Shavers wallowing in a familiar but newly named melancholy, until he apparently extricates himself from chronic depression by locating a "brand new gal, five and six feet tall", who is capable of putting "her feet in the kitchen and her goodies in the hall."

Biography

Born: 03 August 1917 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Charlie Shavers was one of the great trumpeters to emerge during the swing era, a virtuoso with an open-minded and extroverted style along with a strong sense of humor. He originally played piano and banjo before switching to trumpet, and he developed very quickly. In 1935, he was with Tiny Bradshaw's band and two years later he joined Lucky Millinder's big band. Soon afterward he became a key member of John Kirby's Sextet where he showed his versatility by mostly playing crisp solos while muted....
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The Last Session (The Definitive Black & Blue Sessions), Charlie Shavers
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