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The Pacific Jazz Years

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Alto saxophonist and flutist Bud Shank was one of the titans of the West Coast jazz scene in the 1950s and early '60s. His many recordings revealed him to be as much a Charlie Parker disciple as Art Pepper, but Shank's tone was less pointed and his use of space relied as much on melody as rhythm. This two-disc Giant Steps compilation contains Shank's first three dates as the leader in quintet and quartet settings for Pacific Jazz recorded between January and July of 1956. The first eight tracks on disc one are a live quintet side recorded at Cal Tech with fellow reedman Bob Cooper, pianist Claude Williamson, bassist Don Prell, and drummer Chuck Flores. The interplay between Cooper and Shank is outstanding. Cooper reveals himself to be one of the few jazzmen of his era (only Yusef Lateef comes to mind from the period) who was as accomplished on the oboe as he was on the saxophone. Their reading of George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" on this set is a brilliant example of Cooper's capabilities on the oboe, especially as it interacts with Shank's flute. Of the many versions of this tune, this one is quite distinctive. The following two studio sides that make up the balance of disc one and all of disc two are Shank's best-known quartet minus Cooper. The weight of the balance falls on Williamson as a fellow soloist, and he fills the bill nicely with his always-blue approach to the keys. Less decorative and fiery than some, his harmonic palette is rich, full of tones and nuances, and a studied but swinging elegance. Check his wonderful comping on "Nature Boy" behind Shank's flute solo. The placement of lower middle range notes in counterpoint to Shank's high register solo are of beautiful and striking contrast. But he could let it rip, too, as evidenced on "Night in Tunisia," where the flights of arpeggiated fancy in his solo complement and extend Shank's. His big rhythm approach with the left hand was similar to Bud Powell's but a bit moodier. Another fine example is his solo on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise." Shank is on fire on all of these dates, showcasing his supple, deep-reaching alto chops and his more spacious work on the flute. These are all killer dates and offer a perfect view of the West Coast jazz period at its very best, and lend mightily to the continuing appreciation of Shank as one of the giants of the period and the scene.

The Pacific Jazz Years, Bud Shank Quartet
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  • 19,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Musik, Rock
  • Erschienen: 18.06.2008


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