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Complete Recordings

Jimmy Cleveland

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Album Review

One of the most exciting jazz trombonists of the 1950s, Jimmy Cleveland had a technique equal to that of Bill Watrous (who would not emerge until a decade later), an enthusiastic style that could hold its own with Frank Rosolino, and was the first important new voice on the trombone to emerge after J.J. Johnson. He led four albums during 1955-1959 before disappearing into the world of studio work. With the exception of six isolated selections from the era (including four for Epic), the four records are all of his sessions as a leader and they are reissued in full on this two-CD set. The music on Complete Recordings is drawn from the EmArcy/Mercury catalog. Cleveland is featured with three overlapping octets arranged by Quincy Jones, on two brass-oriented sets that have a prominent role for Don Butterfield's tuba, and an album with trumpeter Art Farmer and tenor saxophonist Benny Golson from 1959 that finds him at the peak of his powers. Other sidemen include trumpeter Ernie Royal, Jerome Richardson on various reeds, tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson and drummer Max Roach, with arrangements by the likes of Ernie Wilkins, Benny Golson and Gigi Gryce. The music is in the hard bop vein but rarely predictable, with Cleveland getting several showcases that display his impressive virtuosity, along with pieces in which he interacts with his all-star sidemen. This is a highly recommended set that nearly comprises all of the musical legacy of the great Jimmy Cleveland.

Biography

Born: 03 May 1926 in Wartrace, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the finest trombonists to emerge during the 1950s, Jimmy Cleveland has been overlooked since moving to Los Angeles in the late '60s. He started on trombone when he was 16, and his first important job was with Lionel Hampton (1950-1953). After Hampton's European tour of 1953, Cleveland became a busy freelance musician in New York, making many recording sessions (including with Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans, Oliver Nelson, Oscar Pettiford, Lucky Thompson, James Moody, and Gerry Mulligan). He toured...
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Complete Recordings, Jimmy Cleveland
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