Presenting/Live at the Village Vanguard/The Big Band Sound

Presenting/Live at the Village Vanguard/The Big Band Sound

by Thad Jones/Mel Lewis OrchestraThad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra


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The U.K. label BGO compiled three stellar albums by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra dating from 1966 and 1967: their debut, Presenting the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Live at the Village Vanguard, and The Big Band Sounds with Miss Ruth Brown. The band began with a group of session players informally gathering at a local N.Y. bar to jam. They eventually coalesced into a crack unit that was able to seamlessly meld big-band swing, bebop, and hard bop in a harmonically rich, rhythmically complex, hard-swinging music, driven by Lewis' unique drum kit style and Thad Jones' unique compositional and arranging skills. They played their first gig on a Monday night at the Village Vanguard -- at that time they were closed on Mondays. It became a regular engagement for the group shortly thereafter. Presenting was recorded in 1966 and featured a fine program of Jones originals; his writing and arranging skills were wildly advanced, and intellectually stimulating for players while simultaneously being dramatic and extremely dynamic, which made for enjoyable listening. The evidence for this is heard on Live at the Village Vanguard, recorded in 1967 after the group had been together for just under a year. Check the opening "Little Pixie" near the end of disc one that begins as a typical big-band groover and becomes a hard bop stomper, with ringing layers of horns and galloping drums. For evidence of the intellectual, check disc two's winding, labyrinthine brass against Jones' trumpet in "Samba con Gertchu." As bright and seductive as the horns are, the rhythm section combines bossa, samba, Afro-Cuban son, and bop in a seamless meld. Disc two closes with Brown fronting the band. While this might seem like a put-off after the exhilaration of the first two albums, it's anything but. Once more, the genius of Jones' charts not only supports the vocalist in a unique manner, but creates an irresistible backdrop of fingerpopping grooves around her phrasing. The best examples are in the uptempo "Yes Sir, That's My Baby," "Black Coffee," which begins as a tone poem and slips almost imperceptibly into a blues, the big-band soul of "You Won't Let Me Go," and the sultry, strutting closer "Fine Brown Frame." The remastered sound is warm, balanced, and dynamically rich, offering a fine reminder of how great this outfit was.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/09/2012
Label: Bgo - Beat Goes On
UPC: 5017261210685
catalogNumber: 6121068

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra   Primary Artist
Pepper Adams   Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Bill Berry   Trumpet
Bob Brookmeyer   Trombone
Richard Davis   Bass
Hank Jones   Piano
Thad Jones   Flugelhorn,Leader
Mel Lewis   Drums,Leader
Jerome Richardson   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Marvin Stamm   Trumpet
Danny Stiles   Trumpet
Garnett Brown   Trombone
Eddie Daniels   Clarinet,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Joe Farrell   Flute,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Roland Hanna   Piano
Cliff Heather   Trombone
Sam Herman   Guitar,Shaker
Tom McIntosh   Trombone
Jimmy Nottingham   Trumpet
Snooky Young   Trumpet
Jack Rains   Trombone
Jerry Dodgion   Flute,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone
Richard Williams   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Bob Brookmeyer   Arranger
Jolson   Composer
Thad Jones   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Mel Lewis   Liner Notes
Andy Razaf   Composer
Manny Albam   Musical Director
Garnett Brown   Arranger
Ira Gitler   Liner Notes
Sonny Lester   Producer
Tom McIntosh   Arranger
Ann Ronell   Composer
Waller   Composer
Charles Waring   Liner Notes
Ronell   Composer
Weldon   Composer
Cartiero   Composer

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