The Dedication Series, Vol. IV: The Quintessential Charts
256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Impulse! IA 9342-2
This OOP double-LP set is a reissue of the 1956 release This Is How I Feel About Jazz (ABC/Paramount ABC-149/P-149) and The Quintessence (Impulse! AS-11) from 1961. My Favourite Sound posted the latter earlier this year but it appears the former hasn't popped up in the blogosphere for a while, if at all.
LP1 This Is How I Feel About Jazz
AMG Review by Scott Yanow
The music on this CD is from a period when arranger Quincy Jones was a major part of the jazz world, rather than being content just to take bows for it. Six high-quality selections from a 1956 album offer logical, swinging, and often distinct arrangements with plenty of solos from the all-star cast (which includes Lucky Thompson on tenor, altoist Phil Woods, and trumpeter Art Farmer); highlights include "Stockholm Sweetnin'," "Walkin'," and "Sermonette." The remainder of the CD reissues two-thirds of a slightly odd collection led and produced (but not arranged) by Jones.
Originally titled Go West, Man, the LP was designed to show off the talents of West Coast arrangers Jimmy Giuffre, Lennie Niehaus, and Charlie Mariano. Three selections feature an alto summit with Benny Carter, Art Pepper, Herb Geller, and Charlie Mariano, and there are also some numbers with a sax section; three songs with a trumpet section had to be left out due to lack of space. Although these performances are enjoyable, it is the Quincy Jones charts that are most memorable, making one regret his decision in the early '70s to leave jazz altogether.
2 Evening In Paris
3 Boo's Blues
4 A Sleeping Bee
6 Stockholm Sweetenin'
LP2 The Quintessence
AMG Review by Thom Jurek
The Quintessence is perhaps the most accurate title ever given to a Quincy Jones & His Orchestra recording. Issued in 1961 for Impulse!, this is the sound of the modern, progressive big band at its pinnacle. Recorded in three sessions, the core of the band consists of Melba Liston, Phil Woods, Julius Watkins, and bassist Milt Hinton and pianist Patricia Brown on two sessions, with bassist Buddy Catlett and pianist Bobby Scott on another. The trumpet chairs are held alternately by players like Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Thad Jones, and Snooky Young, to name a few. Oliver Nelson is here, as are Frank Wess and Curtis Fuller.
Despite its brevity -- a scant 31 minutes -- The Quintessence is essential to any appreciation of Jones and his artistry. The deep swing and blues in his originals such as the title track, "Robot Portrait," and "For Lena and Lennie" create staggering blends. They are beautifully warm, with edges rounded, but the brass section is still taut and punchy. The reeds cool the heat enough to give the rhythmic dialogue in these tunes its inherent strolling swing.
Elsewhere, on Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," the time is speeded up to nearly dizzying intensity, and it's played like a big band popping bebop with incredible counterpointed double solos happening between trombone, muted trumpet, and Brown's piano. Though only 2:27 in length, the piece packs an entire harmonic universe into its furious pace. Benny Golson's "Little Karen," is, by contrast, held in character: lithe, limpid, and fluid, it's the ultimate laid-back, midtempo ballad. That said, with the brass charts being notched up just enough, it's got the kind of finger-popping groove that makes it irresistible. The solo spot taken by Nelson is pure knotty bop.
What is beautiful about this recording -- and every second of the music -- is that because of its brevity, there isn't a wasted moment. It's all taut, packed with creativity and joy, and without excess or unnecessary decorative arrangement. It doesn't get much better than this.
1 The Quintessence
2 Portrait Robot
3 Little Karin
4 Straight, No Chaser
5 For Lena And Lennie
6 Hard Sock Dance
8 The Twitch
You can get the complete essentials from Soundological in a single dose HERE or in two helpings, 1st HERE and 2nd HERE.