Sunday, 25 April 2010

Gene Estes - Westful: Jazz In Hollywood


Westful: Jazz In Hollywod


256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Nocturne NRS-701

Preview clip:
Big "P"
Besame Mucho

Although the name may not jump out at you right away, first-call LA percussionist Gene Estes has played a part in many classic recordings, including some of my best-loved soul faves like Willie Hutch's The Mack, Eddie Kendrick's The Hit Man (c/o Flabbergasted Vibes RIP) and Johnny Bristol's Feeling The Magic. He worked with practically every big name who recorded in LA for a major label during the 60s and 70s and appeared on dozens of albums spanning genres from jazz and soul to rock and country and almost everywhere in between. Counted among the "Important Records" to which he contributed are The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Frank Zappa & The Mothers' Freak Out! and David Axelrod's Songs of Innocence as well as critically-acclaimed records by Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Nilsson and a host of others.

Brian Wilson w/ Gene Estes on the vibes in May 1967 from
Pop Surf Culture: Music Design Film and Fashion from the Bohemian Surf Era

OK, so he's also assisted corporate concoctions like Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Eric Carmen, REO Speedwagon and many other mediocre MOR megastars but then that's LA session life for ya, ain't it? It's no wonder then that this obscure solo project, the culmination of a couple years spent jamming every Sunday night with other SoCal session stalwarts, is brimming with the energy of a joyful release from frustration and monotony. In the liner notes Estes describes their weekly rehearsals as not "trying to prove anything with writing or's just a matter of having a ball" and that pretty much says it all about the atmosphere here.

Besides a noticeable lack of bombast or breakneck tempos normally found on drummer-led big band dates, there's really not much in the way of surprises here - just the sound of some excellent musicians gelling together to get that swing and nailing their solos without melodrama or overwrought pyrotechnics. In fact, the entire affair actually sounds
like a throwback that could have been recorded 15-20 years prior and as such, it's one of those rare jazz albums recorded in the 70s upon which Mr. Yanow and I can agree:

AMG Review
by Scott Yanow
Other than a very obscure early-'60s LP for the Carlton label, this album from 1976 was drummer Gene Estes' debut as a leader. For the only recording by Estes' rehearsal big band, the drummer contributed five of the nine selections and all of the arrangements. Among the all-star jazz and studio players heard from are saxophonists Med Flory and Tom Scott, trumpeter Conte Candoli, trombonists Herbie Harper and Bob Enevoldsen, pianist Joyce Collins and Gene's younger brother Alan Estes on vibes. The excellent music is essentially straight-ahead and has its exciting moments, although this LP may be difficult to locate.

Gene would maintain his roughly 16-year cycle and record another album as leader in 1993, when he returned with another equally anachronistic slice of jazz called On The Edge. There would be one further posthumous release, In A Sentimental Mood, which contained material recorded shortly before his passing in 1996.

Discography as Leader

1960 The Greatest Stereo Vibraphone in Recording History
[Carlton ST LP 12/25]

1976 Westful: Jazz In Hollywood
NRS-701] at Soundological

1993 On The Edge

[Progressive 7095] at Amazon

2000 In A Sentimental Mood
[Arbor ARB0101]
at iTunes

Gene Estes - Drums
Med Flory - Sax
Tom Scott - Sax
Bob Hardaway - Sax
Jay Migliori - Sax
Bill Hood - Sax
Meyer Hirsch - Sax (7 & 8)
Ollie Mitchell - Trumpet
Ralph Osborn - Trumpet
Conte Candoli - Trumpet
Herbie Harper - Trombone
Bob Enevoldsen - Valve Trombone
Dick Leith - Bass Trombone
Joyce Collins - Piano
Alan Estes - Vibes
Jim Hughart - Bass

1 Sharly My Boy
2 All About Henry
3 Poca Nada
4 Big 'P'
5 Pot Luck
6 D.A.V.
7 Sweet Lump
8 Besame Mucho
9 Good-Bye

Ride off into the sunset with Gene Estes and Soundological in the comments.


Anonymous said...





Simon666 said...

Hey cheeba, sounds nice and looking forward to a good listen, thanks :)
Sad to learn through your post that Flabbergasted has disappeared ... seems to be a pretty comprehensive disappearance, he was also a facebook friend and that's gone too ...

cheeba said...

I hope you like it Simon. It's really much more about that swing than you normally hear in 70s big band sets. Some great solos in there too.

I had no idea about FBook but Vibes' departure was very abrupt. Right before publishing I dug up links for the referenced albums as usual. Then after some final proofing I went into preview mode one last time to make sure all the links were correct - and in literally the span of a few min he had disappeared.

So I grabbed the link from Google cache and updated with the note. However, one of the hits was a rapidsearch result on the blog name and I noticed a lot of files removed by DMCA notices so assumed Google shut him down, Maybe not if his FB acct is gone too.

I'm also sad to see him go since I enjoyed his writing and his music was top notch. Hope all's well with him and wish him the best.

Publius said...

Wow, this one really knocked me out; some very intricate, nuanced charts in the Bill Holman style, and good blowing from start to finish. This one deserves to be in-print and a lot less obscure.

Thanks so much for sharing this music !

cheeba said...

You're welcome very much and glad to hear it hit the spot, Publius!

I agree - it's a solid big band album and stands up against so many that are so-so yet get reissues.

Niall said...

Sounds wonderful.........great post,many thanks!!

Goofy said...

Great album to tap the feet to. Thanks Cheeba!

cheeba said...

I may re-evaluate my RS decision based on recent developments. From the RapidShare website, news section:

RapidShare AG parts from CEO Bobby Chang

April 20, 2010
With immediate effect and by mutual agreement, RapidShare AG has parted from former CEO Bobby Chang. Christian Schmid, the inventor and founder, states: "We will continue RapidShare's success story, faster and more consistently. We believe we can better achieve this goal with different leadership - for the benefit of our customers, partners and users."

Seems ubergeek Schmid is fighting for subscriber privacy and RS was also dismayed at the huge drop in biz after the first announcement.

TorrentFreak article here.

MrBill said...

Sounds like a good one. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

many many thanks

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ said...

Any idea what happened here?
Sic Vos Non Vobis

Another one bite the dust? I tell you it is scary out there. Private may be the answer. Nice to see you got in.

neil said...

Just discovered Gene Estes through a reference on "Joe Roland: The Vibraphone Players of Bethlehem, Vol.2"
Many thanks for spreading the word...

cheeba said...

Hey O, not sure what happened to Mel. He was there a couple days ago and I didn't notice he was gone until you dropped a line.

Thx for the 2nd invite, it worked like a charm. I'll have to wait until the weekend before I can give it a good look, so you'll here from me soon!

Philo said...

Gene Estes Band - Westful_Jazz In Hollywood (1976)

A wonderful surprise!

I hadn't heard of this artist before.

Interesting arrangements, very enjoyable music.

Anonymous said...

Nice - and unfamiliar. Thank you.

Hookfinger said...

Hey cheeb...How you doing? Haven't seen you around for a bit. Still cool?

the jazzman said...

Thanks for the Gene Estes.

Anonymous said...

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Nancy Wilson – My way – Broadway
Herbie Mann – Brazil Once Again
Taylored In Silk
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Astral Traveller said...

Thanks Man...or Woman for the highest Quality Sounds for Years now! This is just great again! Check my Blog, youre in my Blogroll.




Franco said...

Thanks for this and the effort involved Cheeb's !